Some call it going through the motions. Some call it situational depression. To some, however, it might just feel like an endless abyss — sucking all the joy and fun that you think you might have if you hadn’t been so low.
Nothing makes sense, nothing excites you, nothing sparks joy, you don’t feel like doing anything. You feel tired all the time. You sleep way too much, or you sleep way too little. Everything feels like a blur. You’re like a ticking time bomb, and you don’t know exactly what will trigger you.
But don’t worry, I’m not here to tell you that it’s all in your head, mind over matter, get over it etc. What I’m going to do is suggest ways to counter this:
1. Feel it and welcome it — acknowledge how you’re feeling
You don’t have to pretend that everything is okay. Well, they might be okay, but you’re just feeling crap about everything in general. You’re not being ungrateful, whiny or a drama king/queen; that’s just the way life is. If everything was just smooth sailing and happiness all the time, we’d never learn anything and we’d never begin to appreciate other things.
So the first thing you need to do is to tell yourself and every single cell in your body is that: “Yes, I’m feeling sad, and that’s okay.” After all, the first step in every single self-help book or programme is ‘acknowledge’, isn’t it? I could be wrong, but it’s definitely one of them.
2. Clear out your social calendars
You’re evidently not in the mood to see people, meet new people or laugh. That’s okay. You might feel like ignoring every body else, including your closest friends — or speak to only one or two. No problem. If they’re really your friends and if they really care about you, they’d understand. Tell them you need time to sort out your mind, and let them know if you ever need anything.
Don’t feel forced to say yes to an event or a night out when really, you would rather watch some mindless shows on Netflix. You could end up feeling worse when you’re out (like me, in the middle of the dance floor at 11pm on a Friday night — which is actually one of my favourite things to do, but not lately).
3. Do work, but also do nothing
You might feel overwhelmed by the slightest, most menial tasks at work. It happens when you’re feeling this way. Even getting out of bed may seem like you’re trying to lift proverbial weights off your body. But you need to ensure that while you’re ‘off’, other things must remain ‘on’, i.e. your bills get paid, your work gets done, your dog gets fed … you know, just so you can do nothing without actually secretly worrying and breaking down over the fact that everything is falling apart.
My advise is: when you need some ‘me’ time, invest in a little ‘other things to do before my me time’, just to facilitate a smooth ‘leave me alone, I’m moping and sulking’ process, yes?
4. Don’t feel bad about not being ‘present’
Referring to point number 2 earlier on, even if you’re actually physically out, your mind might be at home, snoozing. Or worse, it could just be …. gone?
(Pro tip: change your WhatsApp status to ‘out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message’)
There’s nothing worse than being out with your friends pretending to have a good time and then suddenly realising that you’d rather be home. I actually have a meme for this but I can’t find it in my ‘shitpost’ folder at the moment.
So, if your friends STILL want to drag you out despite your predicament, you might just relent and go. But go with the knowledge that they are aware of how you’re feeling, and if they call you a spoilsport or a killjoy, punch them in the throat. No I’m joking, don’t do that. Just tell them to leave you alone LIKE YOU INITIALLY PLANNED, OTHERWISE JUST LIVE WITH IT DAMMIT.
5. Eat, sleep and nourish your body
Chances are your entire regime/routine is off kilter. You could be skipping meals, or bingeing. Nothing makes sense anymore, right? Don’t kill yourself over it though. As we spoke about in number 1, just acknowledge what you’re going through. Don’t fall into the guilt trap of over-eating and then punishing yourself after all for doing so either by starving or eating some more. Just relax, eat what you feel like eating and trust me, once you’re back in full swing, you’re going to sort that one right out.
We’re humans, there’s is no certain way to be perfect. And perfect isn’t even a state that we should all be striving for. What we need to strive for is a state where you, your mind, body and soul are in complete synergy.
(Pro tip: if you think that nobody gives a damn about you, think about how all the millions of cells in your body are working just to keep you well, and how all they think and care about is you)
(2nd pro tip: is this a bad time to tell you that KFC or any fried chicken is a good way to lift the spirits?)
6. Come back when you’re ready — it’s not a race
You don’t have to be ‘well’ by end of August. You don’t have to feel 100% by your birthday. If you notice that you’re abiding by these self-imposed rules, ask yourself why. Who does it benefit? If it’s not for you then is it really worth going through all the hassle and the forced recovery?
And who’s timing you, anyway? You should punch THEM in the throat.
Like all things in life, there is no set date or a deadline. You shouldn’t be in a hurry to meet new people, fall in love, get married, have kids. You shouldn’t be in a hurry to climb that social ladder by the age of X.
I’ve spoken about this here.
Remember, you’re your only ally, so cut yourself some slack, and just freakin’ relax. All things will fall into place, so will your mental health.