The important bit at the beginning
First thing’s first – you need to know that this post makes a (tongue in cheek) mention of suicide and suicidal thoughts. Please be aware of the subject matter and proceed with a level of caution appropriate to your state of mind.
If you need help with thoughts that put you at risk of harm please get in touch with someone. ANYONE will do, but contacting the Samaritans is as good a place as any to start.
The end of the important bit at the beginning.
This post began life as an on-going conversation with my psychotherapist, Mrs Mountain. I have fortnightly appointments with Mrs Mountain* and we talk about all the mental things that live in my head so I can figure out how best to live alongside them. For the past few months we’ve talked a lot about reducing the impact of any future ‘bad patches’ on my life, or in other words, we’ve been making a grand plan for the next time WeeGee goes bananas. It looks a bit like this:
WeeGee’s no nonsense guide to surviving a serious case of the doomy gloomies
- Don’t kill yourself
It has been scientifically proven that killing yourself dramatically reduces your chances of surviving, ergo, if you hope to survive a serious case of the doomy gloomies it is VERY IMPORTANT that you don’t kill yourself. The best way to avoid killing yourself is to NEVER, EVER try to kill yourself: no matter what your broken brain is telling you, no matter how easy it seems, no matter how desperate you feel.
The simple fact of the matter is that you will NOT feel like killing yourself forever, because the feeling you have is like all of the other feelings you’ve ever had: temporary. Being dead, on the other hand, is not temporary at all – in fact, being dead is just about as permanent as it gets.
The doomy gloomies suck, for sure, but being dead is WAY suckier and, unlike the doomy gloomies, being dead won’t go away.
- Don’t buy an Audi on hire purchase
Make no mistake about it: the doomy gloomies will fill your head full of nonsensical nonsense. And this nonsensical nonsense will make buying a brand new Audi on hire purchase – or giving your worldly possessions to a cat shelter; or running away to the circus; or embarking on a single-handed round the world trip in a homemade cardboard canoe – seem like a great idea.
Of course any one, or indeed all of these ideas may be COMPLETELY AWESOME, but while you’ve got a serious case of the doomy gloomies it really is best if you get a second opinion before you make any big decisions about your life.
You’ll have to live with your decisions long after the mental has left the building and it’ll be tough enough to put your life back together without having to worry about finding new homes for the 32 baby penguins you adopted because you thought they would take your mind off things.
- Don’t stick your head in a giant vat of red wine
Sorrows float, or in other words, you CANNOT drown a serious case of the doomy gloomies in gin and tonic.
Self-medicating is tempting and, for a little while, alcohol may well help you forget about the horror living in your head; it may even make you feel better for a time. The trouble is, any relief you get will be short lived because of that thing about sorrows floating. Add to that the impact that alcohol has on all kinds of important things like sleep, and appetite, and general state of mind and it doesn’t take much working out that far from helping with a serious case of the doomy gloomies, sticking your head in a giant vat of red wine is only going to make matters one hell of a lot worse in both the medium and longer term.
- You think therefore you’re mental
Whenever I get a serious case of the doomy gloomies I find myself wishing that I could find a way to make my brain stop. The doomy gloomy thoughts never stop, they just seem to rattle round getting louder, and more intrusive, and more distressing until it feels like they are going to explode out of my ears and into the atmosphere.
Needless to say, I’ve spent a long time searching for the elusive pause button but if I’m completely honest I don’t think it exists and since you can’t stop the thoughts the only thing for it is DISTRACTION.
There are all kinds of ways to distract yourself: I once spent an afternoon marching round my flat singing “I can do this, YES I CAN” to the tune of Bob the Builder and it worked a treat because I managed to not jump out the window.
It doesn’t really matter how you distract yourself, but when the thoughts start taking over it’s really important that you do SOMETHING:
- Make a cup of tea
- Take a shower
- Watch TV (quiz shows are particularly good because they make you think about something different)
- Clear out your wardrobe
- Walk around the block
- March around your flat singing “I can do this, YES I CAN” to the tune of Bob the Builder.
- It’s good to talk
Tell someone you are in the midst of a really serious case of the doomy gloomies because it shouldn’t be a secret, and because they might have something sensible to say, and because – despite what your brain is telling you – YOU DON’T NEED TO BE ALONE WITH THE DOOMY GLOOMIES.
If you only do one thing: tell someone about it because, after all, it’s good to talk.
- Look after your life
Of all the lessons I’ve learned about surviving a serious case of the doomy gloomies this one is by far the most valuable:
Keep on doing all the right things, even if it doesn’t feel like doing all the right things is helping, because eventually all the right things WILL come together and help.
As a bare minimum surviving a serious case of the doomy gloomies means:
- Keeping yourself nourished: you feel doubly mental when you’re hungry.
- Getting enough rest: the doomy gloomies are exhausting so give yourself a chance
- Taking basic care of yourself: showers, fresh air and exercise KICK DOOMY GLOOMIES IN THE GONADS.
- Taking your prescription meds: White coat dudes know what they’re talking about
- Keeping a roof over your head and paying the bills: because ADULT and because roofs are nice.
You need to take whatever energy you have and make sure these things keep happening. Trust me on this – make a checklist, take all day to do it, get help if you need to, but, no matter what you do, MAKE SURE THESE THINGS keep happening.
- Start again tomorrow
Tomorrow always comes – it doesn’t always feel better, but it arrives without fail and it gives you a great big ginormous chance to start over again. Wherever the doomy gloomies took you today, draw a line under it and take your chance tomorrow. Start again, keep on keeping on, don’t give up and HOLD ON TIGHT. You’ve got a life time’s worth of tomorrows to play with and there’s NOTHING the doomy gloomies can do to change that
Love you all lots like jelly tots,
*If you’re wondering how I swung that on the NHS I didn’t. But that’s a whole other story.