Everything inside you is broken. Now what?
I did a post earlier about the Emotional Rating Scale that I use to keep track of my emotional functioning level. With this scale, I use a 10 point system to plot my ability to deal with life.
This tool is important for me to know what phase of my self-care plan I need to be implementing. My self-care plan is my personal routine for the day adjusted for my Mental Health needs.
Using my 10 point scale I know that anything below a 3 is a crisis. When in crisis because of mental health issues, the result is no different than another crisis point in an illness or physical accident with one exception.
The support and advice I get from others are not likely to be helpful.
You do not need a rating scale to know if you are in crisis mode. It is evident by the fact that you are incapable of participating in the daily activities of your life including basic hygiene.
A.K.A. You are laying in bed and feel cold dark and empty in your soul.
How did I get here?
Some people, like me, have a lifelong struggle with mental illness. Some people, it comes on them at a season of life like puberty or menopause. Sometimes, mental illness can be brought on as a side effect of another disorder. Sometimes, it is situational like after the loss of a loved one or the birth of a baby.
The reason you are feeling this way is irrelevant while you are experiencing it.
What matters is the action you need to take to change how you feel.
Doing these 3 simple things WILL help.
- Get dressed and brush your hair.
- Take a multivitamin
- Go outside
There is no way I can do that.
Yes, you can.
Getting dressed and brushing hair.
Get out of bed and put on clothes. Not the clothes off the floor or your clean pajamas. Dress for the life you lead. If you are a stay at home Mom that will look different from a farmer. It is not about being fancy, just typical.
Do not try to get ahead of yourself and put on makeup or shower. This is about survival.
Brush your hair. Yes, it is greasy and matted. Yes, this will make you cry.
Taking a Multivitamin
Mental Illness flare ups are chemically based and affect your entire body down to a molecular level. It changes your metabolism and your digestive system along with every other system in your body. It is extremely pervasive.
Your body will have a hard time getting everything back into balance without the right nutrition. Luckily we can shortcut that step with a pill. I recommend Flintstones chewable with iron:
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If you have a multivitamin you already have or like to use, that is great as long as it has iron in it.
Stay away from gummies.
Think of the front door as your finish line.
You need to be in direct sunlight for at least 20 minutes. One hour would be optimum.
You cannot just sit by a window. Do not push yourself into walking.
This is the hardest step but the most important because it serves two functions. The first is exposing yourself to direct sunlight has anti-depressant qualities.
Research has shown having a vitamin D level below 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) can raise your risk for depression by as much as 85 percent, compared to having a vitamin D level greater than 30 ng/mL.
The second benefit to going outside is you will have accomplished your self-care goals for the day.
You are done.
You can consider this a successful day.
This day is as amazing as any other day you finish your to-do list. We are reframing the definition of a bad day to a successful one by working through the steps and guidelines you have predetermined for a day when you are having stronger adverse symptoms!
Do not try to do more today. Even if you have pressure from friends or family. You have done more than you thought possible already.
You are a survivor.
Why it works
Setting goals and achieving them are a huge mood booster. All three of these goals have been built around minimum self-care. They are achievable.
Even better than being easy, each step has a proven benefit to someone in a mental health crisis.
Special note to caregivers.
If at all possible have your friend or relative read this post themselves. The choice to work to improve yourself has to come from within.
If they are not able enough to read this themselves they probably need to be given gentle suggestions of just one step. Emotional strength comes from pushing yourself just like any other exercise. Be patient and be kind. Do not enable.
Watch My Video about this subject!