I thought I’d take some time to remind everyone about some good mental health practice tools. Good mental and physical health goes together, so if things are falling off the top of your overloaded bundle, focus on the basics. Drink water and camomile tea, get plenty of sleep, eat some fruit and vegetables, breathe deeply, get some exercise. Treating yourself well is good for your self esteem, and it provides you with a basic foundation for managing stress. Basic self care is also one of the least mortifying mental health initiatives I have ever undergone.
Breathing slowly and deeply remembering to fully exhale is good for stress-related asthma and panic attacks. When you are experiencing racing thoughts, slow down and talk to yourself – is the most catastrophic and dire answer the most likely? Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is handy for the racing-panic-attack-thought-patterns and also the helpless-hopeless-depressive-thoughts, and when you learn how to do it well, it is incredibly empowering to be able to pull yourself out of the blue funk or the anxiety horrors. For clinical depression, the two most statistically useful things to do are to get exercise and to increase social contact. Grab a friend for a brisk walk. Borrow a dog and walk him/ her regularly - walking a dog is a great way to become instantly popular.
Some books that may be useful: You Can Beat Depression: A Guide to Prevention & Recovery by Dr John Preston, and for those of you going through yucky break ups, its Sex And The City style chick focused and assumes heterosexuality, however, take from it what you can: It's Called a Breakup Because It's Broken by Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt. Oh, and I keep hearing good things about MoodGym.
Oh, and if you need to, get on meds (anti-depressants, or others), if you are still high and mighty about using anti-depressants, consider that myself and many others I know wouldn’t be here to preach to you if it weren’t for our meds….. and if you are using anti-depressant medication (or are just struggling with depression in general) please cut down on the amount of alcohol or other depressants you are using to give yourself the best possible chance of recovery.
Oh, and everyone needs to go and get a copy of Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws by Kate Bornstein. Because Kate is completely fucking fabulous, that’s why. What, you need another reason? Well here:
I’ve written this book to help you stay alive because I think the world needs more kind people in it, no matter who or what they are, or do. We’re healthier because of our outsiders and outlaws and freaks and queers and sinners. I fall neatly into all of those categories, so it’s no big deal to me if you do, or don’t. I’ve had a lot of reasons to kill myself, and a lot of time to do it in, and I stayed alive by doing things that many consider to be immoral or illegal. I’m glad I did it, because I’ve really enjoyed writing this book. This may be a scary time for you, and if that’s so, I hope I can help you find your courage again. If we meet some day, let me know what worked. —from Hello, Cruel World by Kate Bornstein