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How I manage my mental health problems in 6 steps

I’ve been dealing with mental health problems since I was around 15 years old but back then I didn’t know I was having mental health problems.

I started to think I may have borderline personality disorder back in 2018 (at 25 years) and only recently I accepted that I struggle with mental health.

Just to give you a short idea of what is going on in my life, imagine you are in a big field. You stand right in the middle of this big field and your body is tied to the center of the field with an elastic rope.

You live your life normally, you enjoy your experiences, you meet people, socialize, you feel energetic and life is great. All of a sudden, because you moved too far from the center of the field, the elastic rope brings you back.

But that’s not it. Because of the momentum, you move past the center of the field to the opposite direction and, out of nowhere, you hate everything and everyone (including yourself), you are hopeless, and you don’t see any positive outcome anymore.

That’s me.

One day my life is great and the next day my life is awful.

One day I’m an amazing person and the next day I am the kind of person that you don’t want in your life.

It’s like living two different lives because I have two different sets of mindsets, behaviors, vocabulary, reactions, beliefs and energies.

That’s how my life has been since I was around 15 years old and I’m currently 32.

If you find yourself in the above situation and you feel like you are living two different lives, I hope that the way I manage my mental health problems will at least inspire you to keep on fighting.

  • Don’t do anything, don’t make any decisions
  • I go back to one (un)healthy behavior
  • Be aware of the time length
  • Find something to do that distracts me
  • Make sure I’m not alone
  • Take it slow when getting back to normal

What kind of mental health problems do I have and what is actually going on?

I think I’m dealing with some kind of bipolarity but I’m not sure.

Whenever I’m talking with a therapist, they struggle to find a diagnosis because the triggers are not always the same.

And I get triggered by many things, from people not keeping their word and being mean, to not having clarity over what I should be doing next with my life and business.

When I switch to the dark side, it can happen right after I wake up or in the evening. Or it can happen over a period of 24-48 hours. If I look back at that time frame, I can see myself becoming more and more pessimistic and negative, but right in that moment I don’t realize it.

When I switch to the bright side, it can happen right in the middle of negative self-talk.

But it all changes so fast and randomly that I don’t even remember what the triggers were 3 or 6 months ago.

Anyway, here’s how I manage my mental health problems in 6 steps.

1. Don’t do anything, don’t make any decisions

In the past, I used to do a lot of things and make lots of decisions right in the middle of the negativity.

I realized that it wasn’t the best way of living my life as I would have regretted most of my decisions.

But not doing anything and not making any decisions is difficult.

At that moment, I feel this emotion, right in the middle of my chest, getting more and more intense, and it disappears right after I do something.

Trying not to do anything creates this situation where I’m forced to fight the emotion, to fight myself. It’s so weird because, in that negative moment, I already feel like the world is against me. Now I’m also against myself.

“I’m against myself”

In the last years I learned that this short affirmation creates a conflict of identities. There’s a coexistence of both “I” and “myself” trying to happen at the same time. This coexistence is unhealthy because through it we are only feeding our ego.

2. I go back to one (un)healthy behavior

I have a pretty big list of unhealthy behaviors but they’re not as damaging as doing drugs. I’ve never done it and I’m grateful for that.

Instead, I have many others: I play video games, I eat junk food, I avoid doing any work, I isolate myself from society, and push everyone out of my life.

When I’m in the middle of a negative moment, there’s an urge to do something unhealthy.

Last year, I spent some time with myself and decided on the healthiest of the unhealthy behaviors I have and do my best to stick to that when my mental health problems arise.

Therefore, I usually eat chocolate and chips and drink Pepsi Max.

3. Be aware of the time length

When it comes to good vs bad things, we use our words differently to describe the period of time they’re going to last.

When things are good, we say “it’s going to last forever”.

When things are bad, we say “it’s never going to stop”.

When I’m dealing with mental health problems, I try to keep myself aware of the limited time that the problem is going to stay with me.

It will eventually stop and that’s not the problem. The problem is I don’t know when it will stop. And since there aren’t that many things I can do about it, one thing I can do is to force myself to think that it will eventually stop.

This helps a lot as it reconnects me to the reality.

Fun Fact: 0 % More Trusted

Did you know that optimists are trusted 31% more by their peers?

4. Find something to do that distracts me

Most times, I play video games. I also listen to music and dance, meditate, paint, read, or watch some TV show.

If things go bad, nothing works anymore. Luckily, I’ve gotten to a point where the worst moment of my mental health problems lasts from a few hours up to one day. In this period, I’m just trying to survive. I usually stay in bed and don’t do anything.

In the past, I used to have weeks (sometimes months) when I had to stay in bed because I wasn’t capable of doing anything.

Finding a suitable distraction is key for dealing with mental health problems. It helps with not going even further into a downward spiral.

5. Make sure I’m not alone

This is the best thing to do when things get bad. I make sure I have someone to chat with, even if I don’t know that person.

I may write to someone on Instagram, I may go to Discord and join a conversation on a random channel, or even go to Reddit and read something.

Anything that gives me the idea of connection with other people helps me improve my situation.

Feeling lonely only fuels the downward spiral of my mental health problems.

6. Take it slow when getting back to normal

When I switch to the bright side, it feels amazing and everything is great.

I have good energy, I feel like socializing, I make plans and I’m excited about everything that’s going on in my life.

But sometimes it may be too much.

Imagine hating everyone right now and after 30 minutes wanting to make plans with everyone. It can be a bit overwhelming and, at that moment, it helps a lot to become aware of the transition I’m having.

I intentionally slow it down because I understand that it’s just a boost of dopamine from switching to the bright side.

It takes around one day to get back to my normal self.

mental health problems - 6 steps to deal manage them

Dealing with mental health problems

Mental health problems are “fun” and I know how fun they are because I’ve been dealing with them for more than 15 years.

I used to not be able to get out of bed for days or even weeks. I used to be depressed and have no idea how to handle it. And I used to punish myself and those around me for all these problems that seem to have unknown roots.

Nowadays, I still struggle with all this but it’s only for 1-2 days and then it goes away. The worst part is that it comes when I less expect it and it has a bad influence over most aspects of my life and predicting it seems in vain.

If you struggle with mental health problems, focus on yourself and take it one moment at a time. Good times shall come.

With love and optimism,
David

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