Learn To Negotiate With Yourself
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Politics and Activism

Learn To Negotiate With Yourself

Sometimes you have to meet yourself halfway.

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Learn To Negotiate With Yourself
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There are a lot of different ways that people learn to cope with their mental illnesses. There are countless books written on the topic, as well as social media posts, and online articles (some even written by yours truly). Everyone has a different set of methods that work under different circumstances. Some people discuss how to prevent certain symptoms, or how to lessen the severity of them. Other writers still, discuss how to alleviate symptoms once they've shown up on your doorstep. All of these approaches are important and can be utilized in different ways at different times depending on what you're going through.

However, that's not what this article is about. This article is about what you're going to have to do on the days when your symptoms are at their absolute worst. None of your mediating measures worked and you can't fathom getting out of bed let alone getting to class or to work. You're at your lowest low in a while and it seems like it would just be easier to not move from underneath your covers for the next twenty-four to seventy-two hours.

I know it's tempting to become one with your mattress. I've been there many times and I'm sure I'll end up at that point a few more times in the future. I know how enticing it is to just give up for a while, but you can't. And even if you could, you deserve better than that.

To get through your worst days, your lowest points, you're going to have to negotiate with yourself. I talk to my depressed self the same way I would talk to a toddler, to be quite honest. You have to learn how to meet yourself halfway. It's okay if you can't do everything because you don't mentally or physically have it in you. But you still have to do something.

When you're at the lowest of your low points, it's going to be difficult to do even the basic maintenance things for yourself. I'm not talking about the flowery, bath bomb and fuzzy blanket version of self-care and self-maintenance. I'm talking about taking a shower, brushing your teeth, changing your underwear, and all the other things that you take for granted when you have the energy and mental capacity to take care of yourself. You're going to feel like you don't have the energy to, and that even if you did have the energy to, you still wouldn't want to do any of it.

This is when negotiation is going to have to come into play. There have been days when I've laid in bed after my alarm goes off in the morning and wondered how little I could do to get ready before going to class, if I was even going to make it to class at all.

What does this negotiation sound like? It's going to sound different for everyone, especially the better that you get at talking yourself into taking basic care of yourself when you can. But, for reference, here are actual things that I've said to myself at one point:

"Alright I don't have to brush my hair, I can just put it up in a bun. I at least have to brush my teeth, though."

"I don't have the energy to shower this morning. Which is fine. I need to run a washcloth over my face though."

"I can wear sweatpants to school, I guess. But I need to at least get out of these pajamas since I should've washed them about a week ago at this point anyway."

"Getting to campus is a good enough start. I don't have to make it to every class today. I can sit in the library and work at my own pace."

"All I've eaten today is a cookie and a coffee. But it's something which is better than nothing."

It's not glamorous. And the reality of it is that these aren't things that people normally reward themselves for. But then your original plan was to just stay in bed and sleep and possibly cry the day away, every action is a victory. They don't have to be large victories, but even just getting yourself out of bed in the morning is a good start. Get a glass of water if nothing else. Eat one granola bar. Put on clean underwear and sweatpants and take it from there.

There are going to be times where you might not have the wherewithal to do everything that you need to. It's going to be frustrating, but instead of beating yourself up even more and driving yourself even farther down the spiral that you're on, learn to do what little you can at the time. Start teaching your brain how to meet you halfway. Start learning how to work with yourself and negotiate with yourself. It's going to make things much easier in the long-run.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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