I am interested in what distractions people use when dealing with their mental health. I asked on twitter if anyone was willing to write a guest post about distractions and Rose sent this in! Rose also wrote a guest blog for me recently and I am delighted she has returned!
The original post she wrote can be found here
Over to you Rose….
The art of distraction.
Why would I need distraction ?
When you are depressed there are many things that can help you to feel better, sulking about it isn’t one of them. It’s not hard to understand that sitting on the sofa or lying in bed all day isn’t going to make you happy, especially when your thoughts are mainly about the fact that you are not happy.
Now even though it’s not very helpful, it is natural that your depression is on your mind a lot, it’s a feeling that is impossible to ignore.
This is one of the reasons why distraction is recommended by healthcare professionals, to keep your mind busy with other things.
You might wonder why not just not think about bad things then ? Well, the best answer on that you can give yourself, with help of a little experiment.
When you are reading the rest of this post, don’t think about a cuddly pink bear, whatever you do don’t think about that cuddly pink bear! Got it? Good.
Another reason is that doing things that you use to enjoy can bring back the feeling of enjoyment. It won’t be there immediately and you might need support of medication to be able to feel enjoyment again but when there is any change its best noticeable with those things you use to love doing.
simple but not easy
when you are depressed, you don’t really want to do anything.
Especially when you are deep in the depression.
Then everything is heavy, its like walking with cement blocks on your legs and you are already tired before you even begin. Your concentration is gone and you are pretty sure that you will fail at everything you try.
Naturally your instinct is to just stay in bed and wait until it’s over but as we discussed earlier, that won’t help. It’s very hard to any motivation to do anything but keep remembering that it is important in getting better.
Last year I came to the point where I couldn’t bring myself to do anything any more and I was taking into hospital. In the psych ward they also work with distraction, they had a whole program mainly meant as a way to keep your mind occupied. That the program wasn’t optional helped me into doing things again, for a long time I just did them because I had to but then there where moments where I began to like it again. Following the program wasn’t optional what was a good thing as I wouldn’t have done it if it was.
What helped me a lot when I came out of hospital is having someone who reminded me that it was important to keep doing things and someone to help make plans so I didn’t spend too much time on thinking about what to do. Also a gentle kick in the behind is at times just what I need.
My favourite distractions
this is what I love doing the most, writing. Not only (hopefully) informative post but also fiction in form of short stories and poems usually. Also I am working on a novel that I would love to finish and publish it someday.
I often write as now in English but my novel really will be in my native language, Dutch.
It’s not only working as a distraction for me but is also therapeutic as writing is a good way to express myself.
There are times when writing is just too difficult because it requires either thought or inspiration, neither is my depressed brain very good in.
reading is also something I really like, when I find that I can’t concentrate enough to read myself I find that audio-books are a good alternative.
I also like to puzzle, I make simple soduku’s on my phone or on paper. Jigsaw puzzles are also a great thing to do. I puzzle quite obsessively and often, it works quite calming for me and gives a feeling of accomplishment when its finished. When concentration is low I stick to simple and small puzzles so it doesn’t become frustrating.
Games on phone or computer are also often played and the tv is well watched.
With dry weather I try to get out of the house at least once a day. before this week it was always work that forced me out but work had due to all kind of thing become too stressful so now I am home. So now I walk and bicycle to get my fresh air (exercise is good for body and mind)
another thing that I have to watch on is that I am not days alone, this is a difficult one for me.
I do have the need for social contact and others are a great source of enjoyment and distraction but getting in touch with people isn’t easy for me as an autistic person. I go by a friend and to my parents from time to time but don’t want to bother them too much. Not sure how I am going to solve that one to be honest but I’ll find a way.
About that bear
if our little experiment has worked (and if this post wasn’t too distracting) you will have found that you never have thought so much about a cuddly pink bear as you did now. When you try not to think about something then in trying to do that you constantly remembering not to think about it what causes you to think about it.
Redirecting your mind to something else is far more effective than just trying not to think about it.