Other than the intelligence services or perhaps Google, no-one knows you better than you.
One of the best ways to keep yourself safe and secure is to understand the triggers you may have or what you need to do to help you cope. This is where understanding yourself and your condition really starts to pay dividends.
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP MYSELF?
Good question. Everyone reading this will be different in how they cope with their condition (whatever that may be), so there isn't a complete solution that will be guaranteed to help everyone. That said, we're assembled together a list of things that may help, starting with:
Support networks are basically a fancy name for your family, friends and other any people who are there to help you through. It's important to know who these people are.
These, of course, can be your family; partners, siblings, parents, cousins or kids (if they're old enough) but also your friends, real friends though- not just a list of people you once met on Facebook!
In addition, this can include your Doctor, therapists, neighbours (not the TV soap people) or people in a local support group or community project.
If you're sat there thinking you don't have anyone (or very many) in your support network, try this. Sit down and make a list of all the names including, but not limited to, those mentioned above. You'll be surprised how many there will be.
Once you've got the list, keep it handy. Pin the list to the fridge, give it to your boss at work (if appropriate) and put the numbers in your phone. You can even create a group list within your contacts and call it 'support network' (or something similar). That way, if someone needs to know who to call, they may at least have a starting point of names and numbers.
The link between physical health and mental health is vital and very real. One of the best ways to look after your mental state is to make sure your physical health is in good....well.... health! There are number of ways to do this. Incidentally, you can click in the various headings below to find out more.
- Sleep - For many of those will mental ill-health, sleep can be an important part of staying well. Getting a good nights sleep will help you to keep your mood stable and reduce the length of time you feel unwell or have an dark episode. "Sleep yourself better" as my Nana used to say!
- Exercise - We're not saying you have to become a hardcore gym monkey to exercise yourself to good health. Even the smallest amount of exercise will release those lovely 'feel-good' brain chemicals called endorphins. From a good walk to a good swim, possibly with some yoga thrown in for good measure, exercise, however intense or gentle, can help you feel better.
- Eat Well - Eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet helps in a number of ways. Not only will it keep your weight in check, you'll feel better for longer. If you know what you eat doesn't help, try and avoid it. Comfort food only helps so much (which isn't very much at all) and only for a short period of time. As much as you might enjoy it at the time, it won't last and can often make you feel worse in the long run, so eat well to feel well.
Find A Routine That Works
Routine gets a bad 'rep'. Doing the same stuff, at the same time, in the same way might sound a bit dull, but for those with mental health issues, it can be a life saver.
Whatever you know works for you, keep doing that. If you know that going to a particular place, at a particular time of day is going to cause you a problem, then try and avoid it. It sounds obvious, but have a routine that helps you, then stick to it. If you're happy within a certain set of circumstances and those 'things' keep your mood high and triggers low, then stick to them.
These can be anything, from taking your medication at the same time of day, going to bed at the same time every night, going to the shops on the same day, buying the same things, seeing people on your terms or watching your favourite TV show when it's on, it doesn't matter. Whatever keeps your mood stable, then embrace it.
If something new is coming up and the thought of it is causing you problems, then plan ahead for it. If there are any circumstances that can be changed to accommodate you, then there is no harm in asking for that help. If you need a later appointment, when there is less chance of crowds, then ask. The worst they can do is say no, but you'll find most organisations are more than happy to help where they can.
If you've got any other suggestions of ways to help yourself, please feel free to share them us and we'll be happy to pass them on. Our social media links are all below.