Y’all Are Crazy, and That’s Okay

Having a mental illness is a lonely thing.

Like most people, we want at least someone with whom we can talk. We want a friend to cry with, or even laugh with. We need a deep connection with another human, to feel loved and validated.

Unfortunately, we have a few things that get in the way of socializing.

Many of us are scared. We have trust issues. When we feel hurt, we feel very deeply and wish to avoid feeling that way again. Often, we’ve had a bad experience of someone breaking a promise or shying away when we shared how we think. Heck, a lot of us have a bonafide diagnosis from a doctor that we have social anxieties.

Besides the hurt and fear, we avoid people for their own benefit. We tell ourselves that we are flawed and unsafe. We justify our anti-social behavior with statements like, “I know I’m a downer,” “No ones talks to me at parties. They can see, in my face, that I’m no fun,” and “If they really wanted to be around me, they’d talk to me.”

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Those reasons and that voice are hard to work with, but our health and mental stability need to fight against them. I mean, did you know that human connections were rated the most important thing in a happy life?

So stop beating yourself up. Seriously. I’ll tell you why:

  • Most people are some level of crazy. They may not be certified, but they have issues. I can’t tell you how many people I talk with who have experienced some angle of what I have, if not the whole enchilada.
  • Even though you are crazy, what are you gonna do about it? I’ve tried starting over, but the person that is me always shines through. I am what I have to work with and I accept that.
  • Crazy people have options, like crazy-people doctors and crazy-people medications and crazy-people blogs. There are even …crazy people groups that meet and talk crazy together. It’s a blast.
  • You are you, and are a work in progress. Just think: are you still crawling around and stuffing car keys in your mouth? NO! You did that as a baby, silly. Now you are older and know better. You are knowing better every day.
  • The future will be better. The future will be even betterer if you keep moving forward -even if all you can manage is a shuffle.
  • If all else fails, there is chocolate.
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I have a few friends. Of those, a few have mental health challenges. Some struggle with depression and social anxiety like I do. One has panic attacks. Another is schizophrenic. A mutual acquaintance is bipolar.

Sometimes when I try to plan a get-together, a friend flakes and doesn’t show up. Sometimes I have a terrible week and have to cancel on one of them. Since we are all in this not-sea-worthy-at-all boat together, however, we get it. If not, we talk about it. We hug. We pull out the chocolate.

I need people. I need understanding. I need connection. So do you. Plus, your challenges and perspectives mean that you are more understanding and empathetic than other people.

I mean, we may all be crazy, but that’s okay. We’re as human as the next person and our needs are just as valid.

You are worth it. I promise.

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Photo Credits:
Sayo Garcia
Ethan Sykes
Anita Austvika

How Depression Feels

After the successful results of our last how-to article, “Depression for Dummies,” I felt a continuation of similar advice might be helpful. I may have decided this after yet another conversation with my loving, wonderful, clueless husband.

Thing is, non-crazies do not understand how we think. They are not living inside us, feeling the things we feel or thinking what we think or assuming what we assume after someone says something. They are inside them, usually feeling pretty darn good.

Lucky.

So, drag that fortunate spouse, significant other, friend, boss, or coworker over here. I’m going to teach them what it feels like to be depressed.

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First, class, you need to get really uncomfortable. Don’t shower and don’t brush your teeth for five days. At least. On top of that, I’m going to need you to roll around in some mud and let it harden in uncomfortable places. Finally, put on some clothes that do not fit right and make you think you look like a muddy, fat elephant who hasn’t visited the watering hole in five days.

Did you do all that? Good! Now onto Step Two:

During or after your five days dirtying the outside, I want you to work on the inside. Eat foods that are bad for you like candy, soda pop, Taco Bell, and Lima beans. I don’t want to go too far, so I’m not going to encourage anything harder. Simply eating poorly ought to do it.

Are you with me so far? Excellent.

Next, you need to contract some kind of virus. No one wants you actually dying, so aim for a bad cough or for that cold that’s going around.

