*** Notice: This post does talk about suicidal feelings and self-harm ***
We all get low days right? Days where you can function despite not coping and days where you can’t function at all? Yeah. Those days are the worst. I completely get that. Do you have coping mechanisms that you turn to? I do. However, are they ‘helpful’? Most of mine can be, some of which are dangerous and aren’t. I’m trying hard not to turn to them so I’m finding and trialling new ways each and every day.
What are my low days like?
These honestly do vary for me if I’m honest. They’re best being kind of split up. However, I should state that there are random days where I can fluctuate between the three. Or even be having a good day then get smacked in the face by one of the low moods. (For example my post about my anniversary which can be found here***) When you go from a good time to the worst low, however? That hurts. Loads.
Mild low days
My low days can vary. At their mildest, I can cope and function. I can go about my day whilst my mind is screaming at me. Those types of low days, I can ‘smile’ or ‘laugh’ and get on and do stuff yet have this nagging feeling. That nagging feeling of not being good enough. Of being a problem, a burden and my mind going on and on and on in the background. (Those days… I actually live for a lot of the time because they’re bareable)
Moderate low days
Midground? I’d say they’re days where I have little motivation. Where I spend most of the day hiding away or telling people I’m not doing okay. Those days, I’ll spend a lot of the time alone, in my room or ignoring anything and everything. Either playing games, watching videos or just doing anything that doesn’t require much brainpower. Why? My brain is getting a bit too much. It’s on a loop; A very negative and loud loop. I’m feeling very low, suicidal even. These are the days where I should be reaching out for help but I struggle to most of the time. The thoughts keep getting worse the more I isolate myself and the more I try to fight it, the worse it gets. Some of the time I can still function and carry on, however… it’s not often that I can.
Worst low days
On the worst? Yeah, I’m a mess. I feel like I’m drowning. These are the days, I’m out of action. These days I’m unbearable to be around. My mind has taken over with the negativity. There is no fighting, there is no trying. It’s at its worst and I’m on meltdown or even at worst… crisis mode. I’ll be in bed all day, refusing to do anything or talk to anyone. If I do talk, I’m freaking out. I’m stressed. I’m sharp and angry. I’m no fun to be around. I can sometimes, however, go out and ‘function’ to the point where I’m a massive anxious mess. I snap at toddlers, I’m focused on waiting for my opportunity to hurt myself. These are the days where I 100% need help but will not look for it. These are the days where I’m feeling extremely suicidal and very likely to self-harm and act on those feelings.
Note I said feelings, not thoughts. Suicidal feelings are different from thoughts. On my mild days, I can think suicidal thoughts but it’s highly unlikely I’ll act on them. It’s highly unlikely I’ll self-harm. However, when I feel suicidal… it’s likely that I will self-harm in some form or another and maybe act on those feelings by self-harming to a greater extent.
How did I cope in the past?
NOTICE! – Whilst I’m not advocating self-harm. It needs to be brought up as awareness does need to be made of these behaviours and these negative coping mechanisms.
So how would I cope before? Well, that’s a toughie. It would vary depending on my mood, my access, my money and what not.
My main methods would be overdoses. Not suicidal levels, however, they would be mini-overdoses. (kind of still are if you’ve read any of this blog) I mainly would go to and do this if I was struggling. Sometimes I would be very aware of what I was doing… others I’d feel terrible afterwards and notice why afterwards. This was something that I started doing from a younger age but got worse and more frequent the older I got. Hence why this one is harder to break. It’s become a learned behaviour, a learned coping mechanism. It’s not healthy, It’s not helpful. I wouldn’t recommend anyone to do this because it can have lasting effects and danger on your health in the long run.
When I was younger, I would cut myself however, I managed to break this due to the effort that took. I sometimes still do however constrict blood flow to my hands by tying something around my wrist over and over. This is one that I am trying to curb because it can be pretty dangerous.
There were other coping mechanisms however whilst they are a form of self-harm.. they aren’t as dangerous and I do continue to do them. These are along the lines of biting my thumb as hard as I can or continually biting it. I also twang bobbles, rubber bands or whatever I can on my arm to feel that sharp quick bit of pain.
These were to me, quick fixes to my problems. A way to feel something other than what I felt before. Most of these aren’t safe and should not be used. However, stopping is easier said than done and hence why I’m reaching out for help now.
How do I cope now?
