TheMighty.com liked my mental health update where I openly talked about having a bit of depression and how I worked through it. They asked me to write a note to a friend having a tough mental health day. Here's the piece originally published on The Mighty. Don't miss my post script at the bottom.
To My Friend Having a Bad Mental Health Day,
Moving through the fog of self-doubt and maybe self-chastisement, the day slows, and all those nagging thoughts are given room to bloom — Why am I not happy? Why can’t I move? Why do I feel stuck? Am I the only one?
Maybe you’ve had downer days before, or maybe this is a new reality. It hurts either way.
The hardest thing to see is the way out. The second hardest thing to understand is that this is not permanent.
Each of us may be served tricky mental health days differently — the sensations and severity may vary widely — but don’t let yourself believe you don’t deserve to feel better. There are ways. The mind is a beautiful puzzle of neurotransmitters, synapses, hormones and messages of all sorts being sent around, all trying to work in harmony. There are tools available to help our beautiful minds thrive, and to reach that seemly elusive state of happiness or stability.
Sometimes searching so hard to get out of the darkness, we forget about the ways little rays of light could come to meet us, such as through music or meditation. Meditation helped lead me to shed fears. Sometimes even a new sleep schedule can help; sleep affects hormones, and hormones affect how we feel. And if insomnia is as much of a problem for you as it was for me, let me say again — meditation. But you can find other little things that work for you.
When we’re stuck in the quicksand of a down day, everything is hard. I know. Gentle lifestyle changes may not be “cures,” but let’s not worry about “cures” right now. Let’s just look for ways to get your light shining again. Even for one hour of one day. Because you deserve it.
And please, please believe me when I say — there will be light. It’s there. And I’ll stay with you until we get there.
I know, fellow warrior, that it’s just all so much. But you are definitely not alone. Let’s lean on each other, sharing in the joys and in the pain. We are in this together — stumbling through the dark, finding a way to shine.
Post script not included on The Mighty:
Let me say that there are so many ways to work with the brain and our well being. There are time-trusted ancient healing techniques along side cutting edge technology; music, movement, other therapies available but not always as heavily broadcast. Know that solutions exist. In your darkest night, or at the bottom of the deepest well, please know that there is a way out.
If your GP, internist or specialist isn't providing any answers, seek out a naturopath, functional medicine practitioner, or integrative MD as their broader view could connect that dots that are thus far straggling and struggling on their own.
For a roundup of the cutting edge science behind ancient therapies, check out Reset.Me.