So stop me if you’ve heard this one before. You’re doing fine, getting on with life, not thinking about your mental illness or even thinking much at all. You’re just getting on with life… and then you take a look at how you’re living life. Your room might be messier than usual, but you don’t care enough to clean it up… You might want to shower and wash your hair, but physically can’t be bothered, you’re too tired, you’ll wash it tomorrow… Or, you realise that you haven’t left your room for a day or more, or you haven’t been as productive as you hoped, or you’re sleeping way more (or way less) than usual…
Suddenly, you realise you might now be doing as well as you thought you were. And, now you’ve realised this, you’re stuck! Your in a pattern of one bad day after another and things that might not affect you ‘normally’ suddenly mean your either super sad, super tired or super ‘I-don’t-know-what-but-something-ain’t-right’. It’s a pattern that can be hard to get out of, but it’s not impossible. Trust me. And trust the other amazing writers who have also shown how they can get out of their bad days.
Firstly, I’d say it’s important to know that you are allowed to have bad days. That doesn’t make you a failure. Life is full of good and bad, ups and downs. You should allow yourself the time and space to feel everything, good and bad. Just know that no bad feeling is forever. Accept that you feel bad. Don’t try to hide it, suppress it or deny it. See it for what it is. It’s a bad day.
Secondly, try to understand what might have prompted it? Did someone say something that made you feel bad, and it triggered other negative feelings? Did you forget to take your medication? Ladies (or those with ovaries who identify in any other way), are you due to start your period? Self-reflection and learning about how your own body works, and how your brain chemistry works is so useful. It can help you to recover, it can help you to catch bad days earlier and in some cases it can help you to prevent them.
Thirdly, do stuff that not only feels good, but that does you good too. On bad days, all I really want to do is lie in bed and watch Netflix, and sometimes that is what I do. But I know that while I enjoy watching TV or films, binge watching Friends isn’t gonna get me out of my funk. So I try to throw some things into my day that will do me good. Maybe, opening the windows to let sunlight and fresh air in, maybe going for a walk or taking a book with me outside so I’m not stuck in my room all day. I’ll do chores like cleaning because I know I feel so much better once I’m in a clean and tidy space. I’ve also started using my bad days as a prompt to check on others I might not have heard from in a while, just to see how they’re doing. Who knows, they might be having a bad day too and my message might help.
Ultimately, there is no universal go-to-guide to fix bad days, because everyone’s bad day is different. Therefore, the way to fix a bad day for someone else will be different to how you fix your own. So my final piece of advice is for those of you who need help knowing how to resolve someone’s bad day:
Ask how you can help, and be patient. Show you are there to help if needed and show that you don’t think that your friend or loved one is being a burden. Help them to figure out how they can help themselves and praise them for it. Remind them of the good stuff in every bad day. Find all of the #LittleVictories that they should be celebrating, and celebrate with them.