During some of my longest periods of depression, sometimes it would just feel like things were beyond fixing, with no end in sight. I would wake up each morning thinking that today is the day that I recover, only to find that when I stepped outside I would crumble once more and have to return to my sick bed.
It is during those times when I was in the greatest danger. Exhaustion mixed with an inability to perform normal tasks as simple as eating, drinking water, leaving my bed for the bathroom let alone to go to work, would produce a sense of hopelessness so great that it would take away my entire identity.
That sense of losing control, losing your mind almost, is possibly the worst thing that can happen to someone. The thoughts which pass through my mind are startling and unmanageable. The voices tell me that I can never get better and to give up altogether.
I’ve been thinking about the sorts of things which eventually pull me out of these long episodes and this is the list I have so far:
- Have a warm shower – the sensation produced by the water droplets pounding down on my skin, as well as the warmth, sometimes helps to wake me and pull me out of my state. It also drags me out of my bed and tricks my mind to think that by performing part of my normal morning routine that maybe things are beginning to return to normal.
- Create a good environment around you – I like to be comfortable, so lots of cushions, soft blankets, fresh air and general tidiness of the room I am in helps me to feel more calm and comforted. But this is just because an untidy room makes me a little stressed so this might not work for everyone.
- Take a good amount of time off work – I find it difficult to take time off work because being stuck at home makes me feel useless and trapped. But I try to remind myself that I shouldn’t be ashamed and have every right to take the time to recover. This leads me to the next point about how to relax and how best to make use of the time off.
- Sleep – long periods of depression are exhausting. I find myself drained of energy and unable to motivate myself to get out of bed. So the best thing, since I am already in bed, is to just try and fall asleep. I find this to be a good way of just switching off all the suicidal thoughts, especially if things are particularly bad and you are struggling to fight the thoughts away.
- Put on a tv show to distract yourself – I try to just embrace the fact that I’m essentially having an extra day off work and therefore if I was to skive off work then I may as well watch some TV. This helps me to shift my focus away from any bad thoughts and without noticing this sometimes helps me to let go of the tensions I didn’t even realise I was holding on to. Don’t watch anything sad though as this can make things worse. And if, like me, you find humour in watching cute animal videos, then I would also recommend watching some of these (I mean who wouldn’t crack a smile at this website)
- Get outside – When I am feeling ready and beginning to become less agitated, I force myself to take a walk outside, maybe just to get some groceries, or just to take out the rubbish. Doing this gives me a slight sense of achivement and starts to brush away those feelings of having to hide away from the world.
- Set yourself small challenges – I believe it’s an important step to try and get yourself back up again. I like to do this by setting myself small things to do in my mind e.g. making lunch or getting up to put some music on or just sitting up in bed. You have to set yourself a time limit too and as you get over each hurdle it’s crucial to take the time to feel good about each step you’ve taken.
- Talk to someone – this final point is probably the hardest one for me. I love to close everyone and everything off when I am down. I guess it’s just a defence mechanism, the typical fight or flight response. But talking to someone gives a whole new perspective on your problems and it actually does help substantially to go through each issue with somebody who is likely to be in a much better state than you to think logically. Often, I find that after talking about my problems to someone else, this helps me to realise that, actually, they aren’t so big any more.
So, that’s all I’ve got so far.
The honest problem is that, it’s not so easy to follow all these steps when I am in most need of them. I guess that’s the biggest problem with depression – that it’s like falling into an abyss and as crazy as it sounds, I just sometimes want to be left alone in there.
But here I am , wanting to give advice to others, so even if I don’t take my own advice, I hope someone else will benefit. I just want you to always remember that even when it feels like the episode will never stop, even when it’s the worst you’ve ever felt, believe me:
it will pass.
I trust there is a natural balance, a yin and yang which will allow you to come out of it a stronger, fiercer person. You just have to be willing to wait for it.
-Speaking the taboo-