Good afternoon, friends.
Today, I will be starting a new series on my blog called Self-Care Sundays. As a person who has some serious health burdens that I live with daily, I wanted to find a way to reach out to others who may be in a similar situation or state-of-mind as I am. There are a few bloggers, and immensely talented content creators, whom I follow and admire, that discuss their mental health with regularity on their personal spaces. I have watched them chat about how opening up has helped them greatly, as well the people that they have reached out to via those revelations.
I have always been super terrified of speaking about my mental health for fear of backlash, or judgment. But for the past year, I have come to accept myself for all that I am, including any and all health issues that persist within my body and mind. I don’t want to hide who I am or feel ashamed of it. My psychiatrist was quite encouraging about this when we discussed it, and he strongly believes that opening up will further help me with my acceptance as I move forward in life, as well as to help me increase my ability to cope with things when they occur. So, I’m starting this segment.
What you can expect from Self-Care Sundays will vary from quick, short snippets of the things that I did over the course of the week that has helped me deal or cope with a sudden trigger, or onset of episodes/symptoms to more detailed techniques that I utilise to manage and contain my conditions, to the occasional full-on personal journal-like entry about living with the condition, venting about current and past struggles, and more.
I hope you guys won’t mind this more personal and intimate look at who I am as an individual and the insight of what has led me to create and sustain BiblioNyan, because blogging is most-definitely one the main ways that I cope. While I love chatting about anime, books, and cats, I would like BiblioNyan to be a more welcoming space for everyone, and I want people who may be going through similar experiences to know that they are not alone, even if it’s only helping one individual. I also want my fellow bloggers and friends to get to know me as a person, not as the content that I produce.
** DISCLAIMER: I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist. I am simply one person who is reaching out and sharing their experiences and techniques that has helped them be able to move forward in life. Do not take anything that I say as medical advice as I am not a medical professional, and information provided here on BiblioNyan should not be construed as such. Thank you. **
I’m going to begin today by briefly describing the main conditions that I have that are things I combat on a daily basis and one of the ways that I cope or manage an aspect of it. I feel this would be a good place to kick-off.
Many of you who have been following me here and/or over on a Twitter for a bit are probably aware that I struggle with some mental health illnesses, chief among them agoraphobia, bipolar disorder, major anxiety disorder, and major panic disorder. What all of those fancy phrases mean is that I have days when my depression is terrible, called Low Days, and I have days where I feel like I’m on top of the world, called High Days. If I’m lucky, then I will have Neutral Days where I don’t really feel much of anything aside from contentment. I’m also easily prone to anxiety attacks from emotional triggers and social situations, which can lead to crippling panic attacks, and in a worst-case scenario, paranoia. The agoraphobia is the fear of leaving or going outside of my house, and sometimes for me this means even leaving the comfort of my bedroom. These are the most basic descriptions of what’s going on with me.
My biggest struggle lately has been with anxiety. I think with finally making the decision to go back to university, along with helping a dear friend of mine combat a toxic relationship that I’m all too familiar with, has heightened everything that triggers my anxiety. Usually when this happens, I feel nervous and uncomfortable with some spectrum of fear, and my heart palpitates horribly (amongst other physical symptoms), at least until the feeling goes away, and it can be so fucking difficult to work through it.
One of the ways that I have learned to help calm my anxiety is by finding a safe place where I can sit, closing my eyes, and imagining something very calming. When I do this, I tend to imagine flower gardens or places with beautiful scenery. I like to sit in a corner, so that my back and sides are protected, and I don’t have the fear of anyone being able to sneak up on me. I pull my knees to my chest and place my hands on the ground. By doing that I literally feel grounded and it allows me to focus my energy on the feeling of the carpet beneath my fingers. It helps alleviate fear and vertigo that comes with my anxiety. Then I just think about that park or garden and take slow, deep breathes until it all kind of fades away. If I’m lucky it goes away within five to ten minutes, if not then it takes much longer. I have placed pillows and a small stack of books in my safe corner, so that if I have to stay there for longer, I can keep my mind busy to fight off the fear and apprehension. When it takes longer, I do the exercise I’ve described until my fear and palpitations have calmed down enough for me to be able to try and do other activities. I don’t leave the safe spot, so I can continue to remain grounded, allowing myself to slowly feel safe and secure again. That is the most important part of dealing with anxiety for me, to stay totally grounded—metaphorically and physically.
So, that’s my introduction to Self-Care Sundays. I apologise if I seemed awkward in this post. Truth be told, I do feel a bit awkward and uncomfortable with being so open about such a candid part of my life. But I also think this will be very healthy for me, personally and blogger-wise, as I continue onwards. I can’t promise that every post will be happy and cheery, but I can promise that I will get better at doing these with time, and I will always be considerate and respectful of everyone who joins me on this new exploratory adventure.
Thank you for taking the time to visit me today. I am ever-so-grateful for your continued support. Until next time, happy reading and happy otakuing. 💜