Mental health disorders are so heavily stigmatized in our culture, but that doesn't change how they can feel: debilitating, all-consuming, soul-crushing. For women with serious mental health issues, navigating daily life is a whole different conversation. Getting out of bed can be a challenge. Having a casual discussion with a coworker feels like too much. Trying to get through dinner can be overwhelming. Simple day-to-day tasks that others might take for granted can seem insurmountable to a woman battling mental illness — so how do they cope?
The topic was recently discussed on Reddit, where women truthfully and candidly shared their own demons, and how they fight daily to not let them win. So much more effort goes into this than I think many of us realize. It's not even really a day-to-day fight — it's hour-to-hour. One minute, you might be fine. The next, you might crumble into a million pieces with no warning. It's exhausting and discouraging, but they march on.
Everyone has their own personal approach. Some women have found a way to get through the day relatively unscathed; others are still in the midst of it, trying to find their way through. One thing is for certain, though: they're all stronger than they might realize.
1. One Day — Or Hour — At A Time
Kudos to this gal for staying positive even in the darkest times. This is a big accomplishment for any person, regardless of whether or not they're suffering from a mental illness. Keeping it positive during your lowest lows can make or break the situation — you just try your best to find something to be happy about.
2. One Problem At A Time
Sometimes, breaking things down into even smaller pieces is the answer, and makes life seem more manageable. When you've got a dozen different things making life harder, try focusing on one at a time.
3. Talking It Out
It's so tempting (and easy) to keep it all bottled up; and why not? When it feels like no one understands you and you're alone in the world, it doesn't seem that sharing your feelings could do any good. But letting it all out and having someone to at least listen means that you aren't alone. Even if they don't understand, they can still provide emotional support.
4. Going Unnoticed
When you're struggling mentally, sometimes the situation only worsens when people constantly ask about how you are and what's bothering you and if you're sad today. While it might not be the solution, sometimes all we can do to cope is try to be invisible.
5. Running On Autopilot
Sometimes, when you know you have to keep moving and life goes on but you just can't deal, you turn your mind off completely. This is how many depressed people get through the day. The world doesn't stop spinning — bills need to be paid, children need to be cared for, you have responsibilities. It helps you keep functioning, but it's still no way to live.
6. Avoiding Triggers And Staying Healthy
People struggling with mental health issues are usually aware of at least some of the things that could trigger a particularly bad episode. It could be certain foods or a lack of sleep; it might be certain people or a painful memory. Either way, you avoid them like the plague to try to maintain your wellbeing.
7. The Dark Times Aren't Permanent
Avoiding problems as if they don't exist doesn't typically do us much good; rather, people with mental illnesses often fare better when they face reality head on. But, perspective is key: this bad moment will pass, and there are brighter days ahead. You just have to hang on.
8. Being A Homebody
We have to work. We have to pay bills. But what do you do when work sucks the life out of you and you leave feeling like your tank is empty? You go home, sit quietly, and recharge your battery. People can be exhausting, even under the best circumstances. We all process social interactions differently.
9. Keeping The Mind Busy And Never Giving Up
If you feel like you're drowning, sometimes, all you can do is try to keep yourself busy until the storm passes. This is simply how some people deal. It might feel awful, terrible, like it'll be the end of you — but you have to keep going.
10. Fighting Every Day And Enjoying The Good Times
When you're fighting a battle inside your own mind, you have to take every small victory you can get your hands on, because this is what gives you hope. Mental illness can get ugly — really ugly. You have to pick yourself up, try again, and appreciate every positive moment.