Monday, June 26, 2017

You're Coping Well . . . Now What?

I think playing on swings is the way to be.
Mental illness, whatever your diagnosis may be, comes with its ups and downs. No one is at their lowest all the time. No one is coping well all the time, though some of us excel at coping most of the time. The yo-yo of symptom severity can make it tough to enjoy the down time when it comes. When you are coping well, and life isn't controlled by symptoms, you can sometimes forget what to do with yourself. You may also feel like the shadow of your illness is waiting to jump out at you any time. Therapists give us all these tools for dealing with being sick, but what do we do when we're not feeling sick?

It is important to be somewhat diligent about how you treat yourself mentally and physically no matter where you're at with your symptoms. Feeling great? You can either hasten a decline in your mental health or you can bolster your well-being. At the risk of sounding like your mother or your doctor, here are a few things you shouldn't do: Drink alcohol to any sort of access, do drugs, engage in self-destructive behavior, etc. Here are a few shoulds to balance it out: Eat relatively well (I say relatively because you have to splurge); exercise as much as you can, practice your coping mechanisms, etc.

Now that we've got the "nurture yourself to stay better longer" part out of the way, I want to get to the short and simple answer to our question. What should you do when you're coping well, even if you're afraid of your symptoms coming back at any moment? LIVE. Check off some shit on the bucket list. Build strong and healthy relationships by bonding with loved ones. Go to a movie theater. Visit friends. Travel. Hey, coping well might mean you still have limitations. For instance, I still have anxiety all the time, so I still don't travel far when I'm coping "well," but let's push the boundaries while we're up for it. Let's dare to have fun. Give yourself memories to help you get through the hard times. Love every second of it.

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