Feeling bad yet? You only think you are.

Lastly, I want you to sit in front of a mirror and tell yourself that you are ugly. You eat like a pig. You are sick. On top of all that, you are worthless and no one likes you.

Are you feeling something now? Something sad? Congratulations! -because you have touched the surface of the ongoing mindset that is Depression. Whenever you want to say something ‘helpful’ in the future like, “This will pass,” “You have great potential; why don’t you use it?,” or “Why would you feel depressed?,” remember what all of this felt like. Maybe you’ll say a more encouraging, empathetic phrase, instead.

Maybe you’ll just listen, and give the depressed person some chocolate.

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Now, I’m not heartless enough to leave anyone down as far as we went, so you can’t leave until we reverse everything we did today. In fact, all of you people hiding in your closets and corners feeling depressed: come over here and do it, too.

First, I want you to get up, take off the uncomfortable clothes that make you feel fat and ugly, and go take the most awesome and refreshing shower you’ve ever experienced. Feel the warm water stimulate your happy nerves as you watch muddy elephant runoff slide down the drain.

Feeling somewhat better? Keep going.

Next, I want you to make the healthiest food that you enjoy and eat it. I’d go for an excellent, nutritious sandwich or shake. Whatever you choose ought to have whole foods, a few food groups, and definitely vegetables.
Brush your teeth afterwards and revel in the minty fresh taste of your smiling mouth.

You’re still with me, right? It gets better:

Go visit a doctor or take some over-the-counter medications to help with your cold symptoms. I really am sorry I recommended that you contract one; they’re the worst. Rest and breathing exercises help as well.

Did you do all of the steps so far? We’re nearly finished!

Get back over to your mirror and sit down. With a nice amount of natural light around, I want you to apologize for saying nasty things. I want you to say the following, instead: “I am good enough; I am smart enough; and doggone it, people like me for me.” Pull up some good Cognitive Behavioral Therapy programs on your phone and run through a few.

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I’d say you should feel right as rain about now, but I’m more honest than that. If you followed all of the recommended steps then I am certain you feel a lot better, but I am also certain that you remember how you felt when you were depressed.

That’s because, during Depression, we tell ourselves some pretty damaging things; things that don’t wash down a drain or disappear when we turn on the light.

But they do diminish. Some days, they almost disappear. With the support of our (now) less-clueless friends and significant others, you will get better. And that’s worth fighting for.

 

Photo Credits:
Miguel Henriques
Jordane Mathieu

Whelmed.

“I be high, then I be low.”-Kid Kudi

But seriously, this is how my life used to be. Before I sought out help to maintain my moods and take control of my life, I was constantly told that this is a normal reaction to things that happen in life. I believed that for so long because my life was in constant chaos. I mean, I guess I still have a lot of chaos but I am in more control now. I used to have these reactions to situations that everyone has play out in their minds. I would go from zero to one hundred in the blink of an eye.

What they don’t tell you is that you will plateau. You level out on mood stabilizers and I cannot describe it in any other way but nothingness. I believe that we (those with mood disorders) are so used to feeling an extreme that we lose our sense of being okay. It is almost as if I am looking for the next big dip or rise.

I guess I just need to get that thought out there. Now that I write it, it seems silly or pointless. When I started writing my blog I thought that it would be a place for me to reason with myself and my emotions. A healthy outlet to express what I am feeling and maybe find others who can validate what I am feeling because everything about getting better is new and foreign.

Now I feel that there may be people out there who are searching for a raw look into what those with mood disorders think and feel during “recovery”. As I write this I took time to look up “plateau bipolar” and found a rather interesting article describing the feeling as “whelmed“. LOL…literally LOL. I love that. It is perfect in describing that I am not overwhelmed or underwhelmed. I have hit a spot where my medication is adjusted just right (crosses fingers) and although I know that the appointments and therapy are necessary, I just don’t want to go because it seems like a chore now.

