Everyone, now and then, has a bad day. The difference between a bad day and a mental one can mean the difference between eating junk food for dinner or having a psychotic break. I’m a mental, a name I call myself and everyone dealing with mental illness.
A bad day is a good thing, it’s normal and everyone has them, if they don’t, they should. The more experience you have as a mental, the easier it becomes to see the difference between a normal ‘bad’ day and an ‘I’m taking the train to crazy town’ kinda day.
Here are a few ways to figure out what side of sanity you’re sitting on.
You know you’re having a mental day when:
1. You wake-up and wonder why the first activity of the day is so difficult. If the ensuite wasn’t so far away you wouldn’t have to think about it. After lying there wondering how you can avoid using the toilet, it you get up.
2. You manage to have a shower, dress and eat breakfast. By the time you finish eating, you’re exhausted so you take a nap. Your husband put in several hours of work already and your kids left for school before you started breakfast.
3. Standing in the middle of a room, lost in space, your kids ask you if you’re okay. You ask them why they think you’re not okay, and their answer is, that you’re standing in the middle of the room lost in space. You remember turning from the counter to open the fridge but you don’t remember stopping.
4. You eat cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner because anything else is too hard to make. When you go to the grocery store, you stand in the cereal aisle overwhelmed. Do you want the original flavoured or the vanilla, almond, honey, strawberry or chocolate version. You can’t decide so you go home and take a nap.
5. When your husband comes home and asks how your day was, your list of activities include: eating, napping and watching TV. You think your day was productive, your husband wonders why you didn’t go to the gym. You wonder why he didn’t ask you to climb Mount Kilimanjaro at the same time.
6. Are you the glass half full or half empty type? Is this a joke? You’re glass is empty, there’s a drought and you don’t care if it ever gets filled. Your husband asks you why you’re so negative which is cause for hysterical laughter. You’re depressed, you tell him, depression renders your mind incapable of positive, happy thoughts.
7. Then there’s the crying for apparently no reason, the desperate apologies and ‘goodbye cruel world’ speeches. You know you sound crazy and your family thinks you are crazy, so you try to make them see that you’re not crazy, which in turn has them thinking you’re in worse shape than they thought.
8. You don’t say much out loud but you’re having a lot of conversations in your head. You occasionally say something which causes your family to wonder whom you were talking to.
9. Family members ask you if you’ve taken your meds.
10. After a long day you wish your family goodnight and you’re off to bed. They’re giving you that look again because it’s not even close to bedtime.
One mental day is okay but unfortunately, one mental day usually leads to a mental week and weeks lead to months… It’s time to put your coping skills to work, call a mental health hotline or see your psychiatrist. Maybe you need some talk therapy or a dosage increase.
The clueless will tell you to suck it up, snap out of it, or get over it. Well-intentioned people think they’re helping, by giving you unwanted advice. Their advice will drag you down and not lift you up. If you want to get better you might want to limit your time with the clueless group.
Be kind to yourself and surround yourself with loving, supportive people. The mental days will get better as you recover, as the saying goes, “this too shall pass.” Mental illness can feel like a never-ending ride on the crazy train but it won’t always be that way. Just between you and me, do yourself a favour and avoid the clueless people.