Let’s start with some definitions of fashionista why don’t we …
Merriam-Webster: a designer, promoter, or follower of the latest fashions
Dictionary.com: a very fashionable person, especially one who works in the fashion industry
Cambridge: someone who works in or writes about the fashion industry
No, dear readers, I know I’ve been away from the blog for quite a while now, but I’m still the jeans’n’tshirt kinda gal I was before. I haven’t turned into a fashionista as defined above. So if you came across this post because you were looking for a good read on high fashion, you won’t find it here. I know nuttin’ ’bout it.
What I do however know a little somethin’ somethin’ about is me. And my mental health. Or lack thereof as the case has been since I last wrote on this blog. So if you substitute the word fashion in the above definitions for the words mental health, here’s what you get. Or more correctly what I get since I’m the one switching things up around here …
Merriam-Webster: a designer, promoter, or follower of the latest mental health topics [my body designs mine for me but I design the accessories; I promote the idea of talking about mental health; I follow mental health related blogs]
Dictionary.com: a very mentalhealthABLE person, especially one who works in the mental health industry [yes, I am able to take care of my own mental health but nope, don’t work in the industry, I’m in hospitality, close enough]
Cambridge: someone who works in or writes about mental health [did before, back at it now finally, and it ain’t no work at all to do so]
Ok, long story short that I’ll save for future posts … (see that? I said future posts. I AM going to write again. Woot woot!)
Depression crept back into my life last summer. Largely attributed to my current perimenopause state of mind and body. And when you’re in pre-menopause and have history of depression (I have plenty), apparently you’re at a very elevated risk of it returning during this life transition phase. And it did for me.
Enough said on that. Back to the post I want to write …
According to wikiHow.com, there are nine steps to becoming a fashionista. And since I landed on that page while aimlessly surfing the internet trying to figure out how I would write about the only words stuck in my head – Blue Is The New Black – and to multitask in telling you why I haven’t been blogging for so long, tell you I’m back, and also put a fun spin on depression, this is what I ended up with:
9 Steps To Become A MentalHealthIsta
[Copyright 2017 Marianne. But do I really need to say that? Who else would write something like this???]
Grabba cuppa folks, this is going to be a long one. But hey, I’ve got time to make up for so what the heck …
1) Do your homework. I’ll keep this one simple. Get professional advice. I went to my primary care practitioner to be properly and medically assessed. This round of depression for me was ‘looking’ very different from previous rounds I’ve had in the ring with it, so I wasn’t even really sure myself. Also good for my grades with depression schooling was seeking out more information on the meds I was prescribed, understanding the menopausal link, support sources, and so on.
2) While doing your homework, keep a journal of all the looks and clothes that you like. Yep, keep a journal alrighty. It works wonders for me. Could be about your moods and any changes, other physical things like sleep or eating habits, tracking meds, etc. And hey, since you’re at it, might as well throw in a gratitude list too. Google has lots to say about how gratitude can improve mental health. It does for me.
3) Check out the items of clothing, jewelry, accessories, etc. that you already have and see if there is anything you can use. What helps you? Maybe rest, exercise, drinking more water, socializing, reading, listening to music? I use all of those things and they are always at my quick and free access.
4) Have good hygiene. Also known as basic self-care. Goes a long way in feeling good about yourself. And for me, it’s one of the first things to go when my mental health is suffering. I sadly have to admit that I could go days without showering and that’s not like me under ‘normal’ circumstances at all. Pleased to report that it has already been mended. So if you smell something bad while reading this post, it ain’t me. I showered and put deodorant on today.
5) Buy some stylish clothing based on the information in your journal. Review those notes you’ve been so good about jotting down. You have been good about that right? What puts a little perk in your step, a little sparkle in your eyes? To some, fashion is an investment. To me, doing things that make me feel better is an investment too. An investment in me. I’ve paid enough dues to have depression. But doing what makes me happy and not giving a poop about what others think about that, well that’s a cost I’m willing to pay. And, the ROI on it – priceless if I do say so myself. And I just did. So there.