We all have things that we must do, but don’t realize the importance of until we stop. Brushing our teeth is a great one. We just do it and one day we might fall asleep on the couch without brushing before bed and wake up with a very REAL difference. My difference would be late night writing of lists and effortlessly running on 4 hours of sleep until my body gives out and I fall into a heap of exhaustive tears.

tomato tamoto though amirite?

I never mean to discount what all people feel. That is the best part about the internet. There is always someone out there living a different life that can relate on some level. Regardless if they have an identical illness or lead a similar life they can find a way to relate to that feeling you get.

I don’t wish that anyone has this feeling, but if you do I would love to know if you have anything that makes you feel better in the moment. For me, it is connecting with all of you beautifully minded people.

Severely Mis-Diagnosed

Today I learnt for the first time in my entire life that I have a Severe Mental Disorder. SMD for short.  SMD for those in the know.  Because it usually isn’t the person with the mental illness that ticks the SMD box.  No.  It’s um, talk to you like a five year old, ascribed by someone else ticks the box.  You see, I found out that I had a SMD because I was looking at ways in which mental illness is assessed and or “discovered” (I personally prefer experience, since it is so, so, so much that.  Experience.   Bucket loads of emotional experience many of us would prefer to be without).

My conclusion is that people with mental illness are assessed to be: a) you can go home but we gonna send you a supportive text now and then, b) stay in the ward until your lithium kicks in (and you are less likely to harm yourself or others, or all of the above) and my personal favourite: c) do not pass begin, do not collect your money, go straight to and stay in psychiatric jail. And I the most get stuck on the somebody else classifies you as A, B or C and will / won’t wreck the rest of your entire life.  Someone else says SMD – and all of a sudden you feel like you have a non-sexually transmitted life-threatening infection and your mind herpes is sticking out for everyone to see.  Yes, they SMD’d me and initially, I needed to bake and cook the entire contents of my fridge, and not work, and feel stressed about that, and everything else I may have forgotten because well severe.   But I have something to say.  And I hope the SMD box tickers hear me loud and clear.

When you ask me to tick a list of questions about how well I am functioning when I’m actually not, it’s unsurprising that “washing” and “toothbrushing” are totally trumped (excuse the pun) by sloth like motion, chain smoking and living my best, depressed life.  During said life, I practice food network hopping, extended sleep therapy until one of my children reminds me that they haven’t eaten and well, severe and hungry should never be in the same sentence.  I also have to tell you that you have no diagnosis or symptomatic description of the bravery it takes to get up each day, the severe weight of your bones, blood and limbs it seems that you drag yourself through to make a living for your family.  For walking through oceans of anxiety, but still appearing to wear some slips off me swimsuit that doesn’t exist.  No.  Don’t you dare tick my SMD box.  Because I am Seriously Mad about this Disorder you’ve given me.

Because me like many others in our Continent live with their SMD’s.  They don’t want to, but know no alternative, no reach to care, no reach to medicine, no reach to counselling.  They’re – we are – often mis-treated in far flung communities where even the littlest bit of extra is seen as severe.  Chained even.  Because in my experience, when others decide who or what you are, how disabled or not you are – you either end up believing it yourself (worst) or they continue to SMD you – no matter what (not nice either).  Instead today my friends, I say stand up.  Stand up and be proud of who you are – and never allow a clinical assessment to define how good or bad your life is.  I’ll be SMD’d if I do.  Be part of those who support us as opposed to those who don’t.  I am 4 M’s Bipolar Mom.

What’s the Make, Model, and Year of Your Mental Health Struggle?

Hi, I’m Chelsea. I drive a minivan.

I didn’t want to drive a minivan. When people learn that I do drive one, they start assuming other things about me. They also assume: I drive slow, am distracted, have no taste in vehicles, have children, will make a bad decision whilst driving because I’m probably turned around yelling at said children, and that I shop at Costco every day.

