When it comes to mental health, most people understand the concept of having a “bad day”, even if they don’t fully grasp what it means for the person experiencing it. There’s always been a ton of advice out there to assist in dealing with a “bad day”. “Be gentle with yourself, you’re doing the best you can.” “Get a blanket, a hot beverage, watch a movie, forgive yourself, and move on.” And that is all well and good except...
What if you feel like you’ve never had a “good day”? What if your normal is stolen moments of procrastinating from something really important, so there’s the guilt anyway, and then a big pile of stuff needing your attention the second you go back to ‘real life’? Or eventually, just total avoidance of everything because it’s just way, way too overwhelming?
This is what my (and many others with ADHD or other mental health challenges) experience was for a long while. Once I started shouldering adult responsibilities, it began to feel like this was what adulthood was: never ending misery. I was never able to give myself permission to grab a blanket and watch a movie because bad days were my normal and if I gave into that “weakness” once, I’d stop doing anything and my entire life would simply crash around my ears.
That was then.
Now, I actually have good days and therefore can recognize the bad days. More than that, I have learned to actually forgive myself for them and stay in bed all day if that’s what it takes. Luckily this doesn’t happen very often.
What changed? I slowly began to recognize that I couldn’t sustain how I was living, especially as I left my energetic teen years behind. I stopped, over and over again, with the support of trusted friends, family, and some professionals, I took long, hard looks at my life. I defined clearly for myself what I needed and what was hurting me. When I increased and fortified the one, and acknowledged and reduced the other, that was when I started having more good days than bad.
There’s no simple answer to how to deal with bad days or how to increase the number of good days. However, knowledge is always a key ingredient and a good first step. Nobody can know what to change without understanding the problem. And if nothing changes, nothing changes.
What empowers you to have a good day?