Managing a Bad Mental Health Day (or two!)

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

As I write this post I'm not sure if I'm frustrated, downtrodden, disappointed, determined or what. I think I'm probably actually a concoction of all of those things because for the first time in quite a while I feel like I'm suffering from a 'bad patch' aka my anxiety is being a bugger at the moment and I'm having a little internal battle to stop it from taking back control.

This is the ultimate test for me really, my counselling journey came to an end a few months ago now and I've been on this ride all alone (without my counsellor to turn to I mean, my partner, friends and fam have been incredible) and I've been chugging along quite nicely up until now.

I have zero idea what triggered this anxiety attack. I actually think it might have been the amount of alcohol I consumed at a Halloween party, I don't drink very often now and although I was a nice kind of drunk I didn't consider the effects alchohol could have had on my mental health. I felt drained the next day and by the time I'd driven the 3 hours back down South I was physically and mentally exhausted. Little things were irritating me - a sure sign of anxiety for me - and I ended up devastatingly annoyed and upset at my boyfriend for starting to watch a movie without me whilst I was away that I wanted to watch together. I know. Tell me about it.

I felt really sensitive to comments and I took everything personally and to heart - something I'd not done for a while. The good thing was I now recognised those triggers and am currently doing my best to manage my feelings. I thought I'd share with you some things that are helping me right now.

Acknowledging How You Feel

This is important. My anxiety is hard to explain and hard to justify, I can rarely put my finger on exactly what triggered it so I just have to do my best to accept that and acknowledge that the brain works in mysterious ways (especially when it's tired and in my case from the weekend - hungover).

Don't try to argue or fight the way you feel. The sooner you accept it for what it is the sooner you can put your techniques and tools in place to move on through it so you can carry on with living and loving life!

Try To Rationalise

'Wow Lauren, try to rationalise when I have severe anxiety, good one!' Trust me, I knoooow. It's hard and it's especially hard when you're in the midst of the 'end of the world' according to your anxiety and making sense of anything and rationalising can seem impossible but it's 100% worth a good shot.

Ask yourself whether the thoughts you're having are based on fact or feeling. 9/10 these will be 'feelings'. If you were to ask me on a bad anxiety day you'd think I was Mystic Meg by the amount of made-up thoughts and feelings I'm 'sure' of. I'm actually not sure about any of them because they're all just my feelings, they're not facts.

Trust Yourself

For me, tackling my anxiety pretty much all boils down to the same thing; trusting myself. Trusting that I'm a good person, a good partner, strong, capable etc. I've been through some tough times and I handled them really, really well, so why am I so worried about possibly facing another tough time that hasn't actually happened and may never happen?! Who knows. 'Tis the nature of the beast I think and it has a good way of making you doubt yourself.

Don't Give Up Your Healthy Routine

This is a hard one for me. As soon as my anxiety hits I want to stay in bed all day, eat crap and watch Netflix. It's my happy place and it's comforting, that's fair enough but I also know it's not going to make me feel any better in a hurry.

Stick to your healthy diet, don't cancel that gym class, go to that bar with your friends if you can, in the long run it will help. I find that for me, the guilt of letting myself go just because I'm having a bad mental health day contributes to the way I'm feeling, it fuels the fire! I don't want to give it that power so even if I'm not 100% feeling it I will drag myself to that gym class - give me all that seratonin!

Look at anxiety for what it is, it's a mental health condition (if you will) which does a good job at trying to make us worry about every possible eventuality so it can 'prepare' us for potential trauma or threats. It's not a 'sixth sense' - something I have to tell myself constantly because I'm terrible at being convinced my anxiety is my 'gut feeling' so it must be right! It's not.

The best thing I can do for myself is repeatedly tell myself I've been here before, I might be here again but I made it through before and I'll make it through again. We are stronger than we give ourselves credit for so just remember that the next time you're faced with a bad mental health day, week, month or even year. It will pass.

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