Being in the situation that I have found myself in it is so easy for me to wallow in the misery and malaise of doing nothing. The most basic of tasks becomes a chore. The simple act of getting out of bed, making a cup of tea and planning a day of being a productive member of the human race is an exhausting battle of attrition with what has and needs to done with your mind.
This illness will lie to you constantly and loudly. It will tell you that you are a pointless, useless and lazy individual. Unworthy of anything, of people, of status, of goals or of the world. It’s such a seductive voice too, that pours poison down your minds ear. Because that voice is usually your own. If the voice was somebody else you could easily put fingers in your ears and block them out. But because it’s in your own head, it’s not so easy to ignore.
It is so very easy to just stay on the sofa and get sucked in to the brain rotting tedium that is daytime television and simply do nothing. You start with the best intention of doing something constructive like say wash the breakfast pots and you end up doing nothing. You hide from people and the world finding it easier to be miserable and self-pitying. The world and time steadily slips on by. You procrastinate, you procrastinate a lot.
How I dealt with this is to set myself goals. Achievable goals, now there’s not much point aiming yourself to run a marathon or climb up a mountain when can hardly make it down the stairs to the kitchen. You are setting up to fail before you’ve begun.
First I set myself the goal of getting out of bed at a reasonable time. Easy? No. With the usual routine in our home is that my wife Sarah would get up, wake up the children if they’re not already awake. Get them breakfast, get them dressed and get them to school. And where am I whilst all this is happening? In bed, trying to raise myself from there.
I’d set the alarm to wake up and I would inevitably ignore it at first. The snooze button is a terrible thing. My solution to this was to put the alarm on the dressing table so I had to actually physically get out of the bed and switch it off. Eventually I would get out of the bed and go downstairs, at least half an hour after everyone else. Sit down and stare in to space. Thing is, this is a goal. A very small one but a goal nevertheless.
In time I would work other things in to the routine, such as making a cup of tea, then getting washed, then getting dressed before Sarah leaves with the children. All in a time frame that was helpful, to doing all of these things with the minimum of fuse or stress. I still have not got it perfect but I can do all these things and then sometimes take the children to school.
If you can get the seemingly small things done then you can work and build your way to bigger things. There was a time I barely left the house and much less speak to people. Then I got an interest, a hobby if you will. For me it was photography. For you it could be something else- art, drawing, painting, carpentry, sculpture with potatoes or going to a café. The list is endless. I found doing something creative very cathartic. So in many ways I was doing self initiated therapy.
Sarah and I would find out about events happening in my town and surrounding areas. Then I’d pack myself off with my camera to these places and photograph them. And because I didn’t normally speak to people, with my camera in hand I found I could and had to communicate with people. Nerve racking at first but eventually you build up the confidence you had lost due to the illness back up again. It’s liberating.
Thing I’m trying to say is “Do something”.
Do something that gets you up, do something that gets you out and do something that makes you happy and therefore something that gets you better.
Well I think I’ve said enough for now, I wish you all good mental health until my next blog. Follow me on @lash1978 on Twitter.