What I learnt in the mental health hospital- Part #1

by | Mar 7, 2020

First off, a lot of what I learnt is common sense but, in our lives today- we don’t use enough of it. We try to make things as hard as possible, thinking better, longer, higher, faster, more and we take it all to the extreme.

#1 thing for me was routine and it was my number 1 goal heading when I spoke to the nurses and psychiatrist to get back a solid routine.

Quite simple to a lot of people but when you self-sabotage everything in your life, and you get to a point where you sleep 18 hours a day and I would only get up to organise the charity cricket match.
I spent 12 months trying to get out of the rut, by doing different things and I’d go all in and within a couple of weeks, I was overwhelmed and gave up.

I needed help doing it, and I finally got around to getting it once I ran out of possible options which I had tried myself.

How did I do it? How did I stuff it up already since coming out of hospital? How do I work it back into my life?

Well, I will keep this as simple as I can.

I started off with the very basics as pictured, and the aim was to get it done over a short period of time and not focus on the long term.
Basics- Shower, teeth, exercise…

As each 4 days turned around, I added another to the list. Slowly things started taking shape.

My aim every morning was to be in the breakfast room by 7:30am and the day would follow from then.

Here is how my day looked
7:30- Breakfast
8:30- Exercise
10:30 to 12- Group Therapy
12 to 1pm- Lunch
1 to 3pm- Group therapy
The afternoon was a bit more relaxing and free flowing
5pm- Dinner
Watch TV for a little

At this point in time, I did not want to get out of bed but every night I wandered up the hall way and socialised as much as I could with other patients. Playing board games, trivia, watching TV and listening to a mate play his guitar.

It was easy after a few days, because I didn’t have anything that got in the way except a day or two where I was unwell.

This daily routine made it a lot easier to add things to my list, so every 3-4 days I would confidently add another basic task.

– Mindfulness for 30 minutes
– Clean room or do washing/change linen
– No gluten (I found out I was celiac a week in, but struggled to adjust to the changes and still am)
– Stretching

I knew walking out of the hospital, it wasn’t going to be easy sticking to this because life just isn’t that simple and it’s why so many people would struggle after being in hospital. Life happens!

I had a holiday where I stuck to most of that routine, and when I got back I had a couple of weeks where it went pretty strong but as time progressed; I slowly fell off the wagon more and more and it was because the schedule was completely different, and life outside is completely different. I had to create a new normal and being in the hospital taught me something and I have been able to step back over the past couple of days and re-calibrate.

I’d completely fallen off the routine wagon to be honest and was searching for ways to get back on, and then I stopped and went back to what worked the first time.

I’ve learnt from why I have fallen off the routine wagon, by stepping back and assessing it all. Being honest and authentic with myself and what I just simply cannot do at the moment and what I can do.

I’m stripping it right back to basics instead of trying to jump in the deep end and do something super extreme.

My new list for the next 10 days

– 2 x brush teeth a day
– Shower every morning
– Exercise every day
– Stick to appointments every day (the key with this is to keep appointments weekly to a minimum, so I don’t get overwhelmed and start to go backwards)
– 30 minutes mindfulness every day

Add in a full time job and/or full time study and this list is enough for plenty of people.

Alicia, my fiancé and I have made it interesting as well to add a bit of competition to it. We both have our own lists of simple things to do- both different lists.

After 10 days, whoever has the most crosses must wash BOTH our cars inside and outside. Wish me luck!

Depression sucks, anxiety sucks, poor mental health sucks and when we have any of those, our brain has a fogginess to it where things seem very hard to do.

I find when I keep things very simple, it has a flow on effect to other areas of life without you even thinking about it.

I will be making sure the shower or exercise component is done by 8:30am every morning to get me started, and over time I would likely bring that time back to 8am, 7:30am and earlier.

Each and everyone’s list will look completely different.

Some other examples you might look at is:

– Walk pets by a certain time
– Open the blinds before 7am (lets the natural light come in)
– Make bed every morning
– Stretch every morning/night

I find the simplest tasks that take the least energy the best, and let the flow on effect go to work. I believe having a list of no more than 6-8 would be best, but even having 2-3 each day is plenty.

The fact is, you won’t get 100% but you need to be honest with yourself the whole time.

Good luck and if you have any further questions- send me an email on [email protected]

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