Wednesday, 10 April 2019

What to do when you can't do anything

As someone who's mental state is about as stable as a 3-legged Ikea chair, I'm well experienced in not feeling able to do anything. To being stuck, unable to move, in bed for days on end being periodically visited by family members to check that I'm still, in fact, breathing. On these days the world is dark and painful, and it's nothing short of an understatement to say that living moment to moment is the only way of making it through.

When I feel like this which, thankfully, I haven't felt in a while, there are very few things that I feel able to do. Through my experience, however, I've put together a list of actions that I'd recommend you try. If you don't manage them, who cares, this is just what I've put together. Take care of you, and do whatever it is you feel able to.

Open the window

When in the midst of a BPD attack the last thing I want is sunlight. Remember that scene in Sex in the City where Carrie walks straight into the Mexican resort, lies down on the bed and instructs her friends to close the shutters? That's me. I become sensitive to light and the darkness is both comforting and easy to handle.

What's not comforting, however, is the headache that I get when stuck in a stuffy room for too long. When I've had attacks in the past I've, luckily, been at my mum's, where I was relegated to the box room after leaving for university when my brother took over my room.

The size of the room meant that it got very stuffy very quickly, and so opening a window, even if only for half an hour, was incredibly beneficial in clearing the air and preventing me from getting a headache. When you're feeling mental pain, the last thing you want is added physical pain as well. If you can't manage it yourself, as a friend or family member to do it for you. It's a simple action, but one that can really freshen your room.

Drink a glass of water

This is another one geared towards avoiding headaches, although keeping hydrated never hurt anyone.

When feeling low, different people have different attitudes towards food. Some people find themselves able to eat, some people find themselves overeating and some people find themselves unable to eat at all. However your body and stomach are feeling, trying to get at least one glass of water into your system is a bonus. Not only will it help ease any stuffy-headedness, but it'll also help you stay hydrated while your brain and body take the rest it wants to take. Can't manage a whole glass? Sip as much as you can throughout the day or place a cup of ice chips in a cup next to your bed to place in your mouth when you feel able to, anything to get some fluids into your body.

Get out of bed, straighten your bed, get back in your bed

When we spend days on end under the covers, things can get a little messy. Crumbs, tissues, stray hairs, our beds can start to feel a little uncomfortable, but changing your bed sheets can often feel like too much of a challenge. If this is the case, but you still want to feel more comfortable, simply get out of bed, wipe the crumbs from your sheet and straighten your pillow, and get back in again. It may seem small, but even the accomplishment of managing something so easy can make the world of difference.

Rinse with mouthwash

This is a personal one for me, but the thought of not brushing my teeth can leave me feeling on edge. My mum is a dental hygienist, and I will forever be scarred by the image of a puss-engorged gum she showed me when I was eight. My teeth don't always take front row in my priorities when I'm feeling low, but it's important to me to do my best.

Sometimes, however, brushing your teeth can just feel too much. When you're only making it out of bed to use the bathroom, standing for two minutes plus to keep your teeth clean can seem like the least appealing thing in the world. If this is the case, and you want to add some minty freshness to your day, try simply rinsing with mouth wash. Or, if that feels too daunting, try flossing from your bed. It's important to take baby steps and do only what you feel you can manage, without pushing yourself before you feel ready.

Change your pyjamas

In the same category as straightening out your bed, it's easy to feel a tad icky when you've been in the same pyjamas for days on end. If you don't feel up to showering and freshening up entirely, there are few things as comforting as a fresh set of pjs, or even a clean T-shirt if that's all you feel up to. When you're feeling on the edge of a black hole, it's not so much about what you feel able to do, it's about what you can manage without pushing yourself too far.


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