We know the ones that are unhealthy. Cheating, obviously. Alcohol or drug abuse. Violence. Taking anger out on others. Playing too many video games or reading too many self-help books - escaping reality. Self-harm.
I struggle with the last two, particularly with self-harm. No longer doing it, haven't in three years, but thoughts sometimes. Today my IC/caseworker discovered that I sometimes have trouble getting motivated to take care of myself; the precise thing was brushing my teeth, that I have to put it on a to-do list to remind myself to do it. She said that this concerns her and that it would be the sort of thing that would make her contemplate writing an abuse letter. Now I'm more scared than ever. I brush son's teeth everyday, feed him everyday, play together everyday, change him, bathe him, tuck him in, etc. It's not him I'm neglecting, it's myself. I know it's unhealthy.
The fear of losing my son motivates me to change. But I worry - what if what I do will never be enough? What if I brush my teeth, eat enough - and then it's not enough because I'm not at work, or what if my son begins preschool at 4 instead of 3, and that's not early enough? I'm not responsible enough? Or then when he's at school, I won't get a good enough job with health benefits (disabled right now)? Will I always be inadequate that there will always be someone saying I'm not good enough? I might not be a good enough daughter, nor a good enough granddaughter, nor even a good enough gardener or environmentalist... All I really care about is being a good enough mother.
And then the paranoia sets in. They want to take my son from me. No one will ever see me as a fit mother because of my mental illness, no matter how well I do. No matter how healthy my son is. And everyone says he is healthy. Even the IC. They say he looks amazing and smart and healthy. Why isn't that enough?
So, how do you cope when the paranoid thoughts set in? We can't use the unhealthy methods we've been practicing our whole life, or even the new ones we've picked up. What do we do to stay healthy when something scary's staring us in the face? Failure's not an option.
You can share your own struggles if you want or your thoughts, it doesn't have to be about my situation particularly. Happy to just listen.