This post is going to be a little less uplifting than some of my other posts, so I just want to preface with that before I get started.
In my series on Staying Positive, I’ve covered a few different ways I stay positive and remain hopeful, such as using a gratitude journal, leaning on creative outlets, and other tips for relieving anxiety. But what happens when you’re just having a bad day and absolutely nothing can help that, no matter what you try to do?
That’s what brings me here today to write about the bad days. Let’s face it: life is a roller coaster. There will be highs and there will be lows. Sometimes, you’re able to find ways to overcome the lows and remain positive, but some days you just simply cannot.
And, to be honest, I’m sick of all the stigma around mental health and being afraid to admit to yourself and to others around you that you’re not having a good day.
It’s okay to not always be okay.
Mental illness is something that affects 1 in every 4 people worldwide. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of people affected were actually higher than that, due to the stigma that still exists around admitting you have a mental health condition at some point in your life.
If you had a stomach bug, you’d stay home and treat it until you feel better without hesitation. So why is a mental illness not viewed the same way? You need to allow yourself to feel better, whether that’s by seeing a doctor or finding ways to remain positive.
But what happens on the days when you just can’t even manage to get out of bed? Or shower? Or find your appetite?
I mentioned this in an earlier post, but if you’re new to my blog, let me remind you all: I have OCD. To answer your immediate question… no, OCD is not just making your bed, washing your hands, and keeping everything in order. Yes, I do make lists, keep my spaces tidy, and strive for perfection, but that’s not what hinders my ability to feel “normal” – I put that in quotes, because let’s be honest… there’s no such thing as normal.
Sammi Caramela, advice columnist and owner of the blog, Sammi Says, wrote a beautiful and raw article titled, My OCD and Me: Treading Water In A Drought.
“Many people assume they know what obsessive-compulsive disorder is: Making your bed a certain way every morning. Always being early to class or work. Organizing your toiletries so they’re color-coded in the bathroom closet.
But society doesn’t understand the things they cannot see – the things that people with OCD feel, the obsessive thoughts we cycle over, the guilt and shame we sleep with.”
My OCD hits me at various times and in different ways based on the situation I’m in, and my goal is to not allow it to control me. But there are days when something triggers me and I know nothing I try to do will help turn my bad day around. But then I remember… it’s just one bad day. Among many, many days of my life. And that gives me the hope to pull through.
So what do you do when you finally admit to yourself that it’s a bad day? Or when one bad day turns into a series of bad days?
Here are some things you can try, whether you’re able to do one of them or twenty of them. Start somewhere, and just remember to have hope that tomorrow is a new day, and it will get better.
- Change your outfit, even if you just put on a new pair of pajamas
- Go for a walk or open a window to get some air
- Drink a full glass of water
- Take a bath or shower if you can
- Take any necessary medicine – if you have a headache, take Advil and don’t ignore your body’s aches and pains
- Eat a light snack
- Fold any clothes that are out and put them away
- Call or text a friend and let them know how you’re doing, even if it’s just to let them know you’re having a bad day and will be better tomorrow
These are just a few things that may sound simple, but on a really bad day, I understand that these might seem like a big challenge. Just remember, one bad day is completely okay, and you should feel comfortable asking for help. It’s okay to not be okay, but also try your best to stay hopeful that tomorrow will be better!