comprehensive list of things that changed my life radically
- les miserables
- avatar: the last airbender
comprehensive list of things that changed my life radically
idk, i talked about squats a lot in that post but they really help me.
i was just doing some because i was feeling dead and my sister came and put her corgi in my arms and was like “here, do weighted squats”
so i did squats while hugging the dumb wiggly doge and by the end i was giggling and now i’m catching my breath and i feel happy
a lot of you do not have medical insurance, or can’t go to a doctor. trying to make healthier patterns in your life can save your life. the key to remember is: humans are like complicated chemical machines. while your individual brain chemistry is different from other people’s, the general functioning of your body is the same as everyone’s. you need oxygen, good fats, enough water, and enough sleep. your brain is fighting a tough battle with itself. give it all the help you can! don’t divorce your brain from your body; that’s not how it works.
**this is based on a lot of different areas of research re: therapy, self care, etc. here is a link to a self-care packet i would really recommend you fill out and use!! you are not a mentally ill person. you are not a “broken” person!! you are a person with a particular set of struggles, and you can learn to take care of yourself and be happier.**
I need you to first of all accept a few facts:
—> you can be happy
—> you are powerful
you don’t have to really accept them now. just do me a favor and pretend that. so much of loving yourself is “fake it til you make it,” but let me assure you: you have more power, more beauty, more resilience than you give yourself credit for. you have survived this long!! you can thrive.
here are a few easy steps to take care of yourself:
1. go to bed earlier. a lot of mental health issues are seriously exacerbated by lack of sleep. if you struggle with insomnia, take a magnesium supplement and melatonin around 10 pm. lay down before eleven, and wake up earlier. sit outside for a few minutes in the cool morning air. breathe deeply.
studies in both adults and children suggest that sleep problems may raise risk for, and even directly contribute to, the development of some psychiatric disorders. x
sleeping vs not sleeping can be the difference between life and death. all of the times i have been on the verge of ending my life, it has been after not sleeping for a long time.
2. eat food that nourishes you. if you try to eat foods that have a low glycemic index, because if your sugar levels are peaking and crashing, you will feel tired and more depressed. try eating foods with lots of omega fatty acids, which can help significantly. sardines, anchovies, and eggs are all high in these important fats which support your brain, and they are cheap. sardines and anchovies are also low in mercury! they taste just like tuna, don’t be afraid. eggs are also super cheap, and very filling. if you have very low spoons, boil a dozen when you can and keep them in the fridge for a very quick, easy, healthy snack. (for vegans: try cauliflower, brussels sprouts, tahini.)
if you struggle with anxiety or mania, please consider cutting down on caffeine.
your brain is complex chemistry; so is mental illness. help your brain not have to work overtime by feeding it well.
In a study of 200 people done in England for the mental health group known as Mind, participants were told to cut down on mood “stressors” they ate, while increasing the amount of mood “supporters.” Stressors included sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and chocolate (more of that coming up). Supporters were water, vegetables, fruit, and oil-rich fish.
Eighty-eight percent of the people who tried this reported improved mental health. Specifically, 26% said they had fewer mood swings, 26% had fewer panic attacks and anxiety, and 24% said they experienced less depression. x
3. stay hydrated! stay hydrated!! stay hydrated!!! even mild dehydration can make simple tasks feel difficult, affect your mood adversely, and make you feel tired and run down.
a good rule of thumb is to drink a tall glass of water every hour! on this same note, please consider re-evaluating your use of caffeine or alcohol. these are dehydrating and taxing on the body.
Dehydration is a reliable predictor of impaired cognitive status. Objective data, using tests of cortical function, support the deterioration of mental performance in mildly dehydrated younger adults.
Dehydration has been shown to be a reliable predictor of increasing frailty, deteriorating mental performance and poor quality of life. x
3. move a little bit. no one’s asking you to run a marathon! i don’t even think you need to lose weight. that’s not what exercise is about, anyways.
**as a sidebar, for most people i don’t think i’d recommend trying to lose weight right now, because that can easily turn into an eating disorder and an eating disorder means you’re not feeding your brain!! love yourself first, and make decisions about actual fitness when it’s about fitness, not about disliking your body or yourself. **
just do a few easy things throughout the day. do ten squats whenever you are doing nothing. maybe do them after your hourly glass of water! breathe deeply. think about your heart beating in your chest. think about how warm your muscles feel when you use them. wiggle your toes and reach down and touch them. do a plank until it hurts a little bit. even just doing a minute of exercise a couple of times throughout the day will get your blood pumping, which takes oxygen to your brain and helps it work!
