With mental health, it’s just a case of surviving. It’s not pretty, it’s not graceful or glamorous. It’s desperate, hard, and thankless. You just have to do anything, ANYTHING, to keep going.
Therefore “shoulds” go out the window. What you should eat, when you should sleep, what steps you should be taking towards your next work deadline/promotion/performance/report. There’s no time, no spare energy for these.
You’re running on grit and determination and probably a lot of sugar and caffeine because the importance of getting 5-a-day is often lost when you are battling a mind that has a mind of its own.
The problem is, to the outside and often very insensitive viewer, this epic battle is not visible. They are very bothered about the shoulds and think you should be too. If you don’t value the shoulds then you are obviously disrespectful and lazy. Late, rude, unhealthy, tired, unkempt, unwashed even? Yuk. They’ve really let themselves go.
but if my experience is anything to go by, they haven’t. In fact, they are clinging to themselves tighter and with more determination than your average outside observer ever has.