Invincible one day, in pieces the next; head in the clouds, feet in hell. That is the fate for those of us facing mood swings.
The biggest suck of mood disorders is feeling like we’re always taking one step forward and one step back. It feels like we’re living inside a movie where a ruthless finger keeps jabbing at the playback button and keeps us trapped forever in a cycle.
We can choose to lament our fates, or we can take control of our lives.
There are ways to alleviate the pains of erratic moods. We just need to find them. When we’re depressed, we find it hard to concentrate. We wouldn’t be able to contrive effective solutions. So in our better times, we can write down a set of rules to always abide by. It takes some trial and error to come up with the best rules.
At the time of this writing, I’ve found rules that work quite well for me. I think my rules can also help you.
Rule #1: Don’t make up for missed meals.
We can miss meals very easily when we’re moody. We could have taken too long to fall asleep last night and woke up late; we could have been too bummed to cook; we could have lost our appetites.
When we feel better, we may feel tempted to make up for the lost meals and eat much more than usual.
However, according to Healthline, overeating can cause nausea, indigestion, and vomiting. Such discomforts prevent us from recovering and can instigate yet another unpleasant spell. Compared to that, ignoring missed meals and going hungry a bit is a much lesser evil.
Rule #2: Don’t make it worse.
When we’re depressed, it’s so easy to stay there. We need to avoid doing things that can aggravate our mood, like listening to dark music and indulging in bad habits.
We should make sure we aren’t doing the same things over and over again to feel better. For example, we can’t always rely on the same songs as motivation to go back to work. Weariness of repetition is the oil thrown on top of the fire of depression.
Instead, we should try new things to reignite our interest in daily activities. We can start simple, pushing ourselves to listen to new songs. Initiating and amplifying the willingness to try new things can gradually bring our passion back.
Gradually, we can be ready for bigger things and bounce back to where we were before.
Rule #3: Have faith in ourselves and build confidence
When we’re down, a lack of self-esteem makes us unwilling to do anything. In times like those, we should believe. We should remember. Remember the best of our times. Remember days we broke through anything in our way, days with perfect beginnings and endings.
Having faith in ourselves is a herald of our victory. We can use our confidence to do simple things that bring us more confidence.
However, the ways we seek confidence should follow the previous rule that we mustn’t do anything that further depresses us. This is tricky, as the easy things are often harmful (e.g., binge-watching TV shows). We need to avoid them at all costs because they only give us temporary relief before sending us down to a deeper hole.
Some simple tasks that work are transferring notes from one place to another and practicing calligraphy. I call them “brainless activities” because they don’t require active control of our minds but still yield results that please us. They are perfect in times of vulnerability. The buildup of confidence in completing small tasks readies us for harder tasks.
Rule #4: Think we want to try something else.
There are some things we do every time we feel bad, even though they make us feel worse. We feel helpless, doing these things nonstop late into the night until our fatigue takes over and forces us to fall asleep. The next day we wake up guilty and tired, vulnerable to repeating yesterday’s mistake.
The compulsive things I do are binge-watching YouTube and playing games. I can’t remember how many times I already feel tired from doing those but can’t make myself stop.
One day I made myself recall the pleasure I had when doing other things, like cooking, working out, and writing. I thought to myself how refreshing it would be to do those things again.
What seemed impossible a moment ago became remarkably easy. I instantly found the power to stop and was one significant step closer to recovery.
Rule #5: Prioritize resolving repetitive thoughts
Sometimes after going on a roll, we might suddenly be stopped in our tracks by an intimidating task. We want to procrastinate on those tasks. But we also know we should get them out of the way. The resulting conflict and the repetitive thoughts telling us to resume working can cause our setback in the first place.
If those tasks are still left untouched when we get better, the threat of a relapse remains. So when we recover, the very first thing we can do is write on a piece of paper all of the tasks we’ve been thinking about. We should put them before everything else and terminate them with extreme prejudice before they cause more trouble.
Rule #6: Don’t Get Cocky
As a supplement to an idea mentioned earlier, we must remember the worst of our times in the best of our times. When I relapse, more often than not, it’s because I was getting too cocky and thinking that I am free from my erratic moods.
If we remember the frustration of the simplest things appearing to be impossibly hard and the dismay of not being in control, we’d keep our overconfidence in check.
Getting a grip of ourselves when we have mood disorders is nothing easy. There will be many ups and downs. And sometimes we would feel like we’re not getting anywhere.
The important thing is to never give up. After all, who knows? Maybe if we just hang on for a second longer, we would uncover the perfect solution to our problem.
My rules have helped make my life much better. Now they are your rules and yours to modify. I come up with my rules through experience. So can you.
You’ve got this!
The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios.
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