Stay bright when the sun won’t shine.

Everyone’s a mental health expert anymore. Everyone has a mom, uncle, sister, cousins roommate from college with depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar, PTSD, and so on. And the moment you say, “I have (insert mental illness),” these well meaning people will tell you what worked for the people in their lives.

I’ve heard it all. Take a walk in nature. Take a bath. Eat better food. Hang out with friends. Exercise.

At no point has breaking a sweat or or eating a carrot made me feel like singing and dancing. What are those people on in the medication commercials? Do they drop something in their coffee? Is it meth? Is meth the answer?

I know these people mean well. Bless their hearts. But you won’t be finding me at a spin class when I’m going down the rabbit hole. It’s hard enough getting out of bed and getting dressed for work. Sometimes, I won’t eat. Other times, all I want to eat is toast and drink tea. Not everyone’s depressive episode is the same. Not for each person. Not for each episode. Unlike movies and commercials, you can’t paint us all with the same gray paint.

So, what do I do to avoid the great big Gray bucket of suck that is seasonal depressive disorder? Or as I like to call it bipolar vortex.

I start by taking a step back and analyzing my situation and my behavior. I have anxiety so overanalyzing is natural for me. Then, I go through questions. Is this a normal reaction? Is the situation warranting this behavior? Is this something that will get me featured on the ID channel?

By recognizing my actions, thoughts, and responses I can make adjustments. I can be more aware of things I think, do, or say to minimize collateral damage.

It’s not foolproof. I can be so far in that I can’t see the way out. But, this helps minimize those occurrences. And the chance that I have to apologize for the things I say and do when I’m not all together me.

If you get your serotonin and endorphins through a walk in nature, do it. If video games make you feel less stressy and depressy, play them. If chocolate soft serve with a hot fudge core and oreos crumbled and blended into it makes everything better, you should limit that to one a day or you make have more problems later, but eat the ice cream. If your happy making chemicals need to be prescribed to you from a doctor and you get them at the pharmacy, store bought is fine.

Whatever gets you through the winter of discontent, I wish you sunshine in your soul. Because right now, i wish i could shove sunshine up winter’s cold, frozen ass.

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