We all do it, pretty much everyday.
We scroll through our newsfeeds or click on articles about politics or are bombarded by updates on shootings and it’s no wonder why so many of us are freaking out about the state of the world.
News, inherently, can be a major source of stress for people.
It can be even worse if you’re living with a mental illness.
Stress to schizophrenia is like a teapot. It builds slowly for a few minutes until it explodes and screams with delusions and paranoia and a touch of psychosis.
I’ve been there too many times to count.
Stress can cause havoc on your health and if you engage with it too often, pretty soon you’ll find yourself in a hole you can’t get out of.
This occurred with me a little over a month ago.
I couldn’t sleep, I was having delusions and I had developed a case of IBS.
At the time I was maintaining four different social media accounts, carefully crafting my identity and being bombarded everyday by news of Trump’s new exploits.
I was having a hard time keeping it all together and then I just kinda snapped.
I started thinking innocuous things on the internet were meant as veiled messages to me personally and with my experience of living with schizophrenia I knew then and there it was time to stop. I deleted all my accounts and went and laid down on my couch.
I’ve been off social media for about a month now and I feel vastly better.
The point of all this is to say that too much stress can be a serious thing and as people with mental illness we need to be extra cautious about how much we put on ourselves.
If you’re dealing with a lot of stress there are several things you can do for yourself right now.
First of all, You can step away from the computer.
Go for a walk in the neighborhood and then come back and have a good dinner and maybe some beer or wine.
We all need to enjoy the moments where we can relax.
In that vein you could also put on some calm music and pick up a book that you haven’t read because you spend your free time on facebook.
Another great way to relieve stress is to accomplish tasks that you have obligated for yourself.
Take a day and complete everything on your plate for the time being.
You’ll find that you’ll not only have a sense of pride and accomplishment but that you also feel better about the compounding obligations that are hanging over your head.
Finally if your source of stress is something substantial and you’d like a change but don’t know where to start, it’s ok to take a small break and consider your options, do a budget or do some research to figure out a way you can safely stop doing the thing that causes you stress.
Re-evaluating your situation with these big things is something we all need to do from time to time and if you can make it work it might be worth the risk of giving up that substantial thing.
Just know that in all of this you’re not alone. We’re all struggling with the best way to spend our time and the best way we can find to relax.