anonymous woman having dispute with crop person
My Take

Talking Myself Out of a Hard Time

Hi everyone, I’m sorry for the absence…I’ve been having a bit of a rough time these past few days. The end of semester stress is running high and a perhaps unwise decision caught up with me. I’ve been reducing my morning medication by myself out of stubbornness to do it alone and not be dependent on them. It was actually working but I think I pushed it a bit too far. Please don’t do anything with your medication without speaking with your psychiatrist or doctor! I spoke with him yesterday and we’re going to reduce two of my pills by a little bit. I suppose I’m sharing this as a cautionary tale; it may be tempting to pull a ‘do it yourself’ but some things aren’t worth messing with. I hope I learn from this lesson, but honestly I think I got caught up with it because my meds can make me feel a bit flat and reducing them brought some of my ‘highs’ back. The past few days have brought me short bursts of highs with lots of energy and motivation but with the downside of unrealistic ideas and restlessness. I can deal with that but the short highs are followed by pretty intense lows where I’ve been feeling empty and useless. (And really really hard on myself.) It’s pretty bad timing because I have some heavily weighted written assignments and my brain just isn’t working! Seriously that’s what it feels like – essays are kind of a forte for me but right now my mind feels paralyzed. I changed my thesis FOUR times. I’ve never had so much difficulty and I’m really overwhelmed. 

I’m sharing all of this because 1: Don’t mess with medication! And 2: I’d like to share how I’m trying to talk myself into a better headspace using things that I know work for ME. In other words only we as individuals know what kind of talk will resound with us. That’s probably why the most important conversations are often the ones we have with ourselves, not to say that other conversation isn’t good, necessary or helpful.

So, what am I telling myself to get through this? 

  • Tomorrow is Mother’s Day which means I have something really great to look forward to. I worked hard to plan this special day and I can’t wait for my mom to experience it! I need to focus on that because it’s very positive and also has the benefit of taking me outside of myself. By that I mean when we feel bad it can really create a bubble of misery around ourselves but pushing beyond those bounds into something exterior can be really helpful. In this case it’s not a something but a someONE; someone I love with all my heart and that beautiful fact can warm up the metaphorical chill of depression. Even if it’s a small change, change is change! The more we can focus on the beautiful the less imposing the darkness can seem. At least that’s what I tell myself…
  • I may feel swamped right now but that’s only because I’m at the culmination of months of work after which I’ll be free to regroup over the summer. 
  • My mind seems to be overloaded and that’s making me angry and frustrated with myself. I think I need to be more compassionate and patient because kicking myself while I’m down doesn’t make much sense right? 
  • I’m also thinking about getting accepted into University and I’m kind of freaking out about it. The self-doubt is incredibly uncomfortable; I have no idea how I’ll be selected to pursue a PhD in psychology when there are so many others that are undoubtedly better than I am. Ok, how do I counter this? I’m stumped…I suppose it just means I have to do the best I can but take things one step at a time? There’s no point in panicking about it right now when that issue is a future concern. I’ve got to remember my priorities. 
  • Signs point to it being a time of plowing through work until it gets done but I need to practice what I preach and take those self-care breaks; this is actually a time when we need MORE self-care time, not less!
  • I’m allowed to have more difficult times and this is part of life. A stressful period can often activate or worsen symptoms but things will clear up on the other side. This is all understandable and there’s no reason to judge or hate myself for it.
  • I’m having a lot of nightmares lately but I’m following my dad’s advice of ‘5-4-6’ breathing. (There are many variations of this exercise that you can find online.) Inhale for a count of 5, hold for 4 seconds and exhale for 6 seconds. I do this when I lie down to fall asleep and throughout the day when my thoughts start racing. My goal is to practice it more often because consistency is truly key!

Keep calm and keep breathing!

I wish I could think of more motivational thoughts but this is the best I can do at the moment. I send strength to all my fellow students in this stressful period, and to everyone else as well! I apologize for the short post and I hope to be writing more articles soon. Hopefully this brain fog will pass as soon as possible!

What's YOUR take?