Time for a positive blog! Individuals with mental illnesses will most likely encounter small victories – these are normal everyday tasks and decisions that any other person would find easy; but we can find them extremely hard.
Why do we have them?
In all honesty, it can be confusing to us to. Depression can make you feel extreme fatigue, and can literally hold you down. It’s like, could you do your normal daily tasks with an elephant sat on your chest? I think not. As with anxiety, that negative ‘voice’ can make you feel isolated and prohibit you from making choices and decisions. You can be like, “I want to go out with friends today!” but then anxiety chimes in and tells you that all your friends hate you and you could get kidnapped by that man across the road so best to stay inside, aye?
When we accomplish these daily tasks, choices and decisions we can feel this huge wave of satisfaction – instantly you can feel like today is a good day and you are not controlled by your illness, you are in control. Please don’t look at us like we’re crazy because we’re mad excited we managed to go for that new sandwich we’ve been wanting to try – it’s a huge deal!
Here are a few examples of situations that can occur, in our mind, when we have to tackle the daunting daily tasks and decisions – this is more for those who do not experience mental illness and to give you an insight into our mind.
Example One: Breakfast.
I’ve managed to get myself out of bed, i’m not dressed but i’m up. Ok. We’re doing good.
Let’s go downstairs and make some breakfast – i’m not particularly hungry but i’ve got to eat. I have to eat. I have to.
As soon as i walk through the kitchen door i am blasted with a wave of overwhelming decision.
What cupboard shall i go to? Shall i have tea or water? Is cereal healthy? Do we have bread? What’s the saturated fat in this? Do i even want toast? How about fruit? No that’s not filling enough. Shall i have pasta? No! That’s not breakfast. Water? Tea? Toast? Cereal? Toast? Cereal? Fruit????
I look in the fridge, i close the fridge without really looking. I walk hopelessly around the kitchen desperately wishing i could make a bloody decision. Back to the fridge.
Sod it. Go back to bed.
Example Two: Cleaning.
Anxiety: Okay. You’ve been to work, all you have to do is hoover and put some washing on.
Just 5 minutes.
Anxiety: But what about the polishing? Is there any washing up? Should i clean the bathroom? Does my bed need changing? Are the dogs okay? Do they need to go out? Are they clean? How much bacteria do they carry?
I only cleaned yesterday, just a nap. Then i’ll go.
Anxiety: BUT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN LIVING IN IT SINCE. Is it going to rain? Can you put the washing outside? Does the fridge need cleaning? Should you sort your draws out? You really need new clothes. Does your dressing gown need washing? JUST WASH EVERYTHING. Do you need cleaning? Should you shower? Do you need to shave? NO. If you shave you’ll ruin that bathroom. Should i clean the cupboards? You really should hoover, maybe pull out the furniture?
In short, i really do think those explanations give a huge insight into our minds and why we constantly have no energy. Now i know what you’re thinking, what does this have to do with small victories??? Well – it shows how hard tasks and decisions can be for us and why we experience small victories, why we’re so proud of just doing the simple things. It’s hard when you’re constantly battling your own self.
My Small Victories:
- Getting ready the night before – this puts me at ease and makes me feel accomplished. I am reassured that i have everything for work and i don’t have to panic in the morning
- Post office – It can take me days to get around to posting things because i always get nervous, wondering if the prices have changed, how much it will cost, if i sent it to the right address etc etc. so when i do manage to post it; i feel relief and somewhat proud
- Getting a good night sleep – THIS is one of the most difficult things when dealing with mental illnesses. Your thoughts are always busy and you can have insomnia. So when i get more than 4 hours; it’s a full on blessing and i feel fresh
- Choosing that sandwich – i mentioned this earlier but there is literally noting better than trying that food you always wanted to but convinced yourself it wouldn’t be clever. Even better when it tastes amazing!
- Saving – as part of my illnesses, i spend a lot. I find it makes me feel better for a short while and it gives me something to look forward to. However, this can become very very bad in terms of my bank balance – so when i manage to save even £10 a week, i feel liberated and at peace. I also feel a sense of security, idk why
- Going out – I literally only ever leave the house to go to work or my boyfriends’ house; because i am familiar with these places. So when i go out for dinner, to clubs, with friends, to the cinema – IT’S A BIG DEAL. There is nothing to feel better about, it’s like you escape the isolation of anxiety even just for 5 minutes – you can feel loved and needed again.
What are some of yours?
Please, please, tell me some of yours! I am so intrigued to see what other peoples’ small victories are! No matter how small or big! Please leave a comment, I’ll always reply.
Love always x