Six ways to feel just a wee bit better immediately
I’m not fixed. I’m not entirely rid of the sick feeling in my stomach, nor the dark cloud that uncomfortably inhabits my mind on its own whim. I am coping. I regret to inform myself, and now you the reader, that I am coping. Mostly as a result of advice from poorly written Buzzfeed articles, fatphobic fitness influencers who have never once shed a tear, and my own mother.
There is no one more distraught than I, that these oversaid and overfed cliches have become not only helpful, but a dependent for me. Although a case could be made for my teary eyed bank account that forks out $130 a week for professional therapy. With that in mind, I see no reason to bleed you just as dry as I am. Professional therapy is an investment and unfortunately a privilege. Medicine can be much the same, and neither are for everyone. However, I am. My credentials are extensive (very mentally ill), my experience is endless (for a very long time), so let me share with you the most helpful of the unhelpful advice I have been given. Free of charge (open to koha).
Number One: Have A Glass of Water
Please keep reading. No, it’s not going to gouge open your serotonin receptors, and invite rainbows, puppies, and an on-demand shirtless Pedro Pascal into your brain. Your poor mental health is not about to evaporate into a distant memory. However, there is a chance that the not-quite-sadness feeling, or the quickening of your heartbeat, or the unceaseable panic you’re currently feeling, is a little bit of dehydration. Your body’s a bitch who doesn’t know how to ask for what it wants. It might just be some water.
Number Two: Weighted Blanket
Most of the time, my targeted ads do not do their homework. I don’t know how many more times I can tell the algorithm I do not want an Oodie (I particularly don’t want that butt ugly corgi patterned one.) I did however, cave on the weighted blanket. It doesn’t make sense that the feeling of being crushed within an inch of your life calms you down. So I don’t question it. I just fold it over to double the weight, or ask my boyfriend to lie on top of me if it is not at hand. I’d take a punch in the face if you promised to do it with a sledgehammer.
Number Three: Go For a God Damn Walk
This is the first time I’ve admitted this works. I won’t tell my mother she was right. I won’t tell my well-intentioned best friend that she was onto something. My little walks will always be my dirty little secret. The ex I keep going back to. The thing I would rather hide by confessing to killing a man, than telling you the truth. In hindsight, it might not work because the fact that it works makes my little walks…angry little walks. I don’t advise this one if your poor mental health is rooted in anger issues, but I do advise it if you’d like to swap your depression and anxiety for rage.
Number Four: Do Any Form of Exercise
I believe the science behind the ‘little walk’ is that it helps the brain release and pump happy hormones whilst suppressing the crappy hormones. Unfortunately, due to this science, that does mean that any physical exercise will do the job. I detested having this suggested to me by people who have not felt the same as me. I know going to the gym will make me feel better, but can you take a wild guess at why I can’t get myself to the gym to feel better, Cross-fit Cathy? Again unfortunately, once I did get myself to the gym during a particularly manic episode, I found myself sighing deeply in resentment that those people had been right, but also in relief. I am not saying go to the gym, I am saying if you can get there you deserve a prize and that prize will come. If you can’t get there, maybe that little little walk is enough. That little walk could be down your hallway or to your bedside table, and you’d still deserve a prize.
Number Five: Dance Like Nobody’s Watching
Maybe a person didn’t say this one to me, maybe it was the decor in my aunty’s house as I come from a long line of white people. I can’t dance (also related to the white people thing.) I turn on my favourite Spotify playlist that I have uniquely and originally customised with a picture of that lo-fi Jake The Dog, and I try to dance. I look ridiculous, I look uncoordinated, I look silly. But I also get to feel silly, which I really really really like. Because it’s a feeling. You can also level this one up by playing a solo game of musical statues.
Number Six: Breathe
If you’ve ever received the four government funded counselling sessions after Youthline came to your school, or met someone who was born and bred online, you have probably been told to solve your mental health issues by breathing. You have also probably felt at the time that breathing was the one thing you were managing to keep on top of until they criticised you for it. I’m not going to recommend the ‘in for four out for eight’ or even the ‘in the nose out the mouth.’ I will, however, suggest your way of breathing being something you focus on for five minutes. I’m not good at this one, but practising it just a little every day has helped. It is also the one that makes me the angriest because I don’t have that many jokes to make about it. This should be so much funnier, but it’s just really effective.
Throughout my long-term relationship with my brain, I have always preferred receiving help or advice from someone I know has been through a similar long-term relationship. I hate all of these tips and tricks for coping. I hate people being right almost as much as I hate being wrong. But something I love and do not take for granted, is when I find something that helps me. It might be helpful once, it might be helpful and dependable as a coping mechanism forever. However, I have realised that whoever the help comes from, if it helps at all, it helps. You might not be ready or convinced in the slightest that it’s time to start listening to those poorly written Buzzfeed articles, fatphobic fitness influencers who have never once shed a tear, or your mother. So for now I’ve done you the courtesy of skimming everything they have to offer, and redelivering it from the mouth of a mess. But if it helps at all, it helps. Turns out I might also be adding writing listicles to this listicle.