Managing Mediocre Mental Health

As everyone knows, I have anxiepression and, it turns out, ADHD.  I’ve only just started on the road to learning how to manage ADHD, but by this point I’m an old hand at the anxiety-depression combo. There are always surprises, but by and large I think I’ve got a good idea how to manage it during good times and bad.

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Tip one: stay hydrated (I use these bottles as reusable, then recycle them, don’t worry.)

In the last week my life has gone extremely wahooney-shaped (more on that next week) and it’s made a dramatic case for managing my mental health even when I feel like things are going well. A week ago I was feeling okay. Just a couple days later, I was a trash panda on the couch, eating junk because cooking was too hard, and watching TV rather than doing things I liked, let alone had to do.

Since the move to Florida I’ve discovered three things that are apparently essential to my mental health. I’m resentful af that my brain won’t simply take care of itself the way other people’s seem to, but since I like being a functional human being I do them anyway. I call them the Three Pillars to Bess’ Brain:

  • Exercise: I have to get some sort of exercise every day, at least five days a week. I hate exercise. Nothing about moving around is fun. Gimme a book and a sunny spot any day. But on days that I don’t lift weights or go for a (very short, ten minute) run, I can’t sleep that night.
  • Writing. This one makes more sense than you’d think at face value. Writing is where my personal worth resides. I want to be an author, ergo I must write. If I am not writing, what is my purpose? So I have to write, even if it’s just 500 words. Some days this is harder than others, but when I’m done I feel, if not good, then not-bad, which is just as important.
  • Create something. Look, I love writing, but it’s not an instantaneous process. There’s no immediate gratification. And (this may nor may not tie into the ADHD thing) I get depressed when there’s no result to point to at the end of the day. So I need to bake something, or do something crafty. That way it feels like I actually made progress on something.

There are a thousand other little things, like stretching before bed to release stress and eating more-or-less regularly and healthy, and taking medications but those seem to be the big three, at least for now.

I had just begun settling into a rhythm with these Big Dumb Pillars when life got disrupted. Now that we’ve more-or-less gotten it under control I’m going to start putting my highly structured, frustratingly rigid, but ultimately essential for happiness schedule back together.  Step one is writing this blog post, even though its hours later than I normally would. I was also supposed to go the gym but opted to do a little workout in the apartment instead. Baby steps, right? And tomorrow I have therapy, which is always good.

Anyone else have things they absolutely have to do to maintain their healthy headbrain? Do you get grumpy about it? Let me know, I’d love the company!

P.S. My manuscript, shockingly, hasn’t moved since last week. But it will!

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