This is a rather long prompt but I thought I would give it a go…
Mental Illness can affect a person’s ability to function from day to day. Their inability to relate to and communicate with loved ones, friends and others. Mental health can also affect a person’s physical health as well. This can be temporary lasting for a few hours or days. However it could be chronic lasting years or a lifetime.
Recovery is different for everyone. There are different methods of treatment. There is therapy, medication, and self-help. Sometimes it’s the little things that we do for ourselves that can make us feel better. Taking care of ourselves both mentality & physically can help in recovery and maintaining good mental health.
What does self-care mean to you? Is it something you can do daily, once a week or monthly? How important is having a self-care routine to you? What are some things you can start doing that will benefit your mental health?
For those of you that don’t know me, I have Bipolar, depression effective. Which means I have shifting moods and though I can get real highs I normally have terrible lows that sometimes require a great deal of work to get through.
Right now, as I look at it I feel as if I am on a see saw (teeter totter) and right now I am in the middle, my middle ground, but I can slide down quickly or I can go high. People are under the illusion that highs are great and fun to have. They aren’t. I end up doing things I would never normally do and often I am ashamed of what I do in that state.
The lows are terrifying.
When I get very bad I have, in the past, gone into a mental health facility. I am also very grateful having my Darling S. because he knows what to watch for in me. When low I isolate myself, do not communicate and cry a lot. I don’t laugh and I am distant, all the time. There is nothing but darkness.
I have a support team in my Darling S. my wonderful daughter, J and my two wonderful gay friends. All of them know what to look for. However, having said that I am ultimately the one in the drivers seat. I am the one feeling these emotions I am the one in the drivers seat.
I am not a person that will sit back and say, okay I have the disease and I can’t get rid of it BOOHOO. I searched around for every bit of therapy I could do. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Mindfulness, and DBT, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and I did that last one twice as it was recommended. They were helpful but the biggest thing I learned was that I had to do this, there is no magic pill. Sure people can walk along side you and even hold your hand, but ultimately I had to do it. They might even cheer you on.
There is one exception to this and that is my Darling S. He knows me better than I know myself. He can feel if I start to drift and he talks me through it. He will do things like, run me a warm bath, or take me out walking. Being out in a forest or even a country lane, walking is my great leveller.
I have to take medication and I probably will have to for the rest of my life. Without it I can’t cope because my own mind lies to me. The depression I have has no cause, no outward events to trigger it so there is very little I can alter to make it better.
In DBT I was given two A4 sheets of paper, printed on both sides with things I can do to make myself feel better. Walking is one, having a bath is another, cooking and yes, having sex is one of them. There is one problem though, when you are depressed you really don’t feel like doing them. That is where my discipline kicks in. When necessary, I force myself to do them. Poor Darling S. will end up with masses of cookies around him and they are not on his diet ‘giggle’. I don’t know why I bake so many cookies. They give me a certain satisfaction. I have a couple but being diabetic means I can’t have more. The kids enjoy them when I box them up for them to take home.
Sex can be interesting with this disorder. If darling S. can get me into sub-space it lifts my spirits enormously. The endorphins it releases offers me a place of peace for a while. I don’t treat sex as a medication for depression but the submissive state lends me a peaceful haven away from the rioting thoughts in my head. There is a lesser known quality that isn’t talked about much. When depressed I do not respond much to touch in the beginning but when S. persists it soothes me.
I do not treat sex as a medication for Bipolar. That is something you need to know. It is just something that happens as a joyous happenstance. For all you Dominants out there understand that submission seems to work much better in a depressed mind but also brings reluctance to engage so be very gentle with your lover. It is a very short step between encouragement and pushing. Pushing can lead to deeper depression.
Bipolar is not something you can brush under the rug. If you think you have it please see your G.P. so they can refer you to the right therapist. Be prepared to look deep inside yourself and don’t be afraid because we are in some good company. Richard Dreyfuss, Cary Fisher, Steven Fry, Ned Beatty, Demi Lovato, Mark Twain, Alfred Hitchcock to name a few.
No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.
I hope this gives you an idea of what mental health means to me.
Suicidal ideation is common with people with Bipolar. Please seek help if this happens to you. There are things you can do and you need to know, the right help can deliver you from that one moment in time.