“I seek strength, not to be greater than others, but to fight my greatest enemy, the doubts within myself” – P.C. Cast
I am hard on myself. I always have been. More so than anyone else in my life. I have had some pretty good success in life, but it seems like the more I accomplish, the more I question if I’ve really done enough. It’s not necessarily a bad thing I don’t think. This mind set has helped me become who I am.
I’ve certainly had this mind set when it comes to improving my mental health. I like achieving. I like winning. So I’ve always been willing to take an extra step to improving my health and being the best I can be.
I’ve taken a year off school when I worked like crazy to get into the program I wanted to so I could focus on my health. I have seen multiple psychiatrists. I’ve had numerous therapists who I saw on a weekly or bi-weekly basis for years. I’ve been to different group therapies. I’ve been on numerous medications. These are just a few ways I’ve tried to improve my mental health over the years.
Despite these steps, I can’t help but think, am I doing enough? Am I doing enough to improve my obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms? Am I doing enough to improve my struggles with schizoaffective disorder? What else can I do? And why haven’t I done it yet? What can I do today? What can I do RIGHT NOW?
These are questions I’ve constantly asked myself. Usually on a daily basis. At times I’ve felt like I wasn’t doing enough. Maybe if I workout more or eat better it will help. Or get 10 hours of sleep a night instead of 8. Or if I switch up treatment plans or my daily routine.
I have a lot of doubt I suppose. I think a lot of this constant questioning stems from the fact that I’ve taken a few steps back in my mental health over the last few years. My rituals and compulsions have worsened. I’m a bit more fearful. I isolate more. Despite all of these steps I’ve taken, at times I’ve felt like they haven’t really helped me all that much. I still struggle on a daily basis. I worry at times what my symptoms will look like 5 years from now.
Since beginning my Mission to live my life to the fullest despite my mental illness, I’ve had a chance to visit some of these thoughts. I never really appreciated how hard I was being on myself. I’ve realized I’m doing a lot to help myself everyday. It might not be the “perfect” treatment plan, but it doesn’t have to be. The important thing is steps are being taken, and they are helping. I just need to realize it.
As I’ve written before, I’m trying to get 1% better each and everyday. One small thing to help you a day can go a long way. It can help lead to some pretty significant changes. In the last few weeks I’ve already felt some of these changes.
During my Mission, I have made it a priority not to ask myself “am I doing enough to improve my mental health?” Instead, I’ve approached it from a different mind set. I have begun to thank myself DAILY for all of the things I’ve done to help myself during the day and over the last few weeks, months and years. I write down 3 things I did the day before that I thought improved my day, and then I move on to the next.
This has had a powerful effect on me. It doesn’t make me question if what I’m doing is helping me. It relieved my anxieties. It has helped improve my confidence. And most importantly, it has made me feel better about my future.
I think it is common for those of us with mental illness to question whether we are doing enough to improve our mental health. Especially if we have been going through a challenging time in our life. We almost blame ourselves for what we are going through. We need to be more cognizant of the ways we are helping ourselves, and continue to focus on these aspects rather than search for a magic pill.
Thank yourself today for all of the ways you have helped yourself. Right them down if you can. You might be surprised with how many there actually are.
I’m going to continue to focus on the positive ways I’m helping myself each day, rather than engage in the constant search for something new. For something “better”. It’ll just leave me with more doubt and will not improve my mental health. I will continue to trust the mental health professionals I am working with right now. It has helped me so far, and that is all I am really looking for.