I had a therapist, my last one actually, who used to ask me at the end of our session what good thing I was going to do for myself. She often suggested a trip to Starbucks. Therapy is hard if you are really working on bettering yourself and dealing with your problems so a treat at the end was a good idea. Sometimes I would hit Redbox and get a happy movie or maybe it was that trip to Starbucks and not just for an iced coffee, but for a Frappuccino. (GASP)
Living with mental illness is challenging to say the least. I know how hard it is to just get in the shower. I know how hard it is to pretend you are fine when the cashier at Kroger asks you how you are doing. I know how anxious you can be about driving. I GET IT!
We beat ourselves up a lot. Last week at a mixer at a local restaurant/bar I had to go outside and take a few minutes to sit on a bench and breathe because I felt a panic attack coming on. Now, I could do one of two things: 1. Berate myself internally because I wasn’t “strong enough” to handle the large crowd. Or 2. Be proud that I knew my signs of an oncoming panic attack and knowing what I can do to avoid it.
I choose number 2.
Often we forget to celebrate our successes. It’s your first shower in 3 days. Feel good about that. Write a positive note and stick it to your mirror so you can remember this feeling. You finally get the courage to leave the house and drive – go through the Starbucks drive-thru and get that whipped cream. Then just go home. You did it. You got out of the house. Start celebrating not just the big things, but the little, mundane things too. Because with every small victory in your fight with your illness, you grow stronger. And I want you to be a beautifully bipolar warrior.