Updated: Aug 13
When you have depression, it can feel like you are walking through life in a perpetual fog. You can't think about anything except how sad you feel. Getting motivated to do anything seems like an impossible task. Doing basic things like taking a shower or washing the dishes feels too hard.
That is the space I have been in for the last several months. Days spent lying in bed and crying. Sitting on the couch and staring into nothingness. Trying to motivate myself to do something, no matter how small.
Through it all, I have kept writing, though perhaps not at my best. Always trying to find a silver lining to the dark clouds that shroud my mind. Trying to find a sliver of hope in all the sadness. Regret at choices I have made that feel like they can't be undone.
Finding the strength to keep moving forward has been difficult.
Finally, I am back on my anti-depressants. I feel like the fog is starting to lift.
It could be the medications, or it could be spending some much-needed time with my daughter after several months away from her. Moving to another country hasn't been easy for me, and having time back in Colorado is making me feel a bit better. My family and friends are still here. I still feel connected to them after all this time and it feels like things are getting better.
Make sure to take care of yourself
When you are feeling down especially, making time for self-care and doing the things that you love is more important than ever.
Sometimes it is easy to rely too much on others for validation, for help, for someone to reach out a hand to save you. But no matter how much someone else tries to help you, it is never going to meet your needs in the same way that self-validation will.
Finding ways to love yourself, care for yourself, and validate yourself will be more lasting. It will help you learn how to be stronger.
Spending time alone the last couple of weeks has given me time for self-care and time to reflect on myself and my life.
There are many different ways to take care of yourself, on a physical, mental and spiritual level. One of the things I have learned is that you don't have to be productive all the time. It is OK to take time for yourself to rest. Even if all you do during the day is take a nap and watch TV, that is OK. You don't have to be moving all the time.
You are worthy
Remember, you are a worthy and worthwhile person, no matter what you accomplish. Your worth comes from within. You are a beautiful person with a beautiful soul. You are a part of life's heart.
When you find the silence within yourself through meditation, journaling or other similar practices, you remember the beauty within yourself. You remember that you are worthy, and that your life matters.
You matter. What you want matters.
This is true of every human being. We all have equal worth, regardless of what we accomplish during the day. Your worth isn't tied to your achievements. You are worthy just because of who you are.
Some ways to know your own worth, according to Psychology Today, are:
Prioritize learning over performance
Adopt prosocial goals
Reduce external contingencies
Focus on your strengths
When you focus on the good things about yourself, instead of focusing on how others think of you, it can help you feel better about yourself. This can help you stop tying your feelings about yourself to what you have accomplished. Focus on just doing a little bit every day that is good for you.
Being depressed doesn't make you a bad person
This has been a hard thing for me to learn over the years. But when you feel a lot of guilt, and beat yourself up for feeling bad, it is just going to make things worse.
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me, "Why can't you just be happy?" I would have a lot of money.
There is this external pressure on us from society to be happy all the time. When people ask how you are doing, they just expect you to say "fine" and move on. They don't actually want to know the inner workings of your mind.
Yet, there are some people who really will care how you feel and take time to talk things through with you. These people are so rare and valuable in our lives! If you have people who listen to you, treasure them!
Your value isn't determined by your happiness or your achievements. Being unhappy isn't hurting other people.
No matter what other people say, your happiness or unhappiness isn't about them. It is about you. And when other people don't want to help you, or to listen to how you feel, that is about them. They don't want to take responsibility for your feelings. Trying to help someone else is difficult, and not everyone has that capacity.
Try not to let what other people say get you down. You are your own person, and you are in control of how you react to situations, no matter how badly that you feel.
When you learn to stop judging yourself based on other people's opinions, you are going to feel much better! All the guilt will stop weighing on you.
It's OK to take a mental break
When you give yourself space to rest, it can help you to recharge your mental batteries so that you can get up and keep going. Sometimes it may take a few days or weeks, but whatever the case, be gentle with yourself.
If you don't feel like doing something today, that's ok. Do the few things that need to be done, and then take the rest of the day to rest. You can take a nap, or curl up on the couch with a book or a movie, and a cup of hot tea.
Taking time to care for yourself will make you feel better than if you try to push through too many tasks when you aren't feeling well. Prioritizing your mental health over tasks that need to be done is so important. You can't get much done when you are feeling badly, so getting your mind into a better place is so important.
Talk to a professional
Sometimes, since you can't rely on the people in your inner circle for help with your depression, you can seek out a professional for a compassionate, listening ear.
When you have depression, it is important to talk to a professional for help. You can go to a therapist, psychiatrist or a life coach. All of these professionals are trained to help you through difficult situations.
Working with a professional helps you learn coping skills, as well as being prescribed medications if you need them.
For me, talking to a professional for help has been a life-saver in many situations over the years. They can help you with more positive self-talk, prioritizing self-care, and working through negative beliefs about yourself that keep you feeling down.
The more positively you can learn to think about yourself, the more easily you can pull yourself out of the dark hole that is depression, and get feeling better about yourself and your life.
Once you take a break for a while, prioritize self-care, and let go of other people's expectations of you, it is easier to start feeling better about yourself and your life.