I say it a dozen or more times a day. I lift up my head up. No tears here. Not where people can see me. I look strong. I speak in an even tone and I steady my shaking hands. Inside, I am a mess. I am falling apart at the sound of all the thoughts rolling through my mind. My OCD rages on telling me what to do, and my depression, and anxiety battle it out for first place. My body manifests many problems, many that come out of the worry and grief. When mental illness takes hold, you become a different person. When you are living through tragedy, and mental illness also takes hold, you begin to wonder if you even are a person. You feel numb, and robotic or you feel like your falling apart with no hope of ever recovering.
It makes everyday life hard. It also causes you to reach outside of yourself to find healing or crawl inside of yourself to hide. Both are okay for a while. Neither are good all the time. You need to take time to be quiet, to feel, and cry, and just be. You also need time to open up, and find healing practices.
When you have mental illness, and you are also trying to function in life routine has been proven to be a helpful tool. Having a routine forces you to do the things that you need to get done. It also allows you to take care of yourself without having to put much thought into it. It also can become a calming part of your day.
In my case I know that I am going to shower because it’s on my schedule. I know what days I am going to appointments. I know what days I clean my house. I know that at night after my daughter goes to bed I am going to work. I am going to write, and assemble car parts. I have three planners that I write in everyday to keep my life moving in a positive direction. Having a routine keeps me from going into harmful OCD patterns. It keeps me from curling into a ball on my couch, and forces me to get in the shower, do the dishes, and work.
Before you think that it is my cure all, please know that I make space for the crying, the numbness, the moments on the couch. I just try to find a balance. Finding that balance keeps me from going to far one way or the other. It also allows me time to create, and freedom in my day to day life. Using routines in my day to day life keep me functioning. I would be lost with out them.
What do you need to function with a mental illness? What routines have you put into place to help?