So, now. I don’t know how to explain this. Obviously, I previously mentioned I still do some of my older coping ways and they’re not the safest. I am trying to stop doing them, stop having that autopilot response to my mood and issues. I’ve been trying other ways which are healthy, less dangerous and potentially more helpful. If you haven’t then please do check out my post on crisis plans because that is something that I rely on heavily when I’m at my low mood.
I’ve tried to learn to reach out for help more. Either by socialising or just asking for help which I’ve covered in those previous posts. Yes, whilst I’m at my worst I probably won’t at the moment but I am learning to.
I also try distraction methods. Whilst they take a lot of motivation to try and do and when you’re low you don’t have it. If you have no access to anything else… it’s the most helpful thing that you can do. (I will bring this up in a later post about a temptation I have had and how I managed)
So my distraction methods?
I try to draw. Art is therapeutic and I used to love drawing when I was younger so I’m trying to tap back into that. Even if it’s just drawing, being angry at it being rubbish and scribbling on it, ripping it up. It helps. It lets out frustrations, it releases some of those pent-up negative emotions in a way that doesn’t physically hurt you.
I try to listen to music. I’ve recently found whilst doing this blog that youtube has these amazing chill playlists. (I knew about dubstep, nightcore, rock, pop etc) However, there are these amazing 1-hour chill playlists and they do help clear your mind. They’re very calming, very soft and I’ve actually found a sincere admiration for the indie folk genre because of this. If that’s not your thing, then yeah… get some angry rock, metal or whatever you fancy on. (I will be doing a post about music and mood later on too so stay tuned!)
I love games. I can’t get enough of gaming when I’m having a good day. I’ve been a massive gamer since I was a young child. I guess it brings me back to positive childhood memories of gaming on the PC with my dad and receiving an N64 from the local church pastor. (I’ll talk about this in a later positivity post) I enjoy gaming and if you’re a pc gamer. Steam has so many games and there is the Christmas sale due this year which I’m excited for.
My favourite game at the moment which is calming, beautifully designed with a wonderful story is Night in the woods. It’s a game actually kind of with a theme of mental illness. I’ll do a proper post on this but if you enjoy games and need a distraction. Get this game, or do what I did for ages and watch videos of it on youtube. Jacksepticeye actually did a really good series on it. I’ll also advise playing To The Moon and Finding Paradise as they are amazing games and the story brought me to tears!
I’ll write if you haven’t noticed. I enjoy writing. I used to have a huge passion and I find it is a good distraction. Either if I’m writing negatively into my journal or writing a positive helpful post on this blog then I’m being distracted. I’m focused. What you write doesn’t have to be amazing. Lists, random words… Anything. You could even do me and just write swear words constantly into a notebook and feel a little less pent up. It helps. It’s something.
I even read and you can check out some of my favourite about mental health in my resources page. However, I do read manga books. I also have a favourite book from when I was younger and because it’s got so many short stories it’s easy to pick up and put down. Its called Nanotales by Niv Navoth. I was obsessed with this when I found out about it and kind of got my dad to buy me it. I’ve had it ever since. The stories are about 500 words each and cover so many different topics so it’s a great quick read through if you need that short distraction.
I do watch videos as a distraction. They can be anything really. Gaming videos, silly animations, vines, try not to laugh or whatever. However, I do honestly have a go-to video when I’m low which no matter how I’m feeling. What type of day it is… it makes me laugh without fail. I don’t know if it’s how badly translated the box is or if it’s how Ashens breaks down laughing but something always tickles me and I’ve watched this video hundreds of times now. That video is here and I advise you to take a look and bookmark it because it’s hilarious.
Other methods I use are pretty much-getting someone to go out with me just to get out of I’m feeling trapped or am desperate to get out because that’s what my mind wants. I’ll spend an entire day in bed on my phone… Whilst it’s not productive. It’s chilling and relaxing. I vary depending literally on how bad of a low day I’m having or if I have to get stuff done that day.
I probably have tried many other things but they haven’t worked so I’m not remembering right now.
No matter how you’re feeling. It does pass. Everything passes. It won’t feel like it, it never does but it will pass. If you’re going to try and cope, don’t do an old/current me with the unhealthy methods. I implore you to try and find something productive, something helpful that won’t hurt you like my newer coping methods.
They may sound silly, they may be hard but if you keep at it. You’ll soon turn to them as an autopilot response to your low mood. I’m not saying they’re easy to do or it will click straight away. I’m struggling but I’m trying and some of them are slowly helping. It’s all in the name of recovery and coping in a better way. You do need to be proactive in your recovery and it takes an effort to overcome what you’re going through. However, it will be very worth it in the long run.
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