Thursday, May 18, 2017

Adulting & Mental Health

This blog topic has been on my mind for a few months now and I'm finally feeling ready to write about it. 

Adulting is hard, guys. That truly seems to be the millennial mantra, and I don't say that in any negative way (for some reason my generation, the millennials, has become synonymous for BAD, but that's a conversation for a different day), I say it because it's true and millennials aren't ones to put on a happy face when things aren't working the best way they could be. Calling adulthood what it is - extremely difficult - is just in our nature. Balancing the hundreds of spinning plates that makeup adulthood is hard, and when you live with an unpredictable mental illness like anxiety, it becomes that much harder. There are days, sometimes weeks, where the only thing I can do when I get home at the end of the day is lay in bed, knowing that all of my responsibilities are piling up and waiting for me to take care of them once I muster up enough energy or motivation to stand up.

The major way that my anxiety manifests itself is lack of self-esteem. I am constantly thinking negatively about myself, feeling like I'm not good enough, and feeling generally awful about myself. This is pretty detrimental to motivation, energy, and ultimately productivity, making doing anything a normal adult does from something as time consuming as taxes or as seemingly simple as grocery shopping the most difficult task on the planet. I'm thankful that I still somehow gather the energy to get the most important things done, like paying bills and getting myself to work in the morning, but often things that pertain to taking care of myself, like eating right and drinking enough water and getting enough sleep, are the first things to get thrown on the back burner. With the way my anxiety manifests itself, it's really no surprise that this happens. I don't feel important or worthy, so why should I be taking care of myself?

A glimpse into my brain when my anxiety pays a visit.
[Comic by Sow Ay]

I don't say this to search for sympathy, I say this because this is genuinely how I feel when my anxiety decides to rear its ugly head. On days where I feel great, I know I'm good at what I do, I know I'm a good person, I know I deserve the things I have, and I know that I'm going places in life. But with my anxiety comes fear, doubt, self-loathing, and it. is. exhausting. I often wonder if it will get to a point where these spinning plates will start crashing down one by one. Will there be a day where I don't find the energy to get up for the bare minimum? Is this as bad as it can possibly get or can it get worse? Will I ever feel confident again? Will I ever feel normal again? (See? Exhausting.)

Mental illness is tricky because you never know when you're going to have a good day or a bad day, and while there are things in our world that can help treat it, its something that you need to live with for the rest of your life. I'm still figuring out how to cope with mine and my coping strategies do change and evolve each day, but I thought I'd share what I do to gain more energy to keep the plates spinning during the bad days, and maybe it could help someone else out there.

[Comic by Beth Evans]

Get to a quiet space. 

Usually my brain is so loud with such negative thoughts that any other noise makes my feel that much worse. If I can give myself some genuinely quiet time without doing anything else (no phone, no music, no TV, no anything) it often slows my brain down enough where I can actually get to a semi-productive place and start or continue the project that needs to get done. Bonus points if you can get outside for some fresh air and change of environment.

Put on a favorite TV show or movie and focus on that for a while. 

I have several go-to television shows that will always distract me from my negative thoughts or will comfort me when I'm feeling especially overwhelmed. I allow myself time to get lost in the fictional world I'm watching for however long I need in order to get my energy back. Getting back to a better place (not necessarily a good place, but a better place) takes time and you can't rush it, so make sure you give yourself the time you need to get back into a mental space where you can be productive.

Vent about it/write about it.

If I'm feeling up to it, I talk to Brett about how I'm feeling. Speaking about my anxiety and negative thoughts is very difficult for me and always makes me cry tears of frustration, but Brett is patient and will listen to me vent when I need to. It always helps to get it out and it puts us on the same page which is an extra bonus. If I don't feel like I can talk about it out loud, I'll write about it, mostly in my journal but sometimes a blog post like this is a better venue.

Let yourself feel that way.

I think this is one of the most important things I do. Living with anxiety is so frustrating. All I want is to feel better and normal and it's frustrating when I'm just sitting there feeling terrible and having no way of knowing when I won't feel terrible anymore. So the easiest thing to do is be okay with feeling the way I feel and not rushing to feel better. I try to remember to just do what I can when I can, and when I have my next good day, I'll know I can get more done. Everything just takes time, and remembering that and believing it will be better in the near future will make a difference.

If you're someone who lives with a mental illness, I hope that you could relate to this post or maybe find it helpful. I'm a big believer that we as a society need to continue to discuss mental illness because there is still such a HUGE stigma around it. The more we talk about it, the more we can relate to one another, and the more we can relate to one another, the faster we can dismantle the stigma surrounding mental illness.


  1. I've had mental health issues recently and blogging/writing has helped me cope. I blog at :)

    I watched everything I wanted, ate everything that I wanted, just so I could get through a day.

    After weeks of meds and therapy, I started to feel better. I'm still recovering now, but at least I'm already functional.

    And yes, letting myself feel the emotions has helped! I did not wallow on my hopelessness but I became true to myself and accepted myself for who I am.

    1. It is so great to hear that you are recovering! I will definitely check out your blog and follow along on your journey. The more we talk about it, the more we can normalize it and fight the stigma!

      So nice to meet you, Karla! <3