on advice for those with mental illness
so inb4 i get slapped with “we cant all be neurotypical KAREN” ill preface this with the fact that i have severe depression, generalized anxiety disorder, moderate to severe OCD (more along the hoarder spectrum), and ADHD. all diagnosed. i deal with childhood sexual trauma as well. my experience is not universal, but it is not in the slightest neurotypical.
so learning how to grow and start healing fucking sucks. it really does. at a certain point it gets easier to just stay in your downward spiral. i get it, i totally do. ive been there for over 10 years (im 21 at the time im making this) and its taken me years of therapy and personal work to get to where i am now. i would consider myself stable at best, but its leagues better than where i used to be. part of that is just being lucky with recent life events, but much of it is me actively working on my mental illness.
cognitive behavioral therapy helps a fuckton. part of that is exposure therapy. it starts with little things. FORCE urself to go outside sometimes. FORCE urself to let something be “clean enough” or “good enough.” you dont have to personally handwash dishes you want to use to know theyre clean. let something be imperect, but start small. FORCE urself to look into someones eyes when u talk to them, or at least look at their mouth. a lot of the early work is about breaking out of your habits, your spiral. and it is work, absolutely. i know executive disfunction and lack of spoons/energy very well. starting small and succeeding tells your brain that you CAN do it.
i also have impulsive, intrusive thoughts. that sort of this is common but for me, its nearly every second of the day. when you start to understand that these thoughts ARENT yours, that obsessions have a cause you can point to, it starts to get easier. often i get thoughts of screaming nasty, racist, homophobic, transphobic things and it used to terrify me!! i used to think that those thoughts defined me or were some sort of “secret personality” of who i actually am. theyre not. theyre just shitty things that you hear and see from other people and your brain KNOWS you dont like them. but things that you KNOW are wrong are very often subjects of intrusive thoughts, especially for OCD. these thoughts arent who i am, and even tho i have to fight to not let that impulse take over, its much easier when you know WHY things happen.
ive been in therapy for years and i only recently told my psychiatrist about my ocd spectrum symptoms. that shit happens. it can be hard to trust someone until youve known them for YEARS. i never even told anyone about that facet of my mental illness until about a month before i told him during a session. my parents dont even know yet (unless they still check out my blog in which case HEY MOM i have ocd but im working on it real good also sorry about all the furries ily)
i have control issues. pretty bad ones. ones where i feel the need to control every aspect of my own life and those of people close to me. ive learned how to talk to people to get what i want from them. ive spent years working on not acting on them. i give people free reign to do what they need to do and offer to help when i can. i make a point to feel the mood of a room and go along with it. i make a point to involve other people in teaching me abt things that they like. being supportive and patient is hard for me, but it makes other ppl feel welcome around me. its probably for an ultimate selfish reason (i feel good that people like me and feel safe around me) but who cares!!! everything in life is selfish. being alive and continuing to live is a selfish act. but its not bad.
its been commonly said that your initial thoughts dont define who you are, but what your words/actions end up being (barring certain mental illnesses that prevent that ofc). the moment my therapist told me that theres things in my life that i cannot control, that there doesnt HAVE to be a reason for everything, it kickstarted the best, healthiest moment of my life. and im definitely not saying that you NEED a therapist/psych to start healing. honestly, that shit he told
me is really simple in basic. but you need to learn how to reach out and ask for help. ask anybody you feel comfortable with for help. getting help does not make me weak, it means i have the capacity for growth.
HEALTHY coping mechanisms will overcome unhealthy ones. youve probably been learning and using healthy ways to cope since you were young and just didnt realize it. think about the way you currently deal with your illness and be proud of it! good and bad! youve survived, and youre still surviving! youre not lazy, or difficult, or a bad person; you just have much more work and effort to put in to do the seemingly basic things that neurotypicals do. you and i work so hard to get to the bare minimum that its exhausting. you have to keep pushing your limits, and i dont mean you have to start yoga (fuck that my brain doesnt slow down enough for that) or run every week (im not there yet either) but just start working on one thing. even if that one, tiny thing takes a month, guess the fuck what!! you did it! you improved, you grew, you started HEALING. the words grow and heal might seem a little cliche and overused, but thats exactly what it feels like.
drink more water, being hydrated makes you feel better. try to eat healthier (mashed potatoes are suuuper easy to make btw u dont even need exact proportions to make delicious tates that YOU made. hmu if u wanna know what i do), youll feel less lethargic over time. stand up a few minutes every 1-3 hours, youll be surprised how much it helps. yes, these sound like neurotypical points of advice, but im there with you. these things DO help. they dont cure you, but they can help expand the base of things you fine yourself able to do.
TL;DR for other ADHD folks: growing as a person is hard. it takes work, actually difficult work. start small. you can do it. eat a potato. thank you.