I’m having a broken day but you don’t need to worry about me. I’ll be alright. I’m allowed to have broken days. I’ll put myself back together. I always do. One day soon I’ll have the energy and I will put myself back together.
Like this piece of art by Hana Shafi: A drawing of a broken coffee cup that has been put back together. The quote particularly speaks to me today; “You’re allowed to have sad days, bad days, broken days. You can work on it when you have the energy.” I want to talk about my broken days, how I remember goodness during them, and how I put myself back together after…
I have bad days
Everyone has bad days, so I want to clarify: Mental health and mental illness are not the same thing. Everyone has mental health, yet only people with a mental illness have mental illness. I’m living with mental illness; I have Bipolar Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Bad days while living with mental illness can be extremely dangerous.
I’ve had my share of bad and broken days. I have days when my anxiety spirals out of control. I have days when depression becomes relentless. Bad days can become all-consuming and they can make me feel like I’m drowning… they can make me feel like I’m disappearing. During bad days I don’t have much energy. Small tasks can seem overwhelming. Thoughts of worthlessness feel unmovable and my self-doubt becomes strong. Harmful and self-destructive emotions become extremely heightened.
I’m allowed to feel broken
But, the point: I’m allowed to feel broken for a while. I’m allowed to experience the emotions that I feel. They are real and valid. It’s okay to have bad days. It’s okay to have broken days. It’s okay to accept a depression spiral. It’s okay to cancel plans because anxiety is raging. It’s all okay. My feelings demand to be felt…
There is a John Green quote from ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ that helps explain this; “That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.” Sure, John Green wasn’t talking about Bipolar Disorder when he wrote that line, but it fits. When depression happens, it’s just happens, and it demands to be felt. I’m allowed to feel the way I feel… and once it passes, I’ll have the energy to put myself back together.
I keep goodness in mind
During bad days, I work to remember that the bad is temporary. I remind myself that the badness and brokenness will pass, eventually. I remind myself that good will come, and when the good comes the bad will fade away and become a fleeting memory. What seems unmovable now, will be easily forgotten later… and later, when the bad is over, I will have the energy to put myself back together.
I deserve to put myself back together
My depression and anxiety spirals are typically followed by a guilt spiral. I reflect on all of the things that I wasn’t able to accomplish, and it weighs heavily on me. I think of all the things I’ve fallen behind on; grocery shopping, cleaning, self-care… and I end up hating myself. Sure, the bad day has ended but the badness hasn’t. I don’t deserve this. I deserve to put myself back together, and feel no shame.
I try to look at my mental health from a physical health point of view: If I had broken my leg, and fallen behind on chores, I wouldn’t feel guilty – so why do I feel guilty about having a broken mind? I shouldn’t feel guilty. I deserve to put myself back together, with no guilt, once the bad day is over… I deserve to put myself back together. I am worthy of being put back together.
How I put myself back together
In one word: slowly. I can’t conquer everything at once, nor would I want to. When the good starts coming back I take things slow. In the past I didn’t use this slow approach. In the past I made a habit of milking my good days for all they were worth. I would burn the candle at both ends, making up for everything I had missed, then I would move on… knowing that another bad day would soon follow. This approach potentially caused me to have more bad days. This method was hurtful: I was absolutely exhausting myself on good days, and it was causing me to crash. So, now I take things slowly.
Back to the broken leg metaphor: If I had a healing broken leg I wouldn’t try to run a marathon, would I? No. I would start with walking. Therefore, I do the same for my mental health. I don’t start with a marathon of chores and social events, I start with a few small steps and I rest until I’m strong enough to run again…
You may be wondering: why would she share this ugliness? Well, I share because someone like me might read this, and I want them to know that they are not alone. This will get better. It always gets better, sometimes sooner, sometimes later, but it always does. So, I never give up.
Sincerely, Elizabeth – Uncustomary Housewife
I would like to thank Hana Shafi (Frizz Kid) for creating this awesome art. You can follow Frizz Kid on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook. To buy art, visit the Frizz Kid Redbubble Store.
You can also connect with me, the Uncustomary Housewife, on social networks: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can also subscribe to the Uncustomary Housewife Blog.
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES: Every time you call out, you’re a little less alone. You matter, and you deserve support. For a list of mental health support systems and online communities, visit; Uncustomary Housewife – Mental Health Support Systems and Communities.
I can remember times when I was depressed and couldn’t even think about getting to the other side of it. I was always really in it but hope had me hanging on even when I didn’t know it or “feel” it. Thanks for being real ! 🙏
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Stay strong. Everytime you fight back from the dark, you not only win. . .you inspire someone else. There’s always a perceptive eye around us, watching. You will always win.
This should be a reminder to ALL of us that it is okay to have bad and/or broken days. And that we should not beat ourselves up over what we just don’t have the energy do right now.
Remember to treat yourself with the same kindness you would routinely show to others.
What a beautiful dog. I hope you feel less broken soon.
I have good MH days and horrific MH days too. I’m currently trying to find a balance so I don’t go overboard on the good ones. Because the drop is horrendous.
I love your ability to express what you are going through so well. You are honest, real, and inspiring. I have had 3 episodes of major depression and I know how hard it is to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but just knowing it is there has always pulled me through. I think as you get older you become more aware of how to take better care of your mental health and manage it accordingly. It has been almost 10 years since I was depressed. You are a blessing to others and I commend you for encouraging others to discuss mental health issues.♥️
thank you so much for having the courage to share your journey. I used to think I couldn’t have bad days, that it made me weak, but I was wrong. You’re so right that it’s OK to have bad days. Xoxo
Why shouldn’t you share a broken day? There are so many of us having similar days. Last week I had one but today is all good. Be well.
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Hi I so relate to this article and would like to thank you for your honesty. Everytime I read something from you it makes me feel justified and not alone in my fight. My blog and brand is called BrokenCup for this exact reason and I was uplifted to remind myself that’s its okay to wallow for a moment and to have a bad day.
Your posts are always so encouraging!