I struggle in life.
I find I have a cycle where once a season, I go through a really low period. During this low period, I am unmotivated, unfocused and feel extremely discontent with my life and surroundings. It is a struggle, but I am utilizing multiple resources to assist me with improving this recurring negative cycle.
Its sucks when you feel like you suck.
It sucks because you are the only one who can pull yourself out of this self loathing, but it can be very difficult, when your mind and body seem to be fighting against you.
I have not fully overcome this issue in my life, and I have accepted that perhaps I never will, so I damn well better figure out how to make it work for me, rather than against me.
How I make my depression work for me, is that I lean into it.
I have a strong toolbox of resources I can dig into when I feel pangs of unhappiness seeping into my mind and life. I get a massage. I take more breaks. I expect less of myself. I keep clear, daily priorities, but limit them to three.
I stop focusing on other people and keep my focus internal, because I have noticed when I am not doing well, I tend to become extremely critical of those around me.
I meet a trusting friend for a coffee or lunch. I talk to them about the struggle and listen to their inspiring words. I watch a documentary. I go for a walk and listen to a podcast. I get my haircut. I do something, and really try not to become stagnant.
There are days where stagnation wins though.
Where all I want to do is nap, watch television and not move. What I have started to do is give myself twenty four hours. I do not know if this is valid or if there is any theory to back this, but I give myself a day. I give myself a day to be in the slump, but then, I make myself get out of the slump.
This use to be much harder earlier. Before I started to respect self-care, therapy, and mental health improvement techniques, my slump could last for weeks. Now, my slump, at its worst, tends to last a few days.
The journey is hard.
I question why happiness is not easy for me.
I question why I feel so discontent with my progress in life and my surroundings. I feel guilty for feeling this way because other people are actually suffering and my suffering feels self inflicted. I wonder if I am just lazy or feeling too sorry for myself. I question my mental health and if I am actually a strong person.
Mental health is not a character flaw.
Mental health is your health and you (sometimes) cannot control the genetics you receive, the conditions you may have developed or the illnesses you will have to deal with in your life.
Mental health is tricky because people do not see your struggle as clearly as if you had a physical ailment. I am working on being more honest with my struggles because I hope it encourages those around me to not feel so alone, seek external resources, remove mental health stigma, and because it helps me not feel so alone.
Do my anchors weigh me down? Yes. Do they slow me down? Yes, but they are no longer stopping me from progress completely, so I am in a much better position today than I was previously.
Is the journey pretty? Hell no. Do I care? Honestly, sometimes I do. Sometimes I wish I had a cleaner, smoother, more seamless life, but I am working really hard on not dwelling on the negative.
There are advantages to learning to work with your life anchors:
- Advantage #1: I am working on accepting my anchors and seeing how they can help others who are also struggling
- Advantage #2: I am working on how I can pull myself out of my slumps faster and better understanding what works for me.
Advantage #3: I am learning to see that this is not a true anchor, but a condition I will work with in life and need to learn to work with, rather than against.
The moment I stopped ignoring the pleas of pain and started accepting that my mental health was not at its most optimal, was when things started getting better and worse.
Better because I no longer ignoring the indicators and working at addressing them. Worse because it can be frustrating to be on a negative cyclical journey you feel you cannot get off of and denial of an issue can sometimes be easier than acceptance, in the short term.
The journey is not pretty, but I am here for all of it, so far have gotten through all of the worst times and continue to be grateful for all the good times.