Exercise is well-established as helping ease anxiety and depression. A few possible reasons why:
Releases feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression/anxiety (neurotransmitters and endorphins)
Reduces immune system chemicals that can worsen depression
Increasing body temperature, which may have calming effects
Meeting exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost your self-confidence. x
4. make a plan for the day. break it up into small chunks, and then smaller chunks, and then do the plan. DON’T beat yourself up if you don’t do the plan.
for me, i struggle with bpd. there is either 500 million things i want to do, and i can’t pin my brain down, or there’s nothing i want to do and i can’t even figure out what i need to do, and it stresses me out and i end up laying in bed for days hating myself and having no idea what i’m supposed to do next. i forget simple things that exist that make me feel better and less like a breathing corpse — like brushing my teeth. lists help me remember.
making lists, and then making the lists more do-able with the tasks broken up, means that you
as you can see, even this list of tips can be part of your “list for the day.” you can mark off each glass of water, or each little exercise, or whatever!
5. visualize. this is really difficult sometimes. when i went to my first therapist appointment, my therapist asked me to imagine myself happy, and tell her what that looked like. i felt like i was being strangled as i choked out, “not this.” whatever “happy” was, it was not where i was right then. and then i cried for what felt like forever because i was so embarrassed to be crying in front of someone and i was so sad and the sadness stretched on forever in every direction like an ocean and all i really wanted was to be dead and everything be quiet and not so overwhelming and loud and too much.
but i threw out a few thoughts just to placate her. what did me, happy, feel like: “i feel alive and i’m happy about it.” “i feel energetic and lucid.” “i have friends, and books i’ve written, and i am strong.”
picturing yourself happy is very powerful. picturing yourself happy and telling yourself that you will get there is incredibly powerful. because you can!!
6. finally! make a self-care plan!! empower yourself!! know yourself and find strength there! like anything scary, mental health is something that you can get better at with preparedness and practice. every chronic illness is about management. taking medicine is only a fragment of the picture. understand what you need to be happy and be systematic about taking care of your brain and your body and your life!
this self-care plan, WRAP, lets you figure out a daily maintenance plan (which is similar to this list i just made), define a toolkit for wellness, identify triggers/triggering events and make a plan for dealing with them, identify early warning signs of when you are feeling badly (for me, my eyes start hurting) and make a plan for responding to those signs, as well as sections for identifying when things are getting worse, or worst, and making plans for dealing with those. it’s just like a fire escape plan! those work, and well. you can do the same for your brain.
you can ask people in your life to help you with making this plan: people who care about you, your parents, friends, etc. you can even ask me. i would be glad to help.
**FiNALLY. You will still have bad days!
I have been doing okay for about two months now, but I still had a panic attack, screaming and hyperventilating and sprawled on the hallway floor in a spilled glass of ice water. lol. I mean it’s not funny, but you know. I am still practicing listening to myself and taking care of myself.
You will still have bad weeks! There will still be times when this all feels undoable. But you do NOT have to resign yourself to a bad life that feels impossible to endure and that you do not know how to deal with.**
***AlSO: these things work even if you don’t think they do. maybe not overnight. maybe not immediately. you can do squats while you contemplate how much you would rather not be alive. but like i said. you are just a complicated chemical machine.
do basic maintenance and upkeep and listen to your body and your mind and write your own Owner’s Manual so you can keep the gears running as smoothly as possible.***
I’d say “Good Luck” but you don’t need luck! You have your beautiful, powerful spirit keeping you going! You are unique in all of eternity and your path will be unique and that is incredibly wonderful and I hope that your light stays in the world for a long, long time.
I have just gone to a cookout where this pie was served with a pretzel crust, cream cheese and coolwhip center, and strawberry jello topping.
I don’t know why we’re saying “American as Apple Pie” when we should be saying “American as Strawberry Jello Pretzel Cream Cheese Dessert.”
I think I *may* have got a job at a pizza place and I’m sort of stressed bc you know. I have a really good degree and I’m intelligent and I’m going to be a pizza waitress.
Those “in-between” phases of life fucking suck.