Creating is one of my favorite coping mechanisms. Whether it's something unstructured like writing a poem or something like sitting down and writing an article, putting my negative energy into producing something I'm proud of is extremely cathartic. Sometimes it's just the thing to pull me out of a slump — otherwise known as an episode.

But sometimes the slump is too deep, the episode too severe. Sometimes even putting words to paper or picking up a paintbrush is too much. Right now feels like one of those moments and creating even in the slightest feels impossible.

Here we are. Baby steps.

We have to fight the urge to succumb to what the voices in our head tell us. Whether it's at the extreme of hurting yourself or engaging in a harmful behavior or simply indulging in your own sadness. The latter can be more harmful than it sounds. The latter can be the first step in getting bad again.

Get a piece of paper. Grab a pen. Open a blank document. Start typing. Pick up a guitar. Write or paint or play until your hands go numb. Create as if your life depends on it because sometimes it does. Even if it's nonsense. Pull the words — the color, the notes, anything — out of the mind that's being poisoned by the harmful thoughts. Let the words live.

It takes a lot to pull yourself out of the depths of mental illness. And the process is exactly that: a process. However your process starts — a conversation with a friend, a text to a hotline, a visit to a hospital, an appointment with a therapist — the little things that keep your process going are just as important.

May this serve as a reminder to return to whatever that means for you today.