- Health and safety comes before everything. If you’re not healthy and safe, it’s just a matter of time before you fuck everything up anyway.
- Work with your doctor. This is the number one person you always need to be honest with. If you can’t, find a new doctor.
- Be consistent. When I switched doctors I explained that I frequently skipped or lowered doses of my lithium because it made me nauseous. He immediately recommended coming off of it, something I didn’t even consider possible. He said, “If you’re not properly taking a therapeutic dose, how does that help you?” Duh.
- Sleep. And this may mean you need more than the “recommended 8 hours.” To be at my best, I usually need between 10 and 12. You call it lazy, I call it healthy. Whatever.
- Recognize your triggers. Even if you can’t stop it, at least you can know “I feel x because y.” And you can work on it.
- Save up sick days. It’s a lot easier to allow yourself a mental health day if you don’t have to worry about that day you took off last week because you wanted to “clean up” your DVR.
- Stay aware. I keep a sort of mental checklist. I know my symptoms and if things start to add up… well, things start to add up.
- Sometimes we can’t do everything everyone else can do. I know we want to think we can, but honestly: no. I can’t pull three all-nighters in a row and not end up in the ER. I can’t live alone. I can’t keep firearms in my house. I can’t get drunk every weekend. I can’t drink a venti americano. Those are some of my limits; they may not be yours, but I’m sure you’ve got some.
- Keep condoms. Three years ago I defied the laws of the universe and met an amazing man and joined the monogamy club. Before that, I could be unshaven with orange hair in church yet somehow I’d still find myself in some rando’s bed. If “expert in promiscuity” is on your resume, make sure “STD and baby free” is, too.
- Breathe. “You gotta remember to breathe or you’ll die.”
Now someone remind me to follow my own advice?