By Madeline Perez
Hello, Bing Review readers! As I’m sure you’ve heard, recent times have been tough—and I totally agree! I myself for the last couple of years have been becoming intimately familiar with the exact pain-tolerance of my own psyche. The hopelessness has since overflowed and my brain supersaturated with it until I had no choice but to scream out “the horror, the horror,” and so on and so forth. I’ll spare the details. I’ve read many-a ”self-help” article in my day, and have found the vast majority to be overly impersonal and overtly useless. So I decided to write one of my own. Even for those who are not afflicted with modern melancholia, I’m sure incorporating this advice can still benefit you if you were not following it already. I am in no way attempting to make light of mental illness and my heart bleeds for those of you who are struggling.
As I’m sure quite a few of you can relate to, at times it seems like the pain is completely unbearable, and that “there is no way that anyone could possibly understand what it feels like” because they all seem so functional and happy-go-lucky as you yourself swallow the metaphorical castor oil and don your neurotypical mask because we live in a society. Good news! This suffering is not exclusive to you no matter how much your brain tries to convince you it is. As a matter of fact, you’re in great luck. I will now impart on you a comprehensive list of tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years that could help you navigate this nightmare hellscape.
- Keep up with responsibilities
In times when consciousness is more overwhelming than you can handle, functionality tends to go out of the metaphorical window. For many, control over their own actions and emotions can slip through the fingers like a well-oiled snake. And understandably so. How do you manage to live a normal life when your own thoughts are trying to sabotage you at every turn? Honestly, you have to keep up with your responsibilities the best you can. It will be very hard but it will be better than just watching everything float by, either too numb to care or too petrified to do anything about it. Also, try not to do anything self-destructive. This may sound cheesy as h*ck but you have to work on not fucking over your future self.
- Eat honey
Honestly, honey is pretty good. Just squeeze a bit on the tip of your finger and then lick it off. No one is watching. Go ahead.
Speaking of eating, this is another thing that’s kind of important to “being able to live.” When your brain is kinda messed up eating may not seem very important at all, especially when you completely lose your appetite or throw up easily due to stress. Now in these cases, food might even make you feel sick and you might find yourself developing a very poor relationship with eating in general. It is important to feed yourself good quality food in appropriate amounts the best you can. This also applies to those who find themselves overeating as a reaction to emotional pain. You are a metaphorical car, and in this instance, food is the metaphorical gas. Godspeed.
- Try to figure out what’s real
Now sometimes your own brain is going to try to trick you. It will kick and sputter until you become convinced that your paranoid ideas are real and that you can even justify them with real bonafide proof. Now before you go curling up fetal-like about how everyone you know secretly and not-so-secretly hates you with the intensity of a “hate written on every mile of wafer-thin layers in their complex” hatred, there are a few things to consider first. Really question the rationality of your thoughts, and try to conjure other possible reasons behind the behavior of others. Maybe even write down what you’re thinking to have a better grip on what exactly is upsetting you. Doing this over time can help you learn to think with more BBP (big brain power) and to stop shooting yourself in the foot every time you misstep.
- Don’t listen to dummies
Many people on this Earth are dumb. This is a fact of nature and cannot be changed. They will be inconsiderate and wrong and bad—sometimes without realizing, and often without apology. This may affect you in ways you are too embarrassed to admit to yourself, and the siege of the past may come out in you every now and again like an old knee injury. Just remind yourself that most of what other people do and say is not a reflection of you as a person, especially when it was intended to hurt you. Forget about what has happened, but remember how to avoid it in the future. You don’t have to be on everyone’s good side, especially not when they’re dumb.
Bro just get out there. Walk around. Do a sport or really anything that gets your heart rate up for a bit in a good way. Your body has to move around, so try your best in the time and abilities you have. I know it’s not always an option, but even a little bit can help release “The Good Chemicals” which I’m sure many of you reading this have been pining for. Plus, being healthy is sexy and good. Exercising may help your brain—or it may not, but there really is only one way to find out.
