I’ll be honest: it took me a long time to learn how to deal with chronic mental health problems. It was a bit of a bumpy road and there were some definite missteps. Some days I felt like I was just making a trial and error of how I lived my life. This process is fluid and ongoing, which means that new challenges will keep popping up, but facing those challenges is a big part of my daily life. One of the downsides, however, was that sometimes I accidentally cling to a routine I created and feel like a failure if I decide to change that schedule. It has had a negative impact on my mental health, but sometimes it’s just as hard to spot as it is to adjust.
I’ve written before about how valuable creating a routine can be to your sanity, but maintaining a healthy attitude and relationship with that routine and schedule is just as important. Finding out what works can help us lead healthier everyday lives. However, it is easy to get lost figuring out what will work throughout your day.
In fact, this can lead to situations where we are so focused on doing the things we know will be effective that we are afraid to make changes to that schedule. I often feel bad when I don’t stick to a schedule I created myself and forget that I have as much power to change my schedule as I did to create that schedule in the first place.
Sometimes I feel like my posts are a winding road to where I want to get, especially when it comes to my own mental health. I like to have examples to share my point of view, but being dull (something I’m working on!) Can also work. So here we go: I feel like a failure when I decide not to do what I normally do. When I postpone things or decide to do something later in the week or month, I feel like I didn’t. It’s almost like I’ve made a to-do list for my life and given it an arbitrary deadline that I’ll actually never keep. And I have no idea if anyone else feels the same way.
One harmful aspect of depression is that you can believe you are powerless, like you have no control over anything. And if you live with that mindset long enough, you forget that you were ever in control of anything. This feeling can invade so many different areas of life and turn you into a spectator of your own experience. Having freedom of choice about my actions – being active rather than passive – means that I have to think that I am important enough to do that. And depression can lead me to think that I am not important enough. Which can mean seeing changes and adjustments as errors. I hope that in time I can change this attitude.
What’s the best way to deal with these feelings of failure? Are you trying to avoid them completely, or have you found ways to manage them in a healthy way? I love hearing other people’s experiences, please let me know in the comments.