One tiny tip for tackling mental illness

There is something about starting your day (particularly your Monday) fumbling with a plastic pill bottle.

Or four.

One morning I walked into the bathroom and looked at the pill bottles lined up like soldiers going to war. Instead of being on my side, battling mental illness and hormonal imbalance the army seemed to be working against me. With each turn of the cap I was taunted by miserable messages.

Healthy people don’t need pills.

You are not healthy.

It is your fault you are not healthy.

I started every day thinking these things. The sun could be pouring through the bathroom skylight (and often was- it is Denver after all), my son could have woken me with a snuggle and still these condemning thoughts persisted above or below my consciousness. You are not well. It is your fault. Welcome to your day.

I noticed that I was holding my breath as I rushed though my routine so that I could get out of the bathroom away from the judgmental pills. I would brush my teeth with vigor, slap on sunscreen, stab myself with deodorant and gulp down the pills so quickly that they often became chalky lumps in my throat.

I decided to toss the pill bottles.

Not the pills. I needed them. But the bottles.

I stole one of the IKEA spice canisters from Steve’s masterpiece and poured all four pills together. I took time to notice the blue and brown and white and think that they looked like the very best local eggs.

I  threw the bottles into the sap bucket that we use as a bathroom trash can with a satisfying clunk as each hit the bottom of the bucket.

Now each morning I carefully pick through the pills lining them up on the counter and take them one at a time sipping water from a mug my friend made that coordinates with the color of the pills. It felt a little ridiculous. Yet it made a big impact. This slight aesthetic change brought on a big mental shift. I was taking charge, I was taking care of myself.

I was not just a patient but a person.The pills were put in their place. It wasn’t their judgment after all.



If you want to make your life a little better go ahead and visit Jeremy online (or if you are super lucky in Waterbury) we enjoy his pottery in every room of our house. But none more than my bathroom.

Have you made any small changes to make daily struggles easier. Is their anything that you do to make yourself more of a person than a patient?


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Anna Palmer

Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble,, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at

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