Let’s talk about mental health. Ataxia Notes #4

I have mentioned it many times, but I can write about it again – I suffer from the anxiety-depressive disorder, and I am treated with therapy and pharmacology. I have the impression that my ataxia is inextricably linked with mental difficulties. I have had an anxiety personality for a long time, but it was the ataxia diagnosis that suddenly brought depression and anxiety into my life. I have the impression that even if we think that we are somehow coping with the ataxia diagnosis, therapy is obligatory. It is impossible to pretend that it is ok. The ataxia diagnosis is not ok. It turns your life upside down. And if you do not know how to embrace it, I will tell you that there is only one thing you need to do – go to therapy. I recommend it to everyone, regardless of age and history.

Sometimes I think how lucky I am that for many past years mental health has been spoken so loudly and so openly. My mom didn’t have it. My mother didn’t have many things, but when she got sick she didn’t have support in the first place. I’m not going to inquire who was to blame for it, but the fact is that my mother was ashamed to reach for the professional help – that she needed.

I decided to mention it because recently I came across a beautiful picture. This picture brilliantly summarizes what is really important in anxiety prevention. And that’s exactly what I do. Here I will quote it and describe how I use it.

1. Remind your brain that you are safe

I often tell myself that in fact everything is fine and I compliment myself all the time – I tell myself how wonderful, beautiful, talented and valuable I am. And above all, safe. I recommend it with all my heart! And if you don’t feel it, you should ask yourself – why? Why don’t you feel safe? What are you afraid of? Fall, looking funny? Is there anything you can do to feel safe?

2. Find something you love and focus on it

It is an individual matter for each of us, but I have a list of things that I do to let my mind rest. Don’t be ashamed if these things are childish! I discovered after many years how great it is to play with LEGO! Or maybe you will like coloring, or maybe painting with simple paints, petting an animal, or maybe reading in bed or playing on a small console? Come up with something special and nice and do it.

There are so many online lists with inspiration, you can choose what you like and put that on your personal list:

3. Give your pain a silly name and tell it who’s boss

Oh, I love and use it all the time but since my entries are read by my family, I will not reveal who my stupid person is, haha! Have you watched Disney’s animation movie „Luca„? There, the protagonist talks about the „Silenzio, Bruno!” method in a very simple way. I recommend watching the whole movie and here you have just a small fragment:


4. Challenge all your catastrophic thoughts

This is probably my favorite method that has been with me for many years. When I feel worse, I try to find this harmful thought that is responsible for my state, and, in fact, I argue with it. Sometimes I do it on a piece of paper and write counter-arguments and using the eyes of my imagination I finish my negative thought, hit it on the head, and throw it out of my life!

Let’s say that you have some catastrophic vision. First, ask yourself if this happen before? Most often it turns out that we are afraid of something that has no chance to happen. But let’s assume it does. It is now time to review our internal resources. Can we handle this situation? Did we deal with it earlier? And why should we not deal with it now? And if not, what do we need to cope with it?

When we start to think about each problem in such an elaborate way, suddenly there are fewer things to fear. This is a good method.

I hope you will find some of the above things useful. I want to write more about mental health and more often because it is an important topic. And it affects all of us, even if we do not have ataxia.

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