At the risk of a lot of people being offended by this (including my 15 year old self), it’s okay to be depressed, it’s not okay to not do anything about it.
I’ve been there. At the bottom, feeling like there was not a single ounce of light left in me. Spending time with an old friend recently has given me the opportunity to crack open a window into my darker past. I’ve been able to remember some of the broken pieces of me that have since been painted over and somewhat forgotten.
I was really miserable. And, most likely terrible to be around. Nobody really wants to spend a lot of their time with someone who is always sad, because, well, it’s depressing. To those of you who are reading this and thinking, “screw you I can’t help it, it’s not my fault, you don’t know how it feels,” I’m sorry. I’ve been there, and my experience may or may not be what you want to hear right now but it also may (or may not!) help you – I truly hope that it does.
I don’t expect you to do this on your own. I expect that family and friends and pets and councilors and maybe doctors will help you. But the fact of the matter is, we don’t all have those supports available to us. I was lucky in that I did have a few family and friends to help me, and that the gaps left by those who walked away were often filled by people who were closer to what I needed at the time, but do you think I saw that back then through the thick black smog that surrounded my life? No. Of course I didn’t. Unfortunately, no matter how hard someone else tries, they cannot fix you. I have spent a lot of my life trying to fix other people, all the while not realizing that there were probably other people that I didn’t recognize were trying to fix me. I never recognized this because I never felt worthy of being fixed, and maybe that’s why I focused so much of my energy on trying to fix others instead of myself.
(By the way, not only did me trying to fix other people never work, but they also probably didn’t want to be fixed! Who am I to say how they should live their lives?! But that’s an entry for another day..)
Every person in the world could offer you help, but if you don’t take any action steps not a single one of them would be able to help you.
Over the years I’ve learned which of the little (and big) things add up to help me get through life. Some of these make very little difference on their own, but when combined have been life changing. Maybe some days you can’t do them all, especially if you struggle with physical ailments as well as mental/emotional, but you have to start by at least figuring out what they are. Make a list to refer back to on the bad days, when you feel helpless and like there’s nothing you can control. Keep it on your fridge or mirror or nightstand, somewhere that you are forced to see it frequently. Post it on the wall that you see from your bed so that it’s the first thing you see every morning and the last thing you see every evening. And then slowly, one by one, do them. If it feels like you can’t have a shower, have a salt bath. If you can’t workout today, meditate. Can’t handle doing laundry? Just change your dirty pyjamas for fresh pyjamas. I don’t care, just do something.
Here’s my list, plus or minus a few things…
Drink lemon water, ideally several glasses per day
Clean the house (or at least the kitchen, bedroom or bathroom)
Personal development reading (always have a book on the go!)
Put away laundry (for some reason this one always seems so hard)
Put fresh sheets on the bed
Use a fresh towel
Pick or buy fresh flowers for a vase in the house
Sit with my crystals or salt lamp
Ask a friend to pull cards for me
Walk the dog
Cook a healthy meal
Sometimes things that seem so basic, such as changing your sheets, filling the fridge with fresh food or taking a shower seem absolutely impossible when you’re in the midst of a never-ending battle within yourself, but as difficult as they are, they can make equally a positive shift when you do them. Yes it would be nice if someone did those that they could for you, but here’s the hard truth: eventually they’re going to stop. Depression is debilitating. Anxiety is paralyzing. Still, no one can spend their entire lives trying to fix it for you, eventually they will need to take care of themselves and you will be left to do your life yourself. If you can, you need to search your soul for that one little tiny spark of light that is left in there and you need to feed it. That’s your only job, find what that spark needs in order to grow, and feed it. You are the only one who can, and ideally you’ll do this before everyone walks away in self preservation.
I don’t care if it’s one thing a week or even one thing a month. Just put the effort in. When you feel like you don’t have even a touch of effort left to give, that’s when you need to give it the most. I’m not saying do so much you burn out, just do something.
One little action step at a time is all it takes. In the moment they may not feel like much, but I promise you that compounded over time they could give you not only your entire life back, but a greater life than you could ever have imagined.