How Are You Feeling?

I’m having a day. Feeling like you are not in control of your own emotions is incredibly daunting. I have Attention Deficit Disorder and Generalized Anxiety.  Neither are debilitating, thank goodness, but impact me.  How? 

Anxiety meds take the edge off of my anxiety.  It is like I am able to take a minute to process my feelings before reacting, instead of just reacting.  It’s like the intensity of my feelings are taken down a notch.  I feel in control of my emotions instead of my emotions controlling me. 

Attention deficit disorder means I lose things regularly.  Like my anxiety meds.  Which have been missing for a week and a half. 

Therefore, those emotions I was referencing, feeling pretty intense.  

So, I’m having a day. 

The difference between this day, and other days in the past, is that I’m owning it.  It took me a long time to own it, but I am. 

If I were sick with the flu, I would let my kids and husband know that I’m not feeling well.  I need to rest, and take care is myself, and I’ll feel better soon.  Why don’t we do that with our mental health?

So, I told my husband exactly what was going on, that I didn’t feel in control of my emotions, didn’t feel right and needed support. 

I let my kids know that mommy’s brain doesn’t feel good. It will be fine, it’s just feeling a little run down, and I need to take some time to take care of it.  

Need some help figuring out how to own your mental health struggles? Here are five things I have learned to do to normalize my struggles, and get the support that I need. 

Normalize it in Your Every Day Life

Treat your mental illness like you treat all illnesses.  If you are somebody who tells the whole world when you have the flu, then do the same when you have depression.  I shared openly with a colleague that I was not currently on my anxiety meds and that my brain was racing a little more than normal.  Just like I probably would have shared with him if I had a stomach ache. 

That goes the other way too.  If you aren’t somebody that shares openly about things, treat your mental illness the same way. 

Make Self Care a Part of Your Daily Life

They say it takes 30 days to build a habit, right? If you can build small self care activities into your daily life, you won’t feel as desperate when things are bad. You will have the habits set in stone, meaning it won’t be as hard to practice self care when things are hard. 

That Part About Talking About It

Do that with your doctors too.  I get it, it can be tricky to find a doctor you can trust.  It took me some time too, but I finally did.  It didn’t start there though. 

I needed to get real with myself first. If I continued to pretend that I was fine, my doctor would believe be.  If I was honest about where I was struggling, my doctor would know how to support me. 

When I was struggling with post partum anxiety, I knew what was happening, but I was nervous about trying meds.  My amazing midwife looked me in the eye and simply said, “Jennie, it’s time.”  She was right. 

Don’t Shy Away From Hard Conversations

 If you notice others are struggling with their mental health, lean in.  If they want to talk about it, talk about it. It doesn’t have to be awkward. If somebody was telling you how hard things can be with a broken leg, you would probably listen.  Do the same with their mental health. 

Be Honest About Your Hard Days

Especially in times of COVID, we are talking about our physical symptoms.  I have a sore throat, a cough and a runny nose.  How about bringing I’m having a hard day, I’m super anxious or I’m grieving into the conversation.  Yes, some people may struggle with hearing this at first.  But, the more we talk about it, the more natural it becomes. 

So, yes, I’m having a day. My mind is racing, my emotions are a bit of a roller coaster, and I’m pretty irritable. But, I’m writing, which is part of my self care. 

How are you feeling today?