Time to get a little more personal today.
|Here's David Tennant with a kitten to start off a depressing topic|
I've been wanting to write a post talking about my mental illness, but the only time I think of posts to write, I'm in a bad state mentally and have no motivation/strength/ability to put my thoughts into words, much less coherent enough to share.
So, I decided to talk about it while I'm in a good state and hopefully, I can encompass a little bit about how being mentally ill and a geek coincide.
One thing about mental illness that I think is often overlooked is how it varies from person to person. Some people show anxiety and depression differently, and the severity can definitely fluctuate between person and even time.
For me, I struggle with anxiety and depression. I've hit a few lows in my life but I'm pretty stable now (thanks to amazing therapists and years of work). That's not to say I don't have my low days/weeks, but it's gone from low years to smaller, more manageable time frames.
One thing that happens is that I slowly go from normal, productive college student to barely gets off the couch/showers/brushes my hair in a matter of weeks if I get in a bad state. I call it my "depression mode" and it is almost like dealing with two different people. Jonathan lives with me so he sees me drift in and out of these modes all the time, which can be really hard on a person, so he's awesome for being able to help support me during these times.
How does this relate to being a geek?
My favorite things to do when I'm not dealing with this stuff, or not in full-blown depression/anxiety mode, is to play video games, watch movies, craft, and otherwise let my geek flag fly.
When I do get into this funk though, I spend so much of my time laying on the couch and talking about what I want to do but nothing sounds appealing. I'm so indecisive that I spend all day turning down games/books/movies and before I know it, the day is over and I'm even more depressed because I wasted my day and the cycle continues until I'm a mess of tears, anxiety, and tangled hair.
All this does is take away what I enjoy doing and make me even more depressed because I see myself negatively because I "can't even function" normally. This is so not cool and it just makes everything harder to get out of.
This is then piled onto by TV shows/books/movies and the general FOMO that comes with being a nerd in this modern time because there is SO MUCH STUFF TO DO. All this together just stresses me out even more and I'm too overwhelmed to even try.
How to Heal and Deal
Obviously, this isn't a list of one size fits all and I'm not a doctor so this shouldn't be anyone's sole guidebook, but this is what works for me.
1. Shower and brush your hair
This is huge for me because I literally fail at taking care of myself in these states. By forcing myself to get in the shower and brush my hair, I literally wash off a layer off illness. Ever hear of fake it til you make it?
2. Take it one step at a time
When I'm in this mode, it's daunting to look at even the basic needs without feeling that laying in bed would be so much easier. So I make a mental list that takes each step at a time. First, get out from the blanket, then get up from bed, then go to shower, stand in hot water, etc. There's a reason AA and similar programs use the one day at a time rule. By focusing on smaller tasks, you're more likely to accomplish them because they aren't overwhelming you with a huge pile of to-do's.
3. Don't Think, DO
This is probably the hardest one for me to do. Instead of spending so much time looking for the perfect book/game/movie, just grab the first one you see and start it. Don't tell yourself "I'm not in the mood", just do it. Since a lot of my depression/anxiety manifests itself as indecision, when I force myself to play a game (wow, never thought I'd write that sentence), I am telling my mental illness to screw off because I'm gonna live my life in control today.
4. Surround Yourself With What Makes You Smile
For me, this is Dorkly's Pwn Up column (long discontinued, sadly), Booktube, Tea, and Pinterest. I don't know why this stuff makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside but I know it does and if I can feel good about something, it spreads to other areas of my life.
5. Remember, Netflix Exists
That FOMO I was talking about earlier? That feel that you'll never catch up to GOT/Supergirl/Rick and Morty? Screw that. Netflix, Youtube, Hulu, Amazon......they exist for a reason. We aren't able to do every single thing the moment it comes out and that doesn't diminish your value in the community. Doing something, even if it's one thing, will inspire you to do more things but take it at your own pace.
I hope I was able to shed a little light on my personal struggles and maybe provide some useful information, or at least convey that I'm here rooting for all of you. Thanks for being awesome and remember that you aren't alone!