I am currently using opposite action to save my social life. Learn how opposite action, a dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skill, is helping me.
Mental Illness Impact on Self
The relationships that I form with my personal training and online coaching clients are important, but they're also complicated. As a fitness professional, I fancy myself a peddler of good health. But in truth, the fitness industry is fraught with side effects and unintended consequences. Many of us use social media as a way to advertise our services. But as we label the photos we post of our abs as "fitness inspiration," many of us are willfully ignoring the fact that photos like these often make women feel worse, not better, and are perhaps contributing to body dissatisfaction and diminished self-esteem. Furthermore, in our efforts to help clients reach their fitness goals, we often find ourselves giving nutrition advice, which is outside of our scope of practice. Our clients trust us, and we want to form strong relationships with our clients. At the same time, it's important for us to keep in mind the complicated dynamics that go along with food -- and it's imperative that we don't matriculate our clients and followers into obsessive behaviors and disordered eating.
Why do you need to take care of your mental health over the holidays? For many people, the holiday season is a highlight of the year; with the holidays comes spending time with the ones we love, a vacation from work (albeit brief), reconnecting with old friends, and enough food and drinks to fill us until the new year. However, for other people, the holidays can be a nerve-wracking period filled with turmoil, negative interpersonal interactions, and complete and utter mental exhaustion. It is essential to stay mindful of the disparities that people experience during this time of year and to remain sensitive to the experiences of others. For those grappling with mental health difficulties, or any obstacles in general over the holidays, here are some tips for coping.
My mental health condition affects the breakups I've experienced. A breakup, or the ending of any relationship, can be one of the most devastating events that anyone may have to face in their life. As someone who used to describe myself as a serial monogamist, I sure have had my fair share of heartbreak. I understand that no one enjoys getting broken up with; however, I have noticed that breakups hit me harder than most. I have always been someone who feels extraordinarily deeply, both the good and the bad. This ability to feel deeply, combined with my mental health conditions, has affected how I experience breakups in a myriad of ways.
Depression damaged my relationship with my doctor because I learned I couldn't trust her. Just last year, I was diagnosed with a chronic autoimmune illness called Behcet's disease, but I've had it my whole life. Prior to diagnosis, my doctors treated my symptoms with heavy-duty steroids. It worked. The treatment wiped me clean of mouth ulcers, abdominal pain, migraines, knee swelling, and internal bleeding. It was like magic.
If you want to get on my bad side (for a few weeks, at least), appropriating my mental health is the swiftest and surest way to land yourself there. When I use the word "appropriate" I mean the seizing and claiming of something for oneself, in this context, a mental disorder.
I wish I knew better when my friend was suicidal. I was 12 years old. My brown curls were cut into sharp bangs that crossed my forehead, identical to the bangs of my best friend who sat facing me. She didn't look any different from the last time I saw her, still pale, still skinny. She wore a sweatshirt. And under the sleeves of that sweatshirt, I knew there were scars up and down the length of her arms. Three weeks prior, my friend was suicidal and she made her most recent suicide attempt. It was not her first nor her last. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
Being in a relationship with a partner who is experiencing suicidal ideations can be emotionally taxing and daunting. There is this complicated pattern in my dating life in that the partners I loved most threatened suicide at least once. I am still trying to figure out exactly why I am drawn to individuals who experience such turmoil. Perhaps it is because I had ideations when I was in high school, and I feel like these partners understand me. Maybe I cannot compartmentalize the social worker in me when it comes to dating, and I want to try and "save" everyone I meet. Regardless, here are the things I wish I had known when I dated someone who threatened suicide. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
There are difficulties with mental health therapy that you should know about when being treated for a chronic illness. I thought mental health therapy was going to be easy -- but it isn't. I experienced three difficulties with mental health therapy that I'd like to share.
You can cope with eating disorder triggers even though, as I often describe an eating disorder, there is a stubborn, little monster in the back of your head. It may lay dormant for days, months, even years, but when it arises, it wreaks havoc.