Insights recently had Susannah Cornford, a year 10 student from Turramurra High School for work experience from 26 – 30 November. In this article she reflects on how to cope with mental illness.
Sometimes you have a bad day, that’s kind of just how life goes. You might miss your train and then fall flat on your face in front of everybody that you work with. Or it might be something more than that. The important thing is to not allow that bad day to turn into a bad week. It’s hard, I know.
Disclaimer: Everything here is going to sound crazily simple on paper, or screen. But it won’t be easy, not for some time. But once you’ve practiced doing these things it will be easier, and your bad days will just be bad minutes. That being said, you are allowed to have a slow day. When you bring out your PJs at midday and sip on tea until 5. Having a slow day is different to having a nothing day.
The first thing you need to do is recognise that you are having a bad day. And deal with it accordingly. If you need to cry, cry. If you need to punch something punch the old punching bag in your basement. If you need to pray, pray.
After you’ve gone through the initial angst, re-evaluate where you are and what you’re doing. If you’re in the bathroom, maybe move to a comfier location if you can. If you’re in the middle of a traffic jam, try to move your car to a quieter street. If you’re at home, change into something comfortable, plug in some of your favourite tunes and allow yourself to relax.
Now I’m going to create a bit of a choose your own story situation. If you’re reading this, and after listening to some calming music and putting on some comfy clothes you have regained your composure and you’re feeling better, then you may go back to your hopefully not too stressful life. I hope you have a nice day.
If it takes more than that then please, read on.
Call someone. Your mum, dad, best friend, brother, sister, grandma, grandpa, aunty, uncle, friend, cousin, minister, mentor. Hopefully that list has given you an idea. Talk to them, about what’s wrong or about absolutely nothing and everything at the same time. It’ll distract you and I guarantee it will make you feel better. If that doesn’t work, go to the bible. Read a Psalm. Try to find the comfort written into those old holy words.
If it seems that this bad day isn’t something that a good chat can’t help or even though you’re trying your best you just can’t seem to cheer up then maybe it’s more than just a bad day. It may be time to seek out a counsellor or maybe a GP, don’t be scared to ask. Even if it doesn’t turn out to be something serious, it never hurts to get some more habits which will help you feel better.
Mental illness isn’t something to be ashamed of. And it isn’t brought about by pride.
And here we go with the cliché reminder, even though it’s been said a million times I still don’t think it’s been said enough.
You’re not alone.
Even if you have no people around you, God is there. Even when it seems as though he is hiding or not there at all, he’s still there. There is always someone who you can talk to even when you think there’s no one.
Isiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
If you or someone you know is experiencing anxiety, depression, mental health issues or suicidal feelings know there is help. Please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636. If it is an emergency please call 000.