This is how I cope with a bad day. I say a bad day but it can last for weeks. As I am healing more the week long or month long stretches of depression and anxiety along with my other symptoms have decreased but I still have bad days and bad weeks. I hope the month long episodes are over with but for now I just try to cope with each day as it comes.
The other day I woke up and I just didn’t want to get out or bed. I had to realize that it’s not a failing of mine that I was feeling depressed. I also reminded myself that I am not just like everyone else that doesn’t have CPTSD. I tend to treat myself that way and expect a lot but not that day. I was self aware enough to understand what was happening in order to try and help myself cope.
I took some time to do some mindfulness meditation with grounding sprinkled in where I needed it. This is a practice that has greatly helped in reducing my suffering that goes along with anxiety. There was a time that meditation exacerbated my anxiety but I am now past that stage of learning. I used to not be able to focus on my breath at all. Over time this have changed and meditation is now invaluable. The breathing technique I use is simple and effective. I breathe in a big long inhalation, hold it for a slow count of 1,2,3, then exhale and try to exhale out all the air I can. I repeat this a few times and it almost always helps to calm the anxiety and the intrusive thoughts.
Basic selfcare seems to fall by the wayside when I am depressed when in fact, keeping up with the basics can help me feel better. Ignoring the fact that I need things like food and water can make me feel worse. So I do my best to work on eating healthy, drinking water, basic hygiene and rest. Some days, that’s all I can get done and that’s ok too.
Writing my feelings down can help a lot. Not the details of flashbacks and nightmares but the actual feelings. An example: I feel down, sad, angry, exhausted, like I am not able to do things, overwhelmed, frustrated, scattered, unable to focus or create, and confused. I can further use compassionate self talk to get myself through the mix of feelings. Changing my relationship with myself is slow but I am doing much better when it comes to being kind to myself. Based on what I wrote in the example, I need rest. It is frustrating that I am a human with basic human needs while having to fight mental illness that also effects me in a major physical way.
I also talk to myself about trying again a little later or the next day. With fatigue that is caused from CPTSD it can be difficult to get on with the day. It’s ok to feel quiet and need time to myself. Bad days are not the time to be making any major life decisions or changes. There can be this feeling for me that something needs to change, almost like a desperation but usually I just need to take good care of myself. The feelings that are so difficult to deal with in the moment do pass. I just have to keep breathing and get through those times the best I can with my coping techniques.
A lot of days lately have been more difficult. It’s been a rough time with the deaths, the covid pandemic, lost friendships, accepting my illness, and why it happened. It can seem easier for me to ignore the problems, push forward anyway, and live in a state of dissociative denial. In the long run, I have to process and care for myself or I will crash. I am feeling a bit stuck and burnt out from all the daily anxiety and struggle to get my mind to focus. The beginning of healing is excruciating but the middle part where I am now is also exhausting. Many days are better than they have been but it is still difficult years later.
I will keep working toward less symptoms, awareness of what is going on with me to help myself, and practicing coping skills. Grieving and loss are very difficult to deal with under normal circumstances and even more difficult during pandemic. If you are being hard on yourself like me, try being compassionate instead. We are all just humans trying to get through another day in this world. I hope we all can find some peace.