Now…. some of those things might be true. But, guess what? am not the minivan. I just drive it. am a person. My name is Chelsea. I am not slow, distracted, tasteless, children, bad decisions, or Costco. I am a human and I am also worthwhile.

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When you go out into the world, what sort of vehicle do you drive? Van? Jeep? Truck? Bicycle? Bus? Sedan? Train?

Are you large, difficult to turn, and roomy like that van? Are you fun outside but hard on the joints over speedbumps like a Jeep? How about pushy and a bit too high off the ground like a truck? Maybe you can’t really afford much in life or are environmentally conscious like a bicycle.

Our mental health struggles are our vehicles.

Say that you go out to the workplace after a difficult morning, only to snap at someone because they echoed a mean thought your Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder chugged and chugged and chugged. That wasn’t you, though. That was the OCD you have to take to work.

What about the night that Depression was your ride? That dark interior, battered trim, and iffy transmission was only how you got to the party, not who came inside.

And let’s not forget the lunchtime meeting you had with Anxiety. Your mechanic still shakes his head over the number of ‘strange noises’ you swear it kept making, the sudden stops, and its refusal to even start when you were at a traffic light.

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Thinking about mental illness as a vehicle might make you say, “Well, then, why can’t we just get another car?” Money, mostly. Circumstance. What your insurance will cover. What you need for your size of family, parking space, parking expenses, and (again) budget.

That’s not to say you’re stuck forever in your quirky transport, nor that you can’t address some of its more-limiting issues. In fact, you really need to address them.

-If you are repeatedly blocked from getting the engine to even start

-If you are constantly arriving late

-If you cannot seem to ever get out of the seatbelt when necessary

It’s time to see a mechanic -er, a therapist or mental health doctor of some sort.

No matter the age or condition of the vehicle, they can always help. No, your car will not be the same as when you first unknowingly signed that crappy contract and drove it home -but, do you want it to be?

And, sometimes, you do get a different ride. Sometimes you have no choice. Sometimes it’s better, sometimes worse. But, the car you drive is still not you.

You are you. Most importantly, you are always the driver. Never forget that.

Photo credit:
Rodolfo Mari
Pixabay
James Sullivan

Makeup Saved My Life

Please don’t judge me for the title of my post, hear me out before you think of me as someone who is “fake” or “self-absorbed.”

In my life, I have always enjoyed wearing makeup. I never thought I did a great job at it, but I admired others who had a true talent for it.

I fell into a severe depression in 2016 where I could barely get out of bed, was self-harming and was suicidal. At this time I was seeing my therapist twice a week and starting my 6-month long journey to finding the right antidepressant for me.

I’m not sure how I stumbled upon the beauty community on YouTube, but once I did, I was completely sucked in. As I watched the makeup tutorial after foundation review after getting ready with me videos, I was able to forget the pain. For the moments I was watching the videos, I wasn’t consumed by suicidal thoughts that plagued me day in and day out.

Watching women like KathleenLights, Tati Westbrook and Emilynoel88 made me feel like they were my friends and that they were helping me through this horrible part of my life. I could count on them to make me feel better when nobody else could.

Eventually, I started buying lots of makeup that they recommended. My makeup collection grew from a small bag of products to a small pond of them. I began practicing their techniques which helped me express myself in a new way. When I was focused on recreating a look, I could go into my zone and be safe.

At the time I was working for a newspaper so I asked if I could have my own makeup column. I wrote Megan Does Makeup for a year and I loved it! I started an Instagram account, @megandoesmakeupxo, to go with it and everything, it was (and still is) great for my mental health to have that creative outlet.

It’s 2018 now, and I have come so far in my mental health journey. Makeup is still an amazing escape for me when I’m feeling depressed or anxious. I am so incredibly thankful that I stumbled upon whatever video first pulled me into the beauty community.

