Why It's Okay To Take a Mental Health Break
Last week I had a melt down. Nothing dramatic as falling out, screaming or crying. No, my meltdown was far more subtle than that. I found myself feeling frazzled and un-moored. It took me a good few days to realize that I was dealing with a particularly bad bout of depression. Suffering from depression can often feel like you are on a roller coaster. Most days I feel fine for the most part and others not so much. But the "not so much" days have been few and far between lately. And well, I got complacent. Last week was an entire 7 days of "not so much". I felt guilty about my lack of motivation to do, well, anything really. What I wanted to do was to stay in bed and watch mindless TV and wait for the feeling to pass. Which it did - eventually. But looking back on that shitty week has made me really think about how hard we are on ourselves when we need to simply take a break and a moment, day or week to ourselves. We are programmed to go, go, go and when we stop going we are left with feelings of guilt.
As a society, we often put aside our sense of well being to just push through the obligations we have in our lives., whether they be work, kids, or relationships. Get through the day. Finish the job. Just...get on with it. And that consistent ignoring of our internal barometer can leave us running on empty. Which is basically how I felt during that week. I suffer from what is sometimes called "high-functioning depression". Which means I suffer from depression, but I get up and go to work everyday and can do my normal "daily" functions. But the truth is most people are high-functioning. We are great at ignoring our own feelings and thoughts. We, get on with it. Those days of just getting on with life can stack up against you. Because despite all the noise we still have to live inside of our own bodies and minds, and those things won't be ignored forever. If you have a bad knee and continually run on it, eventually it will start to hurt and act up. I often feel like mental health is the same way.
So my advice to you on this Monday if you are feeling particularly horrible - whether you suffer from depression or not - is to take a break. Take that one day if you can to just not do anything - and not feel guilty about it. Or at least try not to feel guilty about it. Take that day to have a conversation with yourself and to re-prioritize if you need to. Whatever needs to be done will still be there tomorrow.