How I've dealt with mental health
7 min read
Mental health issues suck. We all know that. What we don't know is how to deal with it and keep our lives going. The world will keep spinning and won't stop for us.
TLDR; I've learned how to absorb the concept of "I am struggling, but I am trying my best" following the steps on the Positive Datalog section of this post.
I've been depressed for a few years. Even before I knew what depression was. When I started understanding what depression meant I thought it was too late and I already was at rock bottom. But I was wrong.
I started therapy in 2017 with a more psychoanalytical approach. It was really interesting as I learned a lot about myself and past traumas and what they meant to me, but I felt something was missing... How would I actually deal with all of it? How would I overcome imposter syndrome?
Then, something happened... at the beginning of 2020 I started developing psychosis symptoms (What is psychosis?). I still haven't got a full diagnosis (the hypostasis are bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or schizoaffective disorder) as it's too early but I've been put into antipsychotics drugs and had to change the way I live my life. More exercise, better habits, etc. But how could I? I was still feeling depressed. Then CBT therapy came into place...
It was one of the best things that have ever happened to me. At first, I honestly thought it was bullshit. But with time I noticed how my life started to slowly improve. Now, by December 2020 I'm working on my final sessions with my therapist. It works.
The CBT therapy
I learned a lot about how to deal with and challenge psychosis symptoms. It was a hard process, I won't lie. At the end of it, we figure out what habits and thoughts were bringing me down or really up (which can be very dangerous in bipolar) and how to manage them. It was a painful and interesting process.
I highly recommend therapy. It's a very interesting process of self-learning and how to become a better version of yourself. Therapy is not a weakness. It shows how strong you are.
Positive data log
The positive data log concept is simple: instead of thinking about the negative part of your day, you think about the positive.
The concept can be simple, but applying it is hard and it can be frustrating sometimes, but you won't know if it's going to help you if you don't try.
How to do a positive data log
- Think about how do you see a successful person. What do they on a daily basis? What makes them successful in your eyes? Write it down. (I'll share mine at the end of this section)
- Get a pen/pencil and a notebook
- Write down something like I am struggling, but I am trying my best or I struggle sometimes, but I am trying my best as the title of your journal.
- Put it somewhere that will "force" you to have a look at it every day and remind you to do it. In my case, I put it near the coffee machine as I have coffee every morning. So while I was waiting for the coffee to get ready, I'd write something down.
- Every day at the same time, write down things that you did from your list on step 1.
- Review it constantly (maybe weekly?) and see how much you can do!
My positive data log list
"I am struggling, but I am trying my best "
- I got out of the bed
- I said good morning to my family
NOT GIVING UP
- Even if I fail, I will try again
- Ask for help
I KEEP TRYING
- Look for the knowledge I need to try again
- Spend time doing studying
KNOW WHEN TO TAKE TIME FOR MYSELF
- PC break
- Leisure time (video games, reading, skateboarding)
- Eat something
- Self-care (have a shower, brush my teeth)
- Get dressed
- Tidy something
- Play with the cats
USE MY TIME EFFICIENTLY
- Use checklists
- Plan my day
- Get things done (small or big)
KNOW MY LIMITS
- Having breaks
- Leisure time
- Getting enough hours sleep
- Knowing when to give up
Well, instead of me focusing on things like "I didn't write any code today" or "I didn't do the dishes" I was focusing on "I got out of the bad today! Victory!" or "I had breakfast today! Victory!".
It takes time and effort, but it brings a very good outcome and you start to see the world differently and more positively.
- Therapy is not a weakness. It requires you to be brave. It requires you to want to become a better you.
- Therapy won't give you the answers. It will give you the tools to find the answers yourself
- Keeping a journal is important
This process worked for me. It might not work for you. This is not a solution to all your problems. I highly recommend you to start working on yourself through therapy and figure out what works better for you along with your therapist.