There are times in life when things feel so dark. When we find ourselves consumed by blackness and not noticing any of the positive things around us. A darkness starts to take over. When it creeps in and begins to eat us up. When we feel so low that the smallest of things become so big. When we feel so confused that the simple things get forgotten, and when we feel so afraid that everything suddenly feels unsafe or scary. Depression sets in. Bleakness takes over. Colour no longer exits.
Dark thoughts can be scary. They can be overwhelming. Suddenly it becomes hard to sleep, to eat, to focus – people find themselves feeling anxious in places they once found easy to be in. People find themselves feeling overwhelmed with the most basic things. And before you know it energy starts to fade. Moods start to sink. A fragility exists that wasn’t there once before. For other people they find that they cant stop eating, or perhaps they cant stop drinking. Maybe they find themselves wanting to sleep all of the time. All of this behaviour is exiting. Exiting your reality. A reality that feels black and heavy. Avoiding pain and moving more and more in themselves.
The reality is however, that all of this makes everything so much worse. Isolation creeps in. Loneliness takes over. Paranoia starts. Confidence decreases. Suddenly small things feel huge. A person starts to lose their sparkle. And where you once saw an aliveness in someone you now she a deadness. Depression. Its there. And it can take over.
The key to living with depression is to start by acknowledging that you are going through a very difficult time. Name it. Say it. Own it. Right now. I am really struggling. It doesn’t take the pain away or make everything better. But it can make people feel calmer – and start to allow themselves to feel the way that they feel.
Give yourself permission to be – right here. Right now. However you are feeling. It is ok. And it is natural. Allow your thoughts and feelings to come to the surface. Sit with them. Experience them. Have faith that they will pass. As will this challenging time in your life. But know that it is ok to feel down sometimes. It is ok to feel overwhelmed sometimes. And it’s ok to be who you are. At any given moment.
Fighting depression isn’t easy. Because that darkness is exhausting in itself. You can fight it however. It isn’t easy but its doable. Make sure you start with genuine self care and self love. Be kind to yourself always. Start with the simple things. Make sure you are winding down before bed and getting as much as sleep as you can. Give your body a chance to recover and to deal with things. Eat. Again it sounds simplistic but eat. Try to stick to a basic plan of three meals a day and three snacks in between. Keep in mind moderation – everything is ok when its balanced. You need energy to fight depression off. Not eating makes everything harder.
Keeping with the theme of moderation. Apply this to other areas of life such as exercise, alcohol , socialising etc. Its easy to turn to extremes when your in a dark place. To find yourself drinking more, or turning to fitness obsessively. Either way both of these things wont help or do you any good. The same goes for going out all of the time and avoiding things or for throwing yourself into work all the time and again avoiding things. The key is creating balance in your life. And ultimately facing up to the things that are pulling you down and challenging you.
That said expressing emotions and dealing with them can really help. Therapy is a great place to do this – counselling has a huge benefit when your feeling low. In addition to this things like yoga can really help the mind to feel calmer too. Talking is a great thing to do. Letting your feelings and emotions out is so therapeutic and positive. So think about your support network. Reach out when you can and talk to people. Never suffer alone or in silence. As hard as it can be. Take that step to ask for help when you need. If people can they will.
Finally above all say no. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Don’t feel you have to say yes to everything. It is ok to put boundaries in place, and it is ok to say no. If you are exhausted and overwhelmed don’t attend things. Give yourself the time that you need to rest and recover. The people that really love you and care about you will totally understand. Fundamentally it is all about being kind to yourself. So start right now. Do what’s right for you and the rest will follow. You can beat this. Slowly, bit by bit, colour will return.