How do you adjust to changes in your mental health? I’ve never seriously reflected on this question, but I know why I haven’t – it’s because I’m always doing it! I’m constantly adjusting and adapting to changes in my mental health, and I know many other people do this on a daily basis. Even though we’re constantly adapting, it’s difficult to take the time and break down how this is possible. Today is the first of a two-part series on how I’ve made adjustments to my mental health; specifically, how I adjust to symptoms of mental illness.
I use the term making adjustments when I talk about improving my mental health because it’s language I’m comfortable with, but there are many other terms that apply here. When I say I “make adjustments,” it means I’m working to better understanding how my mental health challenges affect me, and how I can best limit those challenges.
They come in many forms, but one of the main challenges is the adjustment to common symptoms of mental illness. When I was first experiencing depression, I couldn’t compartmentalize any of my symptoms. I was trying to sort out how to live with depression, which will always sound more daunting in theory than in reality.
In my head, I referred to everything in vague terms, and this turned my depression into an obstacle that I would simply never overcome. After reflecting on this, I realized I was asking the wrong questions, ones that didn’t actually have answers. After some work and talking to the right people, I started asking the right questions.
Now, the adjustments I make are not to get rid of pain, sadness, emptiness or any of those vague feelings I experience as a result of depression and anxiety. The adjustments I make are to real situations that exist as a result of symptoms of mental illness. I adjust to feeling sad enough to cry. I adjust to feeling low energy. I adjust to feeling like there’s a rubber band wrapped around my brain, and being unable to think. None of those sound fun, but they ARE all individual, separate situations – situations that are easier to face one at a time than all together.
Even though adjusting to an individual symptom or situation can be difficult or exhausting, in my experience it makes things much less overwhelming. Like many other aspects of mental health, this is easier said than done, but it’s also a mindset that took a long time to create. Instead of trying to make sweeping and near-impossible adjustments, I make tweaks where I can, and that can often lead to a domino effect that actually leads to healthier long-term adjustments. Stay tuned for the second part of this post, where I’ll talk about adjusting to how your mental health can take on a more personal nature.
We all make adjustments to our lives as they go on – what adjustments have you made when it comes to your mental health? Let me know in the comments!