It’s been two years now since I’ve been aware of my mental disorders, depression & anxiety. I made the decision to be open about it and embrace it, with the hopes that others who are going through something similar privately know they’re not a lone. And that being open about mental issues does not make you weak. I’m strong, we can be stronger together.
The stigma around mental disorders/illnesses is the reason most people choose to keep to themselves and suffer in silence. From my experience, when it comes to dealing with emotions, isolation isn’t always a healthy coping mechanism. It is good to take time off from things and people when you feel overwhelmed but always make the effort to show others kindness and give reassurance to those you love.
When you are going through something where you experience emotional defeat, but have a good support system of loved ones constantly showing up for you showering you with love. It is important for you to make time to show those people some appreciation even if it is at your own pace. We tend to get too lost in trying to manage or cope with our depression & anxiety, that we don’t take the time to acknowledge people that make effort to understand us and are there for us. Doesn’t have to be in an extraordinary way too.
Any type of consistent attention and care, while we are down, we should be grateful for. The best ways to pull yourself out of the crippling depression is by forcing yourself to see the good around you. Acknowledge it and celebrate it. For example, It’s always more devastating when a person passes away by suicide and the ones left behind struggle to go on, because they keep questioning what they did wrong and how their support wasn’t enough etc. They start blaming themselves for not helping you enough. They were never told , “I see you, I appreciate all you do for me, I’m just sick right now but I do love you very much”.
I don’t condone suicide, I’m merely pointing out that life can be short especially with mental illnesses; You don’t know how you’ll feel a few month from now. You also don’t know who you’ll lose tomorrow. You’re under this dark cloud of not feeling good about yourself or your life etc, but remember this; There is strength in making effort to feel good. There is strength in making effort to get out there and do something fun!
That then becomes a good distraction because it takes your mind off replaying the bad thoughts or memories. Check up on your friends, text back family, respond to emails, acknowledge people’s efforts. Push yourself to crack out of your sadness shell. Off course it won’t be as simple as it sounds but sometimes we’re stuck replaying the same negative thoughts, because we don’t have enough “refreshing” or positive things that we’re participating in.
You do not have enough “feel good” things to reflect on. It does not have to cost money, take a walk around somewhere safe, cook, exercise, go have your favorite snack at the park, write, make a healthy shake, start a DIY project, fix something in the house, paint or draw etc. I challenge you to do something that you love or used to enjoy, doesn’t have to be with anyone you can do it alone. Solo project, or with campany, maybe your kids! Pick something that normally makes YOU happy but you haven’t done it in a while. Go do it! Assuming it’s something healthy off course, not drugs or crime, a wholesome activity.
And then be proud of how you managed to do something fulfilling for yourself! Cling to that feeling of fulfillment. Every weekend try something new or do something you genuinely enjoy, even better if it doesn’t involve any form of substance abuse. Being strong for yourself is the best way to cope with depression & anxiety. Take those small steps towards showing gratitude & small steps towards doing activities that make you feel alive again. We have to “want to” save ourselves even amidst whatever chao is surrounding us.
Remember we can not always change the circumstances that spark our depression or anxiety. We have to always choose ourselves though, our sanity and our survival. Pull yourself out of it because you ARE a survivor with so much life to live. Go live it!
Blogger Zinhle Nkosi @TheRealZeeNkosi