So, friends. A couple of days ago I posted a pretty raw Instagram video. It was during a moment of anxiety fuelled manic behaviour where I was going from one task to another without the ability to hold the concentration on anything I was doing. It was frustrating and tiring and I ended up in a big heap having a sob. This is what happens to me when I get overwhelmed and too stimulated, I try and give myself a chance to rest but as soon as I stop, my brain flicks a switch and I suddenly go into overdrive. It’s hard to capture exactly what I feel like in that moment but I pretty much become a whirlwind of tidying, organising, task finishing, reading 2 lines of a book, cleaning, tidying, organising, clothes washing, food shopping, listening to 1 minute of a podcast until I feel like my brain is going to explode and I sob and sob and sob. Does this sound familiar? Some days I’ll fall asleep and the next day, things will seem a little brighter, other days the loop will continue. At the moment I feel like I’m processing the aftermath of 48 hours of said state. I feel drained and lethargic and numb and I can’t quite put my finger on the right word but it feels like there’s a rain cloud above me and that I’m waiting for the storm to pass. And whilst I wait for this cloud to drift from my head, there are things that I’ve been doing to help distract from the ticking clock and I thought I’d write a list of them because maybe they will help you too.
Side note: These are not things I have attempted to do whilst in a manic state, I cannot do any activity for a prolonged time when experiencing this.
- Drinking tea, a ridiculous amount of tea and always with biscuits to dunk and enjoying them without the distraction of my phone, just sip sip sipping away
- Running, in short bursts without music or a podcast because I find when I’m in this frame of mind just focusing on my breathing helps to ground me
- Drinking water, because hydration is integral to our mental health and I never drink enough. I’m working on it and have found carrying a bottle around with me really helpful
- Reading before bed, with my phone off for an hour because the stimulation from my smart phone causes me to toss and turn for hours before I can rest. This change has seen me sleep through the night for 10 hours and it’s bliss
- Spending time outdoors, and focusing on my senses. As with the runs, I find going out for a wander and concentrating on taking deep breaths and the sights, smells, sounds around me, an incredible way to get myself out of my thoughts and reconnected with reality
- Eating food that feels good, for my body and for my mind. I’m tuning in, instead of zoning out which was my usual go-to when I was at the height of my binge eating disorder
- Cleaning all my bedding, I find this such a satisfying activity and having a bed full of fresh linen to crawl into after a long day of overthinking feels so nice
- Disconnecting from social media, I’ve been slipping into a toxic mindset of comparison and social media only fuels this. Banning myself from scrolling has done wonders
- Writing things down, mostly streams of consciousness in my notebook and then I don’t read it back. Despite not knowing every word that ends up on the page, my mind always feels less full afterwards and is something that I have found integral for pushing me through some of my most anxious moments
- Looking inward, because all of these things are helpful but what is really going on beneath the surface? This can be painful but establishing what is at the root of how you’re feeling is so integral to healing & moving forward. And it’s okay to just acknowledge something and not know yet how to tackle it. These things take time, huge amounts of time so don’t force yourself to think about or do anything you are not entirely ready for and even recognising it is enough, I promise
..and most of all? I’m being gentle with myself. Really truly gentle with myself as I learn about the things that trigger me into the manic mindset I’ve been experiencing and whilst that rain cloud hovers, I will continue to tune in and do everything in my power to look after myself, moment to moment.
As I conclude this short post, there is a real storm conjuring up outside, the rain is thrashing against my window and the wind is howling. It sounds ominous but at the same time, I am inside, safe and both of these storms will pass soon because even though it might not feel like it, they always do.
Image by Ruffled ink