Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or mental-health professional. Just another human who struggles with this stuff. I understand what it’s like to read advice that doesn’t work for you. I never want anyone to feel like I’m underestimating the seriousness of depression or other disorders. If you’re in a crisis and need help now, the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. And just in case it isn’t obvious from the subject matter, TRIGGER WARNING.
Always keeping the faith. Always staying strong. Sometimes failing to “stay strong” and ending up with scars to show for it. I watch as my struggles hurt the people around me. I ache as those I love deal with problems of their own. It all gets tiring.
I could write a million blogs on how to stay positive, but this is about what to do in the aftermath of a time you weren’t able to. It doesn’t matter if one massive thing set you off or if it was a series of small incidents over a period of time. Upping your self-care game is the way to start feeling better and getting back on track ASAP.
Recovery Tips: Self-Care is Ointment for Your Tired Brain
- Handling the Basic Elements of Life
It’s good to focus on physical things if you’re feeling overwhelmed and unable to make sense of your situation. Water. Bathing and oral hygiene. Food. Fresh air. Sunlight. Exercise if you can. Work if you’re currently capable. The things you have to do. If you’re high strung like me, you probably get cracked out on adrenal hormones after any sort of meltdown and have the tendency to under eat. Other people devour their feelings. Whatever your tendency, just focus on getting nutritionally dense meals and plenty of fluids.
- Accepting Your Mistakes
No matter what kind of panic attack, episode, or negative experience you had, it’s safe to say it worsened your mood, and your current outlook likely doesn’t represent reality. It can help to logically work through how your view might be skewed by your emotions.
For example, when I’m struggling, I often end up feeling deep shame for making emotional posts on social media. I think that everyone is looking at me with disgust. And maybe some people are. I lose followers every time I post that I’m struggling, and yes, it does hurt. But screw it. I don’t want unsupportive people following me anyway. I refuse to feel shame for being human, and you shouldn’t either. Let people hate. Let them unfollow. Delete your upset posts if you feel you should, but don’t let them weigh on your soul.
The reality is that most people don’t care about what other people do or say, and even when they are upset by something, they’re often quick to forget. Look how quickly people forget about terrible occurrences like mass shootings. People will talk about something for days, then something new happens, and the first thing is almost completely forgotten. If people have such a short attention span that they easily move on from horrific, life-altering incidents, how long do you think they’ll remember your silly social-media rant? Life is hard. It’s understandable if you overreact sometimes. It’s okay.
The same goes for any other minor “mistakes” you made during your episode. Maybe it’s something as simple as forgetting plans with a friend because you were crying and lost in panic attacks all day. It happens. Apologize and move on rather than beating yourself up.
- Meditation, Prayer, or Mental Focus
I consider prayer one of the basic foundations of life, but not everyone shares my spiritual beliefs, and that’s okay. I’m not here to tell you what to believe. For me, giving it up to God is a powerful act. I wouldn’t be alive today without the love and guidance he offers me. That said, I think you can get a lot of the same benefits from releasing your struggles to the universe in some way.
If prayer isn’t your thing, consider writing in a journal as a way to release your pain. Let it all out. Get as nasty as you want. You don’t have to show it to anyone, but it’s a good idea to keep it around, at least for a little while. Examining it when you’re feeling better could provide you a window into the workings of your mind.
- Viewing the Setback as a Tool
Another way to help yourself accept what happened is by seeing if you can learn something from it. A setback can crack your psyche in two and allowed a deeper view within. Sometimes we don’t even realize what’s really bothering us. I didn’t—not until I began working with EFT and trying to manifest positive things with the law of attraction. When I started paying attention to my thoughts, it awakened something inside of me. This has only continued to unfold over the years, and I’ve found that my self-awareness is heightened even more after a major panic attack or breakdown. It’s a good time to be brave and dig deep. Understanding your triggers is the key to healing as many of them as possible.
- Creating a New Plan for Progress
Okay, at this point you’ve made sure that your basic needs are taken care of, forgiven yourself for any big mistakes you made during your episode, connected to God/your higher self through journaling or prayer, and taken an honest look at your triggers. Hopefully, you’re feeling a little more empowered, but if not, that’s okay. Brain chemistry is complex, and you might be unable to feel better at this time. Don’t beat yourself up about that, either.
Now is a good time to start coming up with a plan to feel better. I can’t give you an exact plan. I’m a writer, not a doctor or a therapist. People need so many different things. Your plan might be as simple as adding more exercise into your regimen or as complex as visiting your doctor to have a variety of medications adjusted. I’m not here to tell you what to do, but there is one thing I feel safe recommending to literally everyone: EFT.
EFT has helped me more than any other form of therapy. I’ve been working with it since my twenties, and it has increased my self-awareness by about a hundred times. It’s so powerful it’s mind blowing. The other day, I felt myself begin to go into a panic attack, and I was able to sort out my emotions and release all my negative energy after only 10-15 minutes of EFT.
It takes dedication, practice, and experimentation to learn about EFT and figure out how it can work for you, but it’s worth it. Please trust me—this practice is amazing. There is a lot of promising research about it too. One study showed that it can significantly lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol as well as reducing the severity of anxiety and depression. The best part is that it’s free!
Moving Forward: Doing the Best I Can
I decided a while ago that I was no longer going to try to be perfect. I’ve accepted that there are some limiting factors in my life, such as chronic pain, but I don’t want to let them stop me. It’s hard to accept, but there are shitty, awful people in this world, and I refuse to let them stop me either. I’m still working toward my dreams every day, and I hope all of you will continue to as well.
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