Many of us have certain things that just don’t work for us.
What can we do to fix the triggers that can worsen our mental health issues?
- Toxic people. I am not a fan of toxic people. My Facebook settings and block list reflect this in a very big way. In my last therapy session, Rachel said that she was very proud of how I have been able to kick a ton of people out of my life and leave them there. What do I mean by toxic people? People who are consistently negative (nobody is full of sunshine everyday, but I’m talking people that are always unhappy and/or never happy for you, put you down, even if sneakily, etc.), spread rumors about you, aren’t there for you when you need them, and so on. If you look hard enough, there are most likely toxic people lurking somewhere in your life. Everyone has a person or two. When you find them- cut them out. It may not be easy, but it is sometimes necessary for your mental stability.
- Lack of support. This is a big one. When you don’t have supportive people in your life, you’re more likely to fall into a bad spot and/or stay there. This can mean a therapist, a friend or family member. It’s a lonely feeling to not have support, because it is easy to feel that no one cares about you when that is far from the truth. This issue can be changed by reaching out for support when you are not in a bad situation- looking for a therapist, talking to a friend or someone else you trust about a plan for the next time you realize (or they do) that you may be having a problem.
- Lack of self-care. I can’t express enough how important it is to take care of yourself emotionally, physically and spiritually, if that is something you are into. If you don’t take care of yourself physically, it will show emotionally and the same the other way around. Taking care of yourself makes you feel better. When you feel good physically, you feel good on the inside. I like to walk outside when I can and even though it tires me out, I still feel good because my body needs it. When we stop taking care of ourselves, we can see the change in the mirror and feel it inside. Changes in self-care can be small at first, but well worth it.
4. Drugs and/or alcohol. Either of these can really change how you think- in small or large doses. Alcohol certainly changed the way I thought, but that’s what I was seeking. I wanted to forget what I was thinking about. I wanted to be able to forget my pain. I had forgotten that the pain wouldn’t go away forever and that when the hangover went away, everything I was trying to get out of my mind would come back. It always did. Facing the pain of losing Jake and having to live the rest of my life without him was awful but it is something I was going to have to deal with. As of this post, I am 16 months sober. I have faced that pain, and am dealing much better with it. I will always have days in which I miss him terribly but that is something I have learned to accept and deal with. Excessive use of drugs and/or alcohol can lead to a lot of other things that a lot of people don’t want- jail, hospitalization, rehab, or a combo of all of these. These can also, in some cases, trigger episodes of psychiatric issues, or make them worse. Some substances can be stopped without professional assistance, like marijuana, but if you are heavily abusing substances like alcohol, opiates, or benzodiazepines, please go to a facility. Trying to detox yourself can be dangerous- you can die from the complications.
5. Lack of outlets for creativity or fun. Adulting is rough. Bills, work and kids can take up your time. Being creative or finding something to do with your spare time can be a way to tune the world out when you need a break. For example, Matthew and his brother have begun to flip houses- buying houses, fixing them up and reselling them. They get to do something they know how to do (they get help when needed) and get to hang out in the process. The money isn’t bad either. Weirdly, Matthew says it’s relaxing for him because he really likes doing it. When you don’t have anything to do that you enjoy, life can get really boring fast. That can drag you down. I think this is why adult kickball leagues have become so popular. It’s fun and brings back memories from childhood.
Not everyone has these triggers and others may have different ones. These are just a few that I’ve noticed.
What are the things that trigger your mental health issues? How do you change the path?
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**STAY TUNED FOR MY COLLAB WITH BONNIE, COMING IN JUNE**