See, I’m not so shallow, am I? 😉

Stabilize

I sat in the waiting room clutching papers in my hand. For two weeks I had prepared to tell my doctor that I finally began seeing a therapist and that the diagnosis from her standpoint was leaning towards bipolar disorder. Awkwardly I gathered my things together once my name was called and followed the nurse for blood pressure and weight checks. Weighing in at 210 pounds threw me off guard at first, but I suppose that’s what happens when you stop drinking every day.

The nurse handed me the same GAD checklist that gets filled out each visit. I hadn’t seen my doctor in a little over a month so my numbers were up higher than in previous visits. As I would fill out “More than half the days”, I could feel that I was getting beside myself again. I should’ve been better than this. I should’ve been normal.

The doctor came in the room almost as quickly as the nurse left it. Before I could even allow the “hello” to escape her lips, the paperwork was extended in her direction and I told her I had gone to a therapist. “We think I may have bipolar disorder. I’m not throwing chairs or anything like that but after reading off the symptoms, a lot of things make a lot of sense. The high sex drive, the huge interest in hobbies only to drop them within a week or so, the days of not being able to make myself get off of the couch, my lack of focus and excess of indecision, it’s all here and then some.”, I said while pointing at the bipolar information sheet.

“Well I had my suspicions, but getting a second opinion from a therapist definitely solidifies a treatment option. Let’s try weaning off of one of your antidepressants and adding a mood stabilizer.”, she said.

I want to be clear by saying that I’m not glad that I am on another medication, but I am glad that I may be one step closer to finding a way to live life without my life getting in the way of… Well… My life. The problem I have with my mental health is that I wake up with either no motivation to get anything done, or so much motivation that I run errands and still not get anything done. I can have a great day until a derogatory comment is made to either me or a friend, and it sends my mood into a sullen, sarcastic, and depressing cloud for either hours or the rest of the day. I feel as though I have never had any control over my sensitivity or emotions, even as a child.

It has been four days since I have begun the process to stabilize. The new medicine I am trying is called Topiramate and if it’s anything like my Lexapro, it probably is something that will take time for my body to chemically register before a difference is noticed. Honestly, the biggest side effects I feel today are lethargy and extreme dizziness. It is as if I have hit the bottle hard enough to have woken up drunk and held onto it. This medicine is also used to treat seizures as well as migraines, so I feel that it plays with a different part of the mind than I am used to, so hopefully a change will come soon. According to other articles, it takes around five to six days for the side effects to dissipate.

This is only the beginning of this journey, and I write to keep you in the loop about this process in case any of you ever go through the same thing. If you feel as though you need help with mental health please reach out to someone. You are never alone. I am available for contact via social media if anyone ever needs an ear to listen. You can find my contact information as well as my other blog posts at www.outtodry.blog.

Take care everyone!

Introduction

If you have ever ridden a roller coaster, you understand the excitement and fear that courses through your mind and body as you burst through the track. You experience such an intense jolt of so many emotions as your breath is stolen from falling and you only have enough time to take another breath as you ascend. In a lot of ways, bipolar disorder seems to share many similarities. It seems to change a person drastically in mere moments and can even span episodes for days at a time. You never know how you will feel when you wake up in the morning. You never know what will happen to send you spiraling into a depressive episode. I often like to call it a “Jekyll and Hyde” effect in my personal blog.

I am Shelton Fisher and recently I have been given the privilege to be a contributing writer for The Bipolar Writer. I am a 25 year old with a full time job, an amazing wife, and the two best dogs in the world. I used to be a decent musician and writing has become a passion of mine. Amid the wonderful things that life has provided for me, I have mental health issues that fight me tooth and nail on a regular basis. Anxiety has been a familiar part of my life since I was a child, but alcoholism and panic attacks made me realize that I needed to finally address these problem medically. In September of last year I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and began a regimen of serotonin inhibitors and recently I have began seeing a therapist. After several sessions addressing my childhood behaviors and my current behaviors, we have discussed that I may be bipolar and the symptoms honestly surprised me.

