Toughing It Out! …Is Not What You Think.

Mental Health of our Military

Image by Truthout.org via Flickr

Self-Care Tip #114 – Tough it out.  Be a friend to yourself.

Trying to tough it out is good it’s just not what most people think.

Many people think that toughing it out means staying med-free and getting through melancholy, anxiety, emotional chaos with gritted teeth.  They gather a degree of commendation from weathering out the behavioral and emotional problems until they either feel better or don’t.

This is not the kind of toughing it out that I’m calling worthy of our life efforts.  It is in fact the opposite.  Toughing it out is doing what may be socially and culturally counterintuitive.  Getting medical care sooner than later.  Not waiting to see what will happen before getting medical care if it is indicated.  Believing the medical data, the physician you trust, the knowledge that mental illness is medical, biological and often PROGRESSIVE over time.

Waiting means you are getting more ill on a cell level and at higher risk for your future and waiting is not being tough.

Toughing it out is digging into your courage bank every day to take that pill when you feel ashamed of it.  Toughing it out is fighting for your brain’s future.  Toughing it out is sacrificing what ever you need to, to give your loved ones and yourself the healthiest you possible.  Even if that means talking yourself into it, going up against your fears, ignoring prejudice, ignoring opposing recommendations from your favorite sources.

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This calls for thick skin.

Candace tells me she still intuitively can’t believe this, even though her mind tells her it is true.  She takes her medication but it still hurts a little every time.  Like she’s betraying herself.  Like she must grieve for herself.  Candace says the apparent calm, decrease in anxiety, improved relationship with her children, and the flowering hope eases her inner psychic pain.  Candace is drawing strength every day from the growing evidence of health.  Candace is tough.

Question:  What are you getting tough with in your life?  How do you do it?  Please tell me your story.

13 thoughts on “Toughing It Out! …Is Not What You Think.

  1. sounds good i got tough about not drinking i dont drink now atall because it makes me more compulsive very compulsive its been hard with everyone saying just have one drink but i have siad no and ill tell you it is one of the things that has helped me the most in the hardest of times i havnt had a drink now since august

  2. I “toughed it out” for years, taking meds and then getting off too soon because I didn’t feel well on them or, worse than that (I thought!!), they made me gain weight and I looked bad. When I finally REALLY needed the meds, I still “toughed it out” until I was in such bad shape, emotionally, that neither therapists nor psychopharmachologists could help me without hospitalizing me to get the medications working well enough for me to function. So I gained 100 pounds and, for 16 years, I was pretty much in a fog, and, looking back, I’m pretty much convinced that “toughing it out” was the dumbest thing I ever did. I would probably have gotten better much faster had I just done what the doctors wanted a lot sooner and stuck with the program right from the beginning.

    The stigma of mental illness, taking medications for it, seeing therapists. etc. is SO damaging. I wish (I PRAY) that one day soon society will let all people know that it’s okay to take care of yourself, emotionally, and it’s just as normal as taking care of a broken leg or cancer. I think we’d have a much more sane world…maybe?

    • wow Nancy. it sounds like you’re grieving. a lot of ouchies there! In some ways our culture has come so far in regards to stigma. but there is still enough to cause harm. You are rising from the ashes though and are beautiful just as you are. Keep on.

  3. Thanks. I’m currently coping with an alcoholic mother now hospitalized; she’s already bi-polar.

    My “tough” decision is finally telling some people what I am facing as her only child living far away. Tired of keeping secrets.

    • toughing it out with an addicted loved one. It’s hard to see the ones we love objectively. When do we take that step back and bring out the microscope so to speak allowing science to interpret what the heart cannot? Blessings on this. Keep on.

  4. For me, “toughing it out” has been hanging in with meds that took too long or did too little for my treatment-resistant bipolar ii. i had to become willing to believe i was not doomed to be trapped in hell; willing to endure the experiment of med trial & med error; willing to say, “no, this does not feel like i think a human being should feel.”

    On a related note, i would love if any of you bloggers with experience as patient, family member, healthcare professional or whatever to consider submitting to this new “blog carnival”/”blog magazine”/”blog digest” about mental illness. please see bord3rlin3.wordpress.com for details.

    • “i had to become willing to believe i was not doomed to be trapped in hell.” really nice wordage of something big and bad. thank you for commenting. keep speaking! your story is important.
      i’m just about to tap on that link….

  5. ive got to admit there are a lot of diffrences when your not drinking every day i dont get so compulsive and i seem to be able to manage my feelings and my urdges to do something daft i did have my care worker every time i saw her she siad dont drink i took her advice and so far so good probably talking about 3-4 mounth now

  6. Hello Kevin. What an exciting although I’m sure scary time of life for you. What a care worker you have! When I find something or someone who is good and excellent in what they do, I do my best to never loose their influence in my life. I see u r doing the same. 3-4months is a tricky time. “Don’t drink!” 😉 Keep on Kevin. Thank you very much for reading and commenting. It is such an honor to share space with you. Please come again.

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