When your mental illness is so bad, you can’t get out of bed, when even the idea of facing the world is terrifying, I want you to remember that you are allowed to practice self care. You are allowed to stay home from school or work (you will not be able to work during a personal emergency, it’ll just make everything you are already dealing with feel worse.) and look after yourself. Here are a few suggestions on how to do so:
If the day is so heavy that even showering and brushing your teeth feels pointless, baby wipes and mouthwash are good options. Just rub baby wipes over your skin to feel at least a little bit fresher, and at least give you a little less anxiety about not showering. Mouthwash will help make you feel fresher for a few minutes.
If you find your hair too greasy, dry shampoo it and pull it back and away from your face. At least it won’t be in your way constantly, upsetting you further about your condition.
If you cannot make plans with anyone, or even go to work or school, tell someone you trust what is going on. Saying you are struggling with your mental health is not something to be ashamed of. Letting people know what is happening in your life will bring them to empathise more with your condition.
If you find yourself so low that the idea of eating makes you feel ill, drink water and keep hydrated. And when your body forces you to recognise it’s hungry, and you can’t even make yourself a sandwich, there is no harm in keeping protein bars, fruit or easy to eat food around the house or your room. Anything is better not eating at all, as not eating at all will contribute to your mental illness.
Collect a tool box of sorts for days like this: the number a person you will let know who you know is helpful to you in the way you need, just in case of emergency. A playlist that is full of your favourite songs that can lift your spirits even slightly. A TV show/movie that has got you through a bad day before simply by distracting you. A book that is so imaginative that you get lost in it, even for a few minutes. Anything that can distract your mind or help, even if it is for a few minutes during a day like this should be part of this toolbox.
If you find yourself unable to sleep because your heart is thumping, your brain won’t shut off, all you can think of is the negative, your whole body feels like it’s one giant ball of unhappiness, find an audio book/something to listen to, a soft soothing one to listen to. Personally, the lovely voices of Stephen Fry or Neil Gaiman always have that soothing effect on me when I’m struggling to sleep, particularly on bad mental health days.
Keep a set of quotes that have personally affected you positively, just for days like this. Whether on your phone or in a notebook. Refer to them and remember how you have persisted over all your bad days so far. Remember that your mental illness does not control you and this is you at war. A war you will always manage to win, no matter how much it convinces you that you will not.