As I continue the journey into my mental health to confirm a diagnosis and discover how to live a better life, I want to include you through personal stories, free verse poetry, and the occasional informative post. I am not a professional by any means, but I am living proof that mental health is a war to be won. If you have ever been afraid to speak, afraid to make a move, lost motivation and hope, hurt yourself because you couldn’t find the right words or felt trapped inside your body, screamed at the top of your lungs with tears rolling down your boiling red cheeks, self medicated with alcohol or drugs, fallen into depression for no apparent reason, or just want to know how I am handling things, my posts are for you.

You Have to Pull Yourself Out of Your Darkness and Here’s How

Mental illness – whether it is depression, anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, or any disorders thereof, officially diagnosed or not – create darkness. I used to picture and liken this darkness to the bottom of a barrel, where you can’t go deeper, and you know it, but you can’t climb back out, and you don’t want to. That last part – climbing back out – is where I believe mental illness really defines itself. All of us, at some point or another, have metaphorically landed at the bottom of our barrel. But what draws the line in the sand between darkness and just a bad night is the climb up; and through my own experience and recounted stories of others, I’ve discovered that climbing back out – even if you can see a speck of light above – takes more energy, effort, and willpower than the person has or is willing and able to give. And this reiterates the point – we have to want to climb out; and when we don’t, that darkness becomes a frightening moment for a very long time.

We’ve heard the cliche – you have to want to help yourself. Truer words have not been spoken, and I stand by this mantra with full support. But I don’t think that using this as motivation or advice is enough. Yes, you have to want to help yourself, because relying on others to help lift you up, if all you want to do is fall, is hopeless. No one wins in that situation. But that cliche is simply the intention. It’s what open the floodgates and lights that proverbial fire under your ass that says yes go! It’s time to climb the hell out of this thing! But that cliche is not how we treat our mental illness, and I think one of the biggest challenges in what we face is figuring out how to start the climb at all. And once we start, it’s pushing ourselves to keep going.

The climb up is not a race; it is not even a marathon

It’s work. It’s incredible, difficult, manual, mental labor in the Arizona summer heat. It’s your Mount Everest on steroids, and all you have is a walking stick, some days. And while that may carry zero inspiration as you read this, what I’m saying is meant to give you perspective. Most importantly, it’s meant to give you reality. Diving into our psyches and unleashing anything and everything that we’ve stuffed down there is a journey from which we don’t just stroll back into easy-going living. Dealing with mental illness on any given day is a struggle that no writer ought to put into words, nor try, because those words won’t be enough.

What I’ve learned from my own experience is that climbing back out of my darkness is a one-step process. Every single day, I take a step. Some days, it’s a step up, and I can joyfully laugh and toss any caution to the wind and truly live in the moment with family, friends, and my cat. There aren’t weights pulling me down into the same mental alley where I get mugged and punched by depression and loneliness. Other days, it’s a step down from where I was the day before, and I can feel my heart sink because I was so much closer to the top. But that’s the rhythm of this – the ebb and flow of life are the same for everyone, but with mental illness, that ebb and flow can either take you one wave closer to the shore or to the rocks.

The climb up is a challenge we take on every single day. There are no breaks, and there are no days off. And if you thought that this article up until now has been a wretched downer, please stay with me. You are worth the work. There’s not going to be a single person at the bottom of your barrel with you, and that’s by design. You have to do this. You have to put one foot in front of the other every single moment and believe that you are handling your life. With your action, whether it kicks you down or lifts you up, you are facing your darkness and handling it. Some days, you win. Other days, you learn. There is no loss. Your mental illness does not define the core of who you are, and it most certainly does not change what you’re meant to do – and we’re all here for something.

You have to pull yourself out of your darkness, and it will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, but it will be the greatest and the single most profound thing you’ve ever done. How you do it is by taking the first step, and then always one more. Smile when you’ve done it, and celebrate these feats. If you get knocked down, pause and learn from it. Don’t ask why can’t I do this? Instead, ask what did this teach me? And then keep going. Always keep going.

