BEAT YOUR BRAIN. Beat it like the Russian team in an American sports film.
It’s no secret that I don’t have a great brain. Anyone who spends more than a few minutes with me can figure that out. Yet I’m out here living my life, going to school (most of the time), getting gigs, chillin’ with friends, etc. How? I fight my brain.
Maybe it’s not a fistfight, but it is a fight. Being mentally ill really takes the phrase “your greatest enemy is yourself” to the next level, because accomplishing even the smallest of tasks becomes a battle. The best way I’ve found to get around that is by removing as many obstacles as possible between where I am and where I need to be.
Brain: you can’t get up
Me: alright well my clothes are on the floor by my bed, so I can just get dressed under my covers and see how I feel.
This is one of the earliest tricks I came up with. Sometimes just the notion of getting out of bed feels just as plausible as climbing Kilimanjaro, so I removed some of the difficulty. If my clothes for the day are in arm’s reach, as I almost always leave them the night before, I don’t need to get out of bed to get changed. Then once I’m dressed, I usually feel better, and I can get up. Or at the very least, all the moving around made me need to pee so I need to get up anyway. Then once I’m up, I can tell myself that I can just wash my face and make some tea and go back to bed if I truly feel so awful. Usually, after all that, I’ve convinced myself that going to class isn’t all that bad anymore.
Brain: you can’t make a sandwich
Me: fine then I’ll just stand in front of the fridge and eat pieces of cheese, deli meat, and lettuce until I’m full because it’s basically the same thing.
Where most people gain that “Freshman 15” in college, I actually lost a lot of weight from simple lack of eating. On bad days I just have no desire to eat and no energy to make myself anything. But sometimes you don’t have to make yourself something, and I’m not talking about ramen. Having things that I can eat with my hands, and not have to worry about doing the dishes later, has been a huge help. And it’s nothing fancy, either. Usually it’s just something like cheese, bread or crackers, and some kind of non-messy vegetable or fruit. Non-messy is key for me, since (like with the dishes) sometimes feeling like I’ll have a mess to clean puts a damper on my plan. So a lot of times it’s just eating an entire, un-cut cucumber, or pulling off leaves from a head of lettuce, or handfuls of spinach from a salad mix. Does it look ridiculous? Absolutely. But does it keep me alive? Yeah, so I don’t care how many times my roommates walk in on me with handfuls of greens.
But it’s not always as simple as that. On my worst days, no amount of exercising, healthy eating, or showering can make me feel better. These tricks aren’t some kind of cure-all; I still have the same chemical imbalances in my brain and I still spend many a day locked up in my room, unable to face the world. But I have a whole lot less of those days when I can trick myself into just one more task, and then one more task, and so on until I’m dressed with a full face of makeup, my bag packed, and a nice breakfast in front of me.
Am I wrong? Maybe. But, as pictured, even a broken clock is right twice a day. So it ain’t much, but it’s all I’ve got, and you have similar issues then I hope this could help you, even a little bit.