Someone commented on the Scott Inside Out facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/scottinsideout2) a while ago that they’d like to know how to “stop the slide”. This is an excellent question! It refers the ability to stop from getting depressed when things are going downhill for you. In my experience, the ability to do this has a massive benefit to quality of life for those of us who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
During the first eleven years of my bipolar journey, once I was on that slide I was not able to stop from going downhill. I would have a bad day, have a setback or two, and all of a sudden it was a downward spiral that I was not able to escape from. At that point in my life I was living reactively and was not proactively and consistently using tools and strategies to have stable mental health.
The way I view managing my bipolar disorder is much like the slide above. And I feel this could be applied to mental wellness and/or health in general. We all start our day with the ability to consciously choose our thoughts, emotions, feelings, and state of being. I see this as standing on the bottom rung of the ladder above. The more poor choices and reactive we are throughout our day, the higher up the ladder we go. The less proactive we are in our mental health, the higher up the ladder we go. And once we’ve made enough poor quality choices, living reactively (vs proactively), or lacking various actions, we stand at the top of the slide ready to go downhill. In my experience, it sometimes takes very little at that point for someone to start going downhill.
For myself personally, I’ve learned various tools and strategies that I do consistently to avoid being at the top of the slide. I’ve summarized them into the 7 Keys to Natural Mental Wellness . In the past I used to spring out of bed with my alarm, hop in the shower, quickly eat a high-refined sugar breakfast, and be out the door within thirty minutes. I now start my day much slower and consciously do various things to start my day off on a great note. For example, the first thing I do when getting up is a brief meditation while still lying in bed. This allows me to begin my day being centered, grounded, and calm.
As for stopping the slide while it’s happening, for me it’s about being honest and gentle with myself. To realize that I’m low and to take steps to reverse it. To not beat myself up for being low, but to take small steps to get out of it! To me, the biggest things to do are to serve and support others (friends, family, volunteering) and/or to take small actions. It could be to walk around the block. Reply to an email. Clean the fridge. Any small action to give you a sense of accomplishment. The sense of completion often makes me want to do another small action. Do enough of these, and the slide will come to an abrupt stop. This works for me.
I am so grateful to be at a point in my life now where I am never at the point of being at the top of the slide ready to go downhill. There are things I have put in place and many proactive actions I consistently do to keep me from being at the top of the ladder ready to go down.
What do you do to keep from sliding downhill?