Today I’ve been reflecting on how surviving a mental health crisis-event is “simply” about making more good decisions than bad ones.
Yesterday, I was struggling. I don’t mean the usual lack of energy, feelings of intense worthlessness, and so forth; yesterday was about feeling completely overwhelmed, puncturing the skin in grief, watching the pain well up, and trying desperately to gather frayed threads of will to live. Yesterday wasn’t about detached contemplating the misery of life; it was snot, mess, shame, and trying to contain tsunamis of emotion.
Things were not good.
How did I make it through the day without committing an irredeemable act? Looking back, I see that I made more positive choices than negative ones. OK, there was a considerable amount of self-harm, and I spoke a little too openly to a relative on the phone – something which might come back to bite me later; those are things I regret. On the other hand, I:
- reached out to the online support group and received excellent support
- called a friend, who was prepared to come sit with me for a few hours
- called my therapist, who brought both insight and oversight to the situation
- opened up a conversation with my partner which lead to positive, workable short- and medium-term plans, and was conducted in a constructive, mutually supportive tone
- wrote a gratitude list in the evening.
Yes, I do feel a little proud of my ninja-like survival mind skills as exhibited yesterday 🙂 though I’m not sure how proud one should feel about doing things which are necessary to survive. I guess I’m very grateful for all the therapy and skills training which kicked into action yesterday.
Anyway, the bottom line is, I – somehow! – managed to choose more helpful behaviours than unhelpful ones. Believe me, I’m no superwoman, so I hope anyone else struggling will read this and feel empowered.
If frail, broken me can manage to stack the scales in my favour, then you can, too. Just choose the most constructive action, one at a time. I know this is easier said than done – I get that. But you don’t have to feel like doing them. Just make the choice.