- Seek professionals
One common trend of depressives is believing no one cares about you or your burgeoning, heart-wrenching, vomit-inducing, blisteringly obvious pain that you go through such lengths to hide from others at all costs. Now, I don’t know your life, so I don’t have the authority to judge the extent that others do-or-do-not care for you. They probably do though, if that makes any difference (see tip 3). The thing is, you may not be lucky enough to have friends or family with the emotional-intelligence to help you carry your egregiously-heavy metaphorical cross. And that’s ok. You can’t always rely on others to routinely do your emotional labor—without pay, that is. Enter: therapy. Gonna keep it real with you, as someone who gets vaguely uncomfortable following the directions of any authority figure, it hasn’t always been my cup of tea. But, the implications of the alternative are horrifying. It’s better to have someone to talk to who will give you professional advice and help you manage and so on and so forth.
- Try to find little joys
In this life, where entertainment can be absorbed every hour of every day and still have an almost infinite amount of media left over, it’s not very difficult to become desensitized to this distraction. (Trust me, I read Infinite Jest.*) This, coupled with a complete loss of motivation to engage in any hobbies whatsoever, will most likely lead to a paralyzing anhedonia. Now, it’s in this instance professionals and amateurs alike will say “hey, just try to engage in your hobbies! And if those are boring, just find new hobbies!” You might then respond “what? I just told you I have no motivation for anything within my own self-interest” and it might just be a confusing interaction all-around. Honestly, if you tried everything you could already and little hobbies stop bringing you joy, you don’t need to do them. But if they do give you any smidge of satisfaction or productivity, please keep it in your life. Focus on healthy activities—or anything really—that gives you any semblance of happiness and run with it. Don’t mean to be a buzz kill but it’s in your best interest to stay away from drugs and alcohol. Just saying.
*it was ok.
- Take it one day at a time
I know what you’re thinking. “Take life one day at a time? How else was I supposed to do it, biweekly?” and that’s perfectly valid of you, but that’s not what it means. It’s about managing daily stress and reshaping how you think about progress. Instead of overwhelming yourself about all the things you have to do in the future or everything you did in the past, just focus on what you need to complete today. It’s no sense for me to freak out about how, assuming I make it to at least 80, I will have to brush my teeth over 45,000 times. I will begin to doubt myself. Am I even capable of that much brushing? Nor should I measure my progress by counting how many consecutive days I have successfully brushed my teeth twice. The best thing to do is brush my teeth twice daily—have it be part of my daily routine—so it’s ingrained in my habits. If I miss a day (purely hypothetical), it’s no use worrying about my Consecutive Days Brushed count, I just need to move past it and remember to brush the next day. This clever analogy goes the same for things like exercise, schoolwork, eating, and other not-necessarily tooth-related hygiene. Even though it’s not always enjoyable, it’s a necessary evil that you must conquer day in and day out until you get better and it’s not as difficult anymore.
- Identify what is making you upset
Everyone has things that make them sad or worried. This is probably a fact. For some people,their subconscious will sometimes hide from them what is making them upset. They might think “God what a baby I am!” or seem to get upset at something small when really it’s all because of something big they can’t process well. Sometimes it’s actually not that, and your brain has taken it upon itself to not work as well and mess around with your hormones and good chemicals so that you think “I can’t believe I’m so upset over nothing!” But this is not nothing. This is a serious disorder that can prevent you from feeling happy and strain your interpersonal relationships and make your life less enjoyable to live. No matter the case, you need to figure out exactly what’s bothering you, past, future, or present. Find patterns in what comes before a depressive episode, because when it happens chances are you could spiral so fast that the reason you fell in becomes dizzying. Like that saying goes, you need to accept the things you have no control over and change the things you can’t accept.
- You can trust big pharma maybe a little bit
I know in articles past I have consistently ended with some tidbit about Big Pharma’s overarching plot to brainwash humanity into mindless, harmless consumers. For the most part, I stand by what I said. But all conspiracy aside, if you’ve given it the old college try and nothing seems to be helping, chances are you got screwed by the biological-environmental two-pronged lottery and should really consider medication. It’s not your fault and is completely a valid decision—it’s just as you would treat any other ailment with the corresponding medication. When you find one that works, it will not change who you are as a person! I won’t lie to you, finding a good psychiatrist and the right medication will very likely be a horrifying many-month-long crucible. It might take a lot of effort and make you go through varying degrees of physical and mental pain, but when you do find what works you’re gonna have to realize it was all necessary. You are entitled to a good quality of life and the pursuit of utmost health and happiness. Fight against consumerism by loving yourself so they can no longer pander to your insecurities! How are you going to fight against Big Pharma if you do not have your health?