Living with mental illness is not easy, let alone living with mental illness and being an activist. You have to be strong and a voice to the voiceless. Imagine living with a problem that has no solution, but you still have to put up an appearance and encourage others who are going through the something that all will be well.
The big question remains, even amidst all this, how can you cope? How do you make sure you don’t lose yourself in all this? Some people will advise you to keep pushing, exercise, meditate, and remain active. The truth is that this has worked for so many people. However, there are other methods that many people never talk about. If you can add these to your routine, you should be able to come out as a winner.
As you go about encouraging others, it’s also essential for you to take care of yourself and your own mental health. You need to find the right coping mechanisms. However, bear in mind that this will require you to be patient as it takes time. The beauty is, there are simple methods that can help you in your journey.
Accept the Situation
Some people have not accepted the situation they are in, they are always living in denial. This is dangerous to your recovery journey. According to Marsha Linehan, the creator of dialectical behavioral therapy, you have to accept your situation radically and know that there is nothing you can do about it. For instance, if you know something is coming your way and there is nothing you can do about it, you can always plan and prepare for it.
Likewise, if you are living with mental illness, you cannot change this or even get rid of it. However, once you accept it, you can always prepare yourself, plan, and take the right steps towards healing.
Don’t Give in to Emotional Thinking
In this case, you will have to act and even think the opposite of what your emotions are telling you to do. For instance, if you find yourself feeling lonely, angry, or wanting to isolate, all you have to do is go out and find people you can be with. So, instead of isolating yourself, go out and socialize. It is quite hard, but if you practice and manage this, you will see amazing results.
Consider the Five Senses
This is another useful technique. Work on employing “the five senses” technique whereby instead of focusing on one specific thing with all your senses, you instead channel each sense to what you are feeling at that moment. For instance, if a PSTD flashback comes back into your mind, pause, check around, look at the clock, listen to what people near you are talking about, and chew some gum. In other words, put all your senses to work.
This involves taking your stressor or emotion, and thinking about it differently. For instance, it starts to rain and you get stuck somewhere. Instead of thinking negative thoughts of like “this is horrible, I am going to be late, or my life sucks,” change those thoughts to something like this, “yes it’s raining, and there is nothing I can do about it, but I will still get to where I am going.” This technique will change the way you think about tough situations.
Always Be Aware and in Touch With Your Emotions
That is why it’s essential to accept your situation. This is because once you recognize the feeling coming to your mind, you can handle it successfully. If its feelings of anxiousness coming your way, allow yourself to go through that for a minute, then give yourself some time to meditate or even listen to your favorite calming music. In other words, be in touch with your emotions and allow yourself to feel the way you feel for some time and then take action later.
The Bottom Line
You can never control the fact that you have mental illness, even as an activist. No one says it’s going to be easy, but hey, you are a fighter, you will come out of it a winner. Just hang in there and fight for your fellow people, your efforts will never go in vain.
Always remember, as an activist, your work is important. However, you should always ensure that you take care of your own needs and mental health before you serve others.