I have post an entry about my deceased roommate, Mike. How it was hard and still is to get over his death. I decided to write an entry about how to cope with death when having mental illness. Now, normally when I give advice, it’s not only from my experience, but also research. I was surprised how there is no article of how to cope with death when you already have depression. Most of these articles discussed having depression AFTER a death of someone. The death is what led the depression. However, nothing that discussed if someone who has bipolar disorder, borderline, personality disorder, schizophrenia, and etc. to deal with death. I find it shocking to tell you the truth. So this entry will be straight up from my experience. Hopefully, the techniques that I use can help someone.
One, do not, and I repeat… do not be alone. If you live with family or cool roommates, that’s great! You’re ahead of the game. Ask them to stay with you and be by your side. I am sure they are going to do so anyway, but just in case, let them know how much of wreck you’re going to be and how… lack of better words… “needy” you will be. Because let’s face it, death of someone close will trigger your depression. It will increase your paranoia and anxiety. For people with schizophrenia, seeing and hearing stuff will increase. This is when you are going to be too vulnerable to even protect yourself. So yes, having someone there is necessary.
If you’re like me and you don’t live with family and have no roommates, then ask for someone to stay with you for a bit. Okay, okay, okay, before I proceed on, I know my friends are reading this with a squished up facial expression while twitching their eyes. I did NOT ask my friends to stay with me. My best friend stayed with me for a couple of days. Like usual I was trying to push her away, because I did not feel that thrilled showing a whole new level of vulnerability to her. Also, my pride got in the way. I was like, “I ain’t no child! I don’t need no babysittah! Get the f*ck outta here!” (in the most Brooklyn-est accent). But fortunately, my friends knows how prideful, stubborn, and a handful I can be in times like these so they were relentless as well. I pushed, they pushed back harder. It would be the only way I would accept their love and care. So my best friend was like, “Aaaawww, poor Michy! Too bad. You got a babysitter and I ain’t going nowhere”
Though I hated it at the time, it is what I needed. I think that’s what everybody needs. Again, don’t be alone! Go to a friend’s house, go to a Starbucks, go to a park, go anywhere that has a people you can talk to. You don’t have to say, “so-so died” but a small chat can brighten the mood. The key thing is to keep you from feeling lonely. Once you feel lonely your thoughts consume you and you will start feeling hopeless. Feeling hopeless can lead you into doing something you will regret.
Besides surrounding yourself with people, what else you should do? Have distractions. Distractions are going to be so helpful in this moment. Play games that challenges your mind, because it will pull your brain to think about the puzzle that needs to be solve than thinking about death. Buy a coloring book. It’s an artistic way to get you head out of negative thoughts. I bought play dough. It’s artistic, but hands on, ya know? Whatever that keep yourself busy without your mind going into the deep end, is great.
You know what else is great? Self-care! You should have known that was coming. God knows how many times I have discussed the importance of self-care. But it’s true! Brushing your teeth, taking a shower, eating healthy, exercise, and pampering yourself, does help. At the time, did I want to do any of that? No! I just wanted to stay in bed under the cover and cry until I fall asleep. Wake up to binge watch shows until I fall asleep. Then do it all over again. To me that sounded like the perfect plan, but I knew it will not help to get better and it won’t help me in current situation. Am I saying go to the gym 2 hours a day, go on a vegan diet, and bathe yourself in lake Minnetonka? What am I? Crazy? Don’t answer that question… What I am saying is, if your BO seems a bit stronger than usual, then take a shower dude. If you’re feeling a little light headed, eat something! It’s most likely from the lack of food intake. If you’re having insomnia, because you have been depression sleeping during the day, then go outside and take a walk. Just do your best on the self-care and try to do it as frequent as possible. Before you know it, you will be back on track.
If you’re on meds, please continue to take them. If they don’t have the same affect anymore, explain the situation to your psychiatrists. You might be prescribed a higher dose. Also, keep communication with your therapist. If you usually see your therapist once a month or once every 3 months, but a passing of a friend occurred and you have just seen them recently, schedule another visit immediately. Explain to them a death has happened and you want to schedule an appointment right away. The psychologists should be able to understand and accommodate the best date for the both of you to meet right away. As I have mentioned, I don’t have a therapist and a psychiatrists right now, so I did not take those steps. However, it did cross my mind for individuals who have access to that.
Most importantly, be honest with yourself and be mindful on what’s going on. I am saying to be honest, because we tend to be in denial about the circumstances at the moment. Sometimes we don’t want to face the truth. I know in my previous entry I have stated it was hard to come to terms of not seeing Mike anymore. But I have to eventually face up to the truth of the situation. Also, I say to be mindful so you are constantly aware of your thoughts and emotions. Stay in tune of yourself. If you’re moody, pause and ask yourself why you are moody and what caused it. Picking up on these things can help with the healing process. For example, I kept away from social media because I noticed I felt like shit every time I logged on. I asked myself, “Why do I feel like this?” The posts of my friends about Mike flooded on my feed. Private messages of condolences were piling up. I couldn’t take it anymore. So I kept away from social media.
I hope my tips have helped. To recap… surround yourself with people, practice of self-care, continue meds and follow visit with therapist, be mindful and honest with yourself. Going through a lost is really tough and you will never get over the person. It is said that times heals all, but I don’t think so in this case. You won’t heal completely and it won’t stop hurting, but you learn to manage with the unfortunate circumstance in time. Just take it one day at a time.
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