Learning to Balance My Mental Health

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This is the first time I am writing for a website that is not a personal blog, and I’m excited! I believe that to help me heal as a part of my mental health journey; I must share my story. Using my voice allows me to show others that we are not as isolated as our minds tell us. 

I want to talk about a few things I have been struggling with, and I’m trying to work on. The last few weeks have been particularly difficult for me; I have had to deal with loss, starting a new job, starting classes and taking care of a new little kitten. I went from living with my family with very little responsibility in Malta, which is a small island country in the Mediterranean Sea; to moving back to Chicago. I got a new apartment, I currently live on my own but have a brilliant neighbor, and met new friends in school. I enjoy my classes; I am getting new opportunities every day. I love absorbing new ideas and using dialogue to create knowledge, and everything is exciting for me. 

To ensure I continue living a healthy life, I have a checklist of things I need to cross off so I know my mental health is on point. The list includes a few essentials like personal-hygiene, eating healthy, sleeping properly, having a support system, going to therapy and taking my medications.

Personal Hygiene: 
Taking a shower every day may seem out of the ordinary for people, but when you have depression, there are days you just don’t want to get out of bed. Showering and wearing fresh clothes helps me feel a little better. 

Balanced Diet: 
Sugar, caffeine, and processed food are foods that can potentially make you feel depressed or anxious. Overconsumption of them for fuel can make you feel unbalanced and foggy. Getting to a place of balance with fruits, veggies, carbs, protein, and fun foods in your diet can help your mental health. 

Sleeping & Medications: 
In therapy, I told my therapist that the three biggest problems I’m having right now are; sleeping, eating and finding a balance in my work and studies. It has been difficult; I have not been able to sleep properly for some time. When I started my medications back in April, a small dosage of Zoloft, I was having problems sleeping then as well. I was prescribed melatonin because I had weird dreams and interrupted sleep patterns which have help. Quality sleep is so important towards keeping your mental health in check. 

Self-Care: 
Along with the stress of work and class, I feel I don’t have enough hours in the day. I am trying to balance these aspects, and I’m trying to work on myself, but sometimes I forget to meditate. For my self-care, I spent a lot of time making art and taking photographs. I also find cleaning my room or washing the dishes helpful because it releases my anxiety. 

I am working on taking better care of myself by working on getting quality sleep and eating a more balanced diet. I am not a professional but have 14 years of lived experience with mental health illnesses. I have been diagnosed with borderline personality traits, major depressive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. I was in an inpatient and outpatient program earlier this year and now I am in graduate school, and working with young children. I’m writing these posts to put my story out there to help others, even if my story helps just one person. 

Written by Sanya Singh