Friday, 19 February 2016

This Shadow Life - Taking a Day Off from Mental Health

I have this pretty sweet set up at work at the moment where instead of working five eight hour days, I work four ten hour days.
Now, when people find out about this they always seem to imagine me doing something glamorous on my day off. Like sipping coffee in a trendy cafe or out meeting boys at the park. Or at the very least they imagine me being productive by cleaning my house or catching up on laundry.

Honestly all that couldn't be further from the truth because for the most part I actually use my day off as a day off from mental health. My day off is like a free day to wallow in depression, go for a relaxing walk, binge on netflix, listen to sad/angry music, and basically just give in to my disease. It's a day when I don't have to be strong and together. I don't have to get dressed if I don't want to. I don't have to answer the phone if I don't want to. I don't have to do anything. 
That's not to say that I spend every day off in my room with the curtains drawn and heavy music playing while I stare blankly at the ceiling or cry my eyes out into my pillow. Some days I'm a normal person and I get stuff done, but the option is always there.

Some people probably think that having a day off from mental health is kind of counterproductive. Like all week you do your best and take a few steps forward, but then you have one day to give in and you take a million steps back. 
Frankly I don't think this is true. I think that having to be strong and working at your mental health all the time so that you can function like a normal person is exhausting. It's one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. and I have discovered in the past that when I try and keep it up all day every day, I'll last a while but eventually I will break and everything will come crashing down and there aren't enough sick days in the world to give me enough time to pull myself back together before another day at the office. 
Allowing myself some time off each week has given me a little release valve. A little bit of time when I can just let it all go and acknowledge my pain without having to feel like a failure for doing so. 

I can't be strong all the time... 

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