We are strong enough, but first, we have to decide to be

At the bottom of my own barrel, I remember sitting and waiting for a sign. I wanted to receive something divine that would guarantee that everything would eventually work out and that I would be lifted up to my own light on the wings of simple and thoughtful prayer. And I sat at the bottom of that musty barrel for what seemed an eternity; because signs don’t work that way.

What my depression taught me, in the crudest of ways, was that I had the choice of trudging through mud and mire to climb out of my darkness, or continue sitting, praying, and wishing to be air-lifted out. And even when I fell down, worn out and pissed, the alternative to staying in that solace was reminder enough to make me try again. At the end of the day, that’s the proverbial fire – try again. There are no expectations that our climb needs to be done in one day; we falsely create that goal in our head, pinning our very selves up against the wall. Don’t. Lay down these presumptive ideals that our healing is on an expressway path to eradication. The path is anything but short, but it’s there. It exists. And it’s for our taking.

Try again. And always keep going.

Pulling ourselves out of our darkness does not make the darkness go away. It makes us strong enough to decide that we don’t need to live in it.

Sleep Hygiene – Top Ten Sleep Tips

Top Ten Sleep Hygiene Tips

My therapist gave me this great sheet of sleeping tips that will help with my sleep hygiene. Insomnia is always an issue in my life, so I thought today I’d share each one of these tips and if any have helped me. These tips hep added one to two hours a day of sleep. My sleep issues will never be perfect but sleep is the first step in self-care.

If you have time please look my latest post.

CBT – Mood Induction with Music

#10 – Keep your bedroom dark.

#9 – Get lots of natural light in the morning

This one is a good one. I went out and bought myself a lightbox to help in the cloudy coastal weather we often get where I am from, but going for a walk helps as well. I use my light box even in good weather for 30-45 minutes a day. It varies for each doctor recommendation. I never realized how important natural light is to mental health and sleep.

#8 – Don’t work on your computer late at night, or if you do get an application like “flux” to minimize the amount of bright light you’re exposed to.

This is a tough one for me. I always work the best writing late at night on my laptop, tablet, and even my phone (especially in bed). Often a great idea will come to me while I am laying down and I naturally grab my phone and making notes on my thoughts. I thought a great alternative could be making my journal more accessible or maybe a small pad of paper and a pen.

#7 – Don’t nap during the day.

This is an easy one for me to do. I barely can get to sleep at night, so it’s impossible during the day.

#6 – No Caffeine 3 hours or more after wake-up time.

This is the most unfair one in my opinion and the one that I regularly break. To compromise I made a promise to my therapist for no coffee after 12pm. For the most part, I stick to this plan and it has worked well.

#5 – Only use your bed for sleeping or romantic activities

More times than not at night I find myself in bed writing, and out these tips, this has been the hardest to give up in my life. I write so much better at night. I always have my phone at arms reach writing notes for chapters I will be writing the next day or ideas for my next blog post. I once started writing a chapter in a piece I was writing in at the start of my “sleep schedule,” only to find out it was 4am when I stopped.

#4 – Figure out if you’re a night person or a day person.

For this one, they recommend figuring it out and making a sleep schedule. I have learned that I am a night person who can’t sleep during the day. I must do my best at night to get as much sleep as possible.

#3 – Get a relaxation routine before bed.

The list says that this varies from person to person. Meditation? Taking a bath? Listen to easy listening music or a podcast? This is really what works for you, which I still struggle because writing relaxes me and they recommend not to have a bright screen in bed.

#2 – If you can’t sleep after 15 to 30 minutes get out of bed and do something relaxing.

#1 – Don’t drink alcohol in the evening.

The last one is easy for me. I have been working on these tips to better my sleep hygiene but it’s a work in progress. Let me know if any of these tips help, or if you have others to add!

J.E. Skye

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoHernan Sanchez