Mental Health Manifesto

I’ve had some epiphanies, and while useful, they’ve not been exactly welcome.

The last time I had a depression this deep and persistent, I went on the equivalent of a mental health crash diet. I made the decision that I had to do whatever it took to get better. (Good.)I cut off ties with the people in my life who were negative, or who resembled giant leeches. (Uh-oh.) If an activity didn’t lend itself to my getting better, I didn’t do it. Period. I made myself stop worrying about other people and hurting their feelings. (*sigh*) After a lifetime of constantly worrying about how my actions affected other people, it was a huge relief. I got a gym membership and went religiously. I was 100% compliant on my meds. I pushed back at work when others did something to my detriment.

I got better.

I got better at the cost of cutting my social ties and pushing my family out of the picture. I got better by being intensely selfish. I got better in an unsustainable way. It was a crash diet in mental health.

Mental health is no different from physical health. If I go to the gym religiously for a week, then quit, I stop being fit. If I attend to my mental health religiously for a week, then quit… I stop being mentally fit. I have to go to the mental equivalent of a health club every single day. I have to make sustainable decisions that support an antidepressant life.

I hate that thought.

Even so, it’s time to accept that this just isn’t ever going to come naturally or easily. I have to think about everything I put in my head, and everything comes comes out of my mouth, in the same way that I have to think about every bit of food that goes in my mouth. It’s never going to be easy. It’s never going to be automatic. I can deny and fight and resist, or I can accept it and just get on with things.

Good days don’t just happen. If I want a good day, I have to make it happen. If I want a good life, I have to make it happen. It’s my life. I want a good life.