What is a Bad Mental Health Day?
There are bad days, like the kind that everyone has sometimes. Something goes wrong at work or your car breaks down or some dude ghosts on you. Then there are bad mental health days where everything is technically fine, maybe even good, but you still feel bad. Just, I don’t know, sad or lonely or empty or frustrated or disillusioned or tired or some other word I don’t know yet that completely encompasses the specific genre of bad that you’re feeling right now.
It can feel worse when there’s no reason for it. Like if you just got fired, everyone is (rightfully) gonna be right there with you – that sucks. When the “reason” is some mystical combination of neurochemicals, the weather, and some weird look you got from a stranger in the produce section, it makes you feel alone.
You think, I don’t understand this. I know it isn’t logical. But that doesn’t make it easier. It doesn’t make the bad stuff go away. You don’t even need someone else to get it. You just need to feel like it’s real. Like in a horror movie when someone says, “Did you hear that?” and the other person in the scene does! They say, “Yeah, I think I heard something.”
Death + the Stuff You Do Before It
I was lucky enough to find a few of my favorite books in the trunk of my car tonight. I wasn’t looking for them, but some of the best stuff happens that way, I think. I have two go-to books for my bad days: PostSecret and What Do You Want To Do Before You Die?
PostSecret is a collection of anonymous secrets scribbled by strangers on postcards. Similarly/conversely, What Do You Want To Do Before You Die? compiles items from people’s bucket lists, plus stories from The Buried Life boys about checking off items from their buried life list.
What gets me (in a good way) is the bond of unique but shared experiences. Even if you don’t relate to the specific details, you feel bound to some common emotion, want, or need behind each secret or goal. There are all kinds of hurt and loneliness and joy out there. Even when they don’t look like yours, they’re more similar than you think.
The Buried Life
I have a weird relationship with death. It’s my default escape hatch, my biggest fear, and my biggest motivator.
On these days, my “bad days,” I write down a fraction of the things I want to do, to see, to learn, to become before I die. And I let these things push me through the bad feeling toward something better or at least toward something further away. It’s powerful to see the list grow bigger and bigger. Every time I work on my buried life list, I come up with so many ideas I can barely think straight.
I don’t have any answers for you. But maybe you can turn your bad days into bucket list days – an opportunity to dream a little bit, to let go of logic and doubt and whatever else is holding you back, and picture better stuff on the other side of today.
Let me know if you have any ideas for getting through bad days (literally, please let me know, but, like, for a friend). Or feel free to share some of the things on your buried life list!
Have a good night, everyone!