This post is perhaps a little depressing so as an antidote listen to the music while reading.
Explaining the symptoms of nervous illness and adjustment reaction to others can be difficult for me. I like to work in metaphors so the best description of the phase before a full blown illness, the phase when I start to slip, is a thought tornado. Sometimes the tornado can be good thoughts which turn bad other times the thoughts can be bad thoughts turning worse. It starts like the mini whirlwind in the video above. The thoughts circle a little, maybe something like I wake up in the morning , I feel tired, the mini tornado of negative thinking begins:
oh god its the morning already
I would like more rest,
I cant get a rest,
I never get to do what I want,
why wont other people let me rest,
omg this is going to go on forever,
im too tired to get out of bed,
oh god i have to get the kids up,
why cant they get themselves up,
i dont have that report finished what if there is a surprise meeting called a day early ,
what will i do,
they wont let me take a day off if they are cross with me,
oh god there goes the radio,
why is there so much bad news on the radio,
no wonder i am tired.
Wow I am even feeling worn out just writing the example of the start of the tornado. The thoughts will continue to whirl around and around, usually repeating themselves. If they go unchecked they will turn into a full blown tornado wiping out all other thoughts. The thing is many people have those thoughts, and those negative thoughts just amplify the depressing feeling if I am already on the way down. So much so that the tornado only collects unhelpful thoughts. Then subconscious kicks in then, helping to find more and more unhelpful thoughts, sometimes creating another mini tornado gathering up all the evidence to support the negative thoughts. By the time I get put of bed I am even more tired. Before the full blown illness I had about three negative thoughts circling all day every day, around and around and around. There was room for little else, nothing could shift the thoughts, so much so that I thought the only way to escape those thoughts was to end my own life. I was lucky that I did not.
Now that I am well I have many tools to help me. I still get days that start with the negative thoughts, some new mini tornado trying to find other negative thoughts to turn it into a full blown storm. Now I have the power and knowledge to stop them. In December the mini tornadoes started again mostly because I was not paying attention to my basic needs. Total hibernation over Christmas gave me the headspace and the break I needed to quieten my mind and refocus. Holidays are not a luxury but a necessity for people like me, rest is another essential, as is total removal for the over arousing stimuli of people and parties, avoiding critical people while in a low mood. There are so many things I never gave my self permission to do while I was going down into the spiral of despair.
And now for the solution I found to subdue the negative thinking, breaking the thought cycle by taking action. One of my new years resolutions: Take action. Do something physical, take action on one of the worrying thoughts before you try to rationaise the thought. Turn off the depressing radio station and put on some happy music, jump right out of bed, scream loudly( only if alone otherwise people do wonder if you are truly insane) sing a song. Set yourself up of success by preparing a Wellness Recovery Action Plan, and keep it by the bed or computer in wherever you will easily find it, even your handbag (or man bag if you dont have a handbag), in the glove compartment in the car. the negative thought cycle is profoundly damaging to the psychologically fragile individual. The best solution for me is to tell someone that I am having worrying thoughts, no matter how silly you think your worrying thoughts are someone else will help you to put them into perspective.
I trained my 11 year old to tell me if she is starting to think negatively. She beings by saying I have a worrying thought, I help her put the thought into context. Now she can share her negative thoughts with other adults she feels safe with and can put them into context.
Bottling up all those bad thoughts is unhealthy and in my view the source of so much of our suicide epidemic in this country. I encourage you all to express those worrying thoughts to help dispel them from your mind and put them in context. Share them on a blog and get them out of your head.
So today be aware of how your thoughts affect your feelings and how your actions affect your feelings. As they say in Recovery, feelings are not facts, beliefs can be changed. Let your actions be a positive influence on your thoughts and feelings.
will spell check later apologies for not doing before posting