Going Mental with Nicole: Things to Remember During the Dark Days


Like anyone, there are moments, days, and even months in my life that have felt heavy.  For someone like me, who tends to ruminate on situations due to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, moments like this can be extremely difficult, sometimes to the point where it feels almost impossible to “move on.” However, there are things in my control that I can do to help cope during these times.  

Being Grateful

Before I go into this further, I want to point out that people who are struggling with a mental illness or a challenging situation in life aren’t ungrateful for having the thoughts and feelings we experience. However, I still try to make conscious efforts to be grateful for the positives. For me, these positives are my friends and the people who still stand by me even when I’m not feeling well. They don’t judge meeven if they can’t fully understand what I’m going throughthey offer their support. Knowing that I’m accepted and having people in my life who will be there for me means a lot. I’m also grateful for the opportunities I have in my life, such as being at a college where both the students and teachers accept me, and having opportunities to advocate for mental health.  

Items that Bring Me Comfort and Help Me Cope

I have items that I cherish, like my bullet journal that I use for working towards improving my mental health and being productive, a coloring book I’ve started to help me de-stress, and music. Poetry like “In My Head” by J.M Storm and the book, “Live Fearless” by Sadie Robertson help me cope. My sweatshirt from mental health and disability advocate journal “The Mighty” also brings me comfort.

Personal Growth

When I’m upset, it’s easy for me to forget the personal growth I’ve made from freshman year of college up until now. I recently experienced a moment where I was upset and remembered myself as an “overly-emotional” freshman, but I’ve grown a lot. Sure, I still have challenging moments, but I’m continuing to grow from them. I have made several improvements in my life and am coping a lot better since freshman year I have to remember that it’s okay to strugglethere may be times that are challenging for me. That doesn’t erase all the progress I’ve made and will continue to make.  

Calming Ideas for Peace

Prayer, meditation, and yoga are great ways to calm yourself down and bring peace on a dark day. One of these more spiritual ideas is the serenity prayer:

“God please grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

In no way am I trying to push spirituality or religion on anyone, but no matter what you believe, this prayer may still be helpful.

Another idea is meditation. Trying to be mindful and clearing the mind is important to do when dealing with mental illness. Sometimes, there are so many anxious thoughts racing through the mind that it can be helpful to rest and listen to something else. Try listening to music, or something calming, like nature noises. Some nature sounds and meditation playlists can be found on Spotify.

Yoga can be very beneficial, as it is a calming way to get physical activity. It may be helpful for people who have anxiety as they may have a tendency to tense up, especially when stressed or anxious.   

There are going to be difficult situations that we can’t always change throughout our lives. Therefore, we have to accept the situation, cope with it, and have the courage to work on the things we don’t have control over. We may have to be patient with ourselves as it may take time to accept the situation we’re facing. That’s okay, but we can’t forget the positives in our lives during our struggles. I know these are the things I’m going to have to start making more of an effort to do so I can improve my life. I hope that this can improve your life too.