When I was new to eating disorder recovery, I thought it would dominate my life. I thought about it all the time. I was in constant fear that I'd somehow fail, and fall back into the grips of the disease, and lose sight of why I was trying so hard to get better in the first place. Everything I read about eating disorder recovery made it seem like it was a lifelong, grueling, exhausting battle. It turns out that statement was only partially correct. Yes, eating disorder recovery is a lifelong process, but it is not a process that will dominate your life.
A few nights ago, I used a crisis text line for the first time. I had no idea what to expect; I just knew I was in too dark of a place to really manage it on my own anymore. So I reached out, and I'm really glad I did. (Note: This post has a trigger warning.)
If you struggle with self-harm, you probably don’t sleep very well. Sleeping too much or not enough often travels with emotional pain. However, poor sleep habits (known as sleep hygiene) can be detrimental to our mental health. It can increase our self-harm urges or lead to other serious problems, so practicing good sleeping habits is key to recovery.
Laura A. Barton
Talking isn't enough to break mental health stigma, which I think may be a hard pill to swallow. I know how impactful conversation and general mental health awareness efforts can be on an interpersonal level, and I don't mean to say those things aren't important. However, we need to understand that they're not enough to break mental health stigma entirely, and here's why.
Coping with depression is a daily battle. Depression recovery can take years, and there is no such thing as a "quick fix." There are, however, things you can do to bring rapid relief in times of stress, anxiety, and panic attacks. For me, that relief has come in the form of autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) — a strange online phenomenon that has been a source of comfort and relaxation for millions since the mid-2000s, even though most people have no idea what it is.
Talking is something that has never failed to help me positively navigate my depression. Empathetic conversations with friends are soothing to me in moments of intense sadness related to my depression. Not all conversations with a trusted individual go as planned though.
Healing from mental illness isn't linear. Most of us have had to recover from a mental illness relapse at one point or another. Triggers show up whether we invite them in or not: medications stop working, we lose loved ones, a pandemic hits. We aren't guaranteed unending remission. There's no one-size-fits-all path back to sanity, but there are ways to make healing from a mental illness relapse a little easier.
My state of Illinois is experiencing a second wave of COVID-19, and my schizoaffective anxiety is off the charts. After the numbers sliding below 1,000 new cases of the illness a day all through June and in early July, they skyrocketed recently, hitting 7,899 new cases reported on Saturday, October 31, for a single day. It could be because of restaurants and bars opening up for indoor service, or schools opening back up, or, most likely, a combination of things, but the surge in numbers is wreaking havoc on my schizoaffective anxiety.
When you're in recovery, you measure progress not by time or distance, but by milestones. If you know someone working through this process, a self-harm recovery gift can be a nice way to show your support and celebrate these milestones together.
Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC
Anxiety can be an early warning sign, alerting us to the fact that something is wrong in our lives. Are you listening to your anxiety? Granted, anxiety doesn't feel great. In fact, it can feel downright terrible. It can cause us to overthink everything, often makes us emotional, and even makes us feel physically ill. It's natural to hate anxiety and struggle against it, pushing it away and trying to decrease the symptoms. We don't typically want to sit with it and listen to it. Sometimes, though, anxiety can be an early warning system, and listening to it might be one of the best things we can do for our wellbeing and the quality of our lives.