6) Get a unique or cool hairstyle that suits you. Mental health is varied and diverse. So are treatment options. There is ‘no one size fits all’ in the department store of life section called mental health. But there are lots of fitting rooms and attendants aka doctors and other health professionals to help you find what looks good on you. I’ve heard shopping is a form of therapy (does the phrase retail therapy ring a bell?). So go shopping why don’t you. Shop where it will matter most and find something unique and cool for you. My hair might be really grey, but my nurses are helping me tame the cowlicks and crowns on my head, and that suits me beautifully.
7) Don’t forget to accessorize and wear good shoes. I couldn’t just take my ‘happy pills’. I had to put some effort in to it myself. I had to take up my nurse’s other suggestions too. I had to do some other things that used to/I thought might help. My best accessory? The telephone. As hard as it was and sometimes still is, I had to pick up the darn phone. First, it was to my nurse. Then, it was to the mental health nurse she referred me to for counselling. That call took about a month to make. Phones can be pretty heavy sometimes. And the other key one for me was calling my AA sponsor. Fortunately, I have a really good and close relationship with them, so that phone call didn’t feel so heavy.
8) Put everything together. Yeah I know, easier than it sounds, trust me I do know. But things can and do start to come together, especially after the previous steps have been taken. It could even just be ‘little things’. One of those for me meant getting my butt off of the computer (not the actual computer silly, the computer chair!), getting out of my PJs, getting into the car, driving to the grocery store and buying food, real food, for my kids and I to eat. No, the kids didn’t starve before but they were getting sick of eating takeout let me tell you. And now that I’m a good half-year in of the medical treatment and counselling that is working for me, other bigger things are starting to come together too. I’m working on some great spring cleaning. I’m taking some courses through my work union. And finally, FINALLY, the bug to write has returned.
9) Now that you’re a fashionista, keep up with the trends but remember to always be you! For me this has meant I can’t just stop taking my ‘happy pills’. Am I happy that I ‘have’ to take them? Nope, not thrilled at all to be honest with you. But I am extremely grateful to have them. And I’ve resigned myself to know that I’ll probably be on them for a few years to come, at least until I get past all of the wonkiness of menopause. I take four pills a day to stabilize my brain for my epilepsy. It keeps me alive. So now, for a while at least, I’ll take one more pill a day to also stabilize my brain for my depression. It’s keeping me alive too and coming from a twice attempter of suicide, I’d say that’s a pretty damn good thing.
A post-script on the #9 one – it also says this: “You don’t just want to be a trend follower. Also try to be a trend setter!” When we share about our own mental health, positive or not so much, we open the window a crack for others to be able to do the same. We come together for a common solution for a common problem. We advocate for ourself, and we advocate for others. Blue might be a four letter word for depression. But depression isn’t a four letter word. Literally or figuratively.
I got blindsided with the return of depression in my life after more than 16 years of it being gone. But that doesn’t mean I have to stand on the sidelines blindly watching it destroy my life. (Is that an oxymoron, ‘blindly watching’? Yep I think it is, oh well.)
(See, I’m still somewhat the same as before … I just wiggled my way into using the Daily Prompt so I can increase the chance some of my beloved former followers might see I’ve started a new journey along the side of the road. Smiley face.)
And if you’re in the same boat I am, your boat might feel like it’s sinking. I know. Been there, done that. It’s kinda like being out on the water all by your lonesome in the high tide of a wicked storm. But boats have anchors. You can throw yours out. Your anchor will be in asking for help and it will help ground you. And this one I know too. Been there, done that. And still doing it. Remember what I said above about priceless? Your anchor is priceless. And so are you. REALLY big smiley face.
Help isn’t a four letter word either. Saying it might have just saved my life. And in my not-so-humble opinion, there’s no obscenity in that.
Featured image: Maersk Line on flickr.com, CC 2.0 Generic