It’s happening again. Depression is creeping up on me, slowly but surely.
Now don’t give me the old “Positive! Mental! Attitude! If you don’t say it, you won’t feel it!” speech. I know that works great for some people but for me, trying to push the feelings away only means they come back even stronger later on.
After many years of therapy, I’ve learned the best way to deal with these feelings is to accept them. I try and sit with them for a while, ask them how they’re doing and why they’re back again. If they’re feeling friendly, they’ll tell me why and I can work to send them on their merry way. If not, I try not to get too wrapped up figuring out how to kick them out. Instead I make them comfortable, I accommodate them in my mind and try to work out the best way to continue living normally with them around.
I greet them in the morning, then I look in the mirror and think “I love myself”. I hold hands with them on the way to university and turn up the volume of my new favourite Newton Faulkner song (featured below). I take things slower than I usually would because their baggage weighs a ton, but remind myself it’s OK not to get as much done, because right now my mental load is heavier.
I’m not saying I let these feelings run my life, though maybe it comes across that way. Rather, I let them run their course. I feel them out, try to work with them instead of against them. As best as I can, I try not to let them stop me doing my daily activities but accept that things might be a little harder for the time being. I work with them because working against them only pushes them into the background to resurface at a later date (and believe me I never, ever intend to go back there again).
Quite simply, I practise kindness. Kindness for myself, for my emotions and for others. I schedule extra self-care time, make sure I surround myself with my favourite people, reach out for help if I need it, eat my favourite foods and listen to positive music. I try not to judge others for not understanding or for making things worse in some way; everyone is on their own journey and I can’t possibly begin to imagine everything that is going on in their minds. I do yoga, practise meditation and watch my favourite YouTubers. I skype with people I love and cry with laughter. I do all my basic self care and some, just for good measure.
Most of all I am patient with myself. As a perfectionist I can get really frustrated about not having perfect attendance or not being able to hand in every piece of work I am assigned. As an independent person I can struggle to reach out for help. As a human I can get overwhelmed by everything and feel lonely and stressed out and like the world is ending.
I accept it all, I breathe, I carry on.
I’ve got this and so have you. Life is tough but you are tougher. Depression is a cloud but you are the sky. It lives within you, not you within it.