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Hey there guys!
It’s been a minute! I have been super busy with work and school lately, I’m sorry I haven’t posted!
Things have been okay for me lately. I have really been struggling with the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, thinking about her legacy, and how she fought for women everywhere. If anyone else needs to talk about that I am here.
My piece of advice to you this week is this: do the things you know help.
The other day I was in therapy, and Jaime (my therapist, she’s great, we love her) was just asking about like how things are going, how is it going back to school, etc. I row on the crew team for my school, and I told her how the fall season had been canceled due to staffing problems and the pandemic, and how disappointed I was. I joined the crew team freshman year, and the combination of physical exercise but also being around some really cool people and getting better at interpersonal connection was a great coping mechanism for me. Every day I could forget about school and my anxiety about whatever it was and just row together with my teammates for a few hours. It really stabilizes my mental health, especially like now at the beginning of the year when no one really knows how to do things.
So I said to Jaime, yeah, it’s canceled, and I know my mental health is going to decline because of it.
And she said, wait, hold on. You can’t just passively sit back and let this happen to you. You know that exercise helps you, so why don’t you try to exercise on your own?
I didn’t know what to say. It seems so simple but I had honestly never thought of it like that before. So often, people in recovery for mental health let the things we can’t control control us. I do this all the time. Recently it’s been, oh, there’s a pandemic going on, great excuse to stay under a blanket on my phone instead of calling someone and talking through my feelings. But if you are reading this, I want you to know that you have the power to make things better for yourself.
Yes, we are mentally ill. Yes, there are things in our lives we can’t control. Yes, our mental illnesses affect the way we respond to the things we can’t control. But we can do things to make it better for ourselves. Even if it’s just saying, oh, I know I always feel less depressed when I call this person, so I’m going to call them. I know my compulsions affect me less when I do this exercise I talked about in therapy. I know I feel calmer when I make this tea. We all have coping strategies we don’t use, that we keep in the back of our brains, that we always dismiss. I tell myself that I don’t have enough time. But my mental health is more important than school or homework.
(It was really hard for me to write that out. I don’t know if I believe it yet, but we’re working on it;))
I can make time for something I know makes me feel better, especially if my anxiety has been getting worse lately.
That is so important. You know why? That is you taking care of yourself. And you deserve that.
just for today, do the things you know help, and be kind to yourself 🙂
Vanessa, it’s so good to hear from you! I hope that you’ve been coping with all of the crap that 2020 has served us. The death of RBG was deeply saddening for anyone that knew of her or her legacy, so i’m with you there. I think what you said about doing what we know is good for us is so true! I always forget this myself. Before it suddenly turned cold I was enjoying waking up early and going for a run before it got hot out, but now its freezing outside at the time I would usually run, and I hate the cold even more than I hate the heat. I’ve totally used this as an excuse to stop exercising and running all together even though I know it helps my mental health. In fact, i’ve even started slipping back into some really unhealthy habits like sleeping until noon most days even though I know that will make me feel like craaaaap! Thanks to your reminder, I think I will try and reevaluate my schedule and find a better time for me to exercise that isn’t freezing and start doing something else in the morning to help me get out of bed 🙂
TurningPointCT.org was developed by young people in Connecticut who are in recovery from mental health and substance use issues. We know what it’s like to feel alone, stressed, worried, sad, and angry. We’ve lived through the ups and downs of self-harm, drugs and alcohol, and the struggle to find help.
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