my first therapist was not great.
that being said, she did teach me a lot about anxiety and mental illness in general. one of the most effective ways to manage mental illness (of any kind, really) is to identify and avoid your “triggers”. i’ve tried to come up with a better word, but there isn’t one.
i’m not talking about a trigger in terms of white girls or die-hard feminists. i’m talking about the triggers that exacerbate your symptoms.
they vary so greatly by person that there is not much advice i can give you. but i can, however, tell you my experience, in hopes that you are able to make connections to your own life.
- fatigue: if i get any less than 6 hours of sleep i will become a neurotic mess. whether i become more anxious or more depressed, lack of sleep always and without fail with bring out my symptoms.
- irresponsible meds: if i, even for one dose, miss my medications, you can guarantee that i will be in a poor mood. i won’t think clearly, my mood will be unstable, and a mental breakdown is imminent.
- junk food: if i eat processed food for more than a meal per day, i will feel like crap mental and physically.
- conflict: it doesn’t bother me if i’m arguing with someone; that’s just life. what gets to me is phrases or sentences phrased in a certain way. example: if even a close friend of mine texts me “cameron.” you can bet your bottom dollar that i will have a panic attack. i can’t really tell you what it is about someone’s vernacular that can set me off; it happens at the most random times.
by understanding what it is that triggers your mental illness, you better able to protect yourself from it.
after an “episode”, it helps to deconstruct the day (sometimes week). what happened today that was not normal? what stressors are you handling? how is your health?
by understanding your mental illness on a personal level, you are able to compact it into a more manageable foe.