Note: This post was written over a span of several weeks, not because I was perfecting it, but because I either didn’t feel like writing or I got interrupted/distracted or sleepy. Hope it still makes sense! 🙂
Not gonna lie, life is pretty rough sometimes. Sometimes we might find ourselves in an extended slump during which we have no motivation or drive to “push through.” Maybe that’s how you feel right now regarding some long-term endeavor. Maybe you feel like all you want to do is give up, but you’re also torn knowing that if you quit, you’ll probably feel like a failure and consequently, that would be quite depressing.
Maybe that’s how I’m feeling right now. Actually, that’s exactly the case. Inwardly I’m a blob of discouragement and unmotivatedness, and quite frankly I feel depressed, as if there’s a deep hole in my heart. But this “hole” has visited me enough times in my life that I’ve somewhat learned how to handle myself in such times.
How did I end up showing up to my laptop to write this post when my whole inward being doesn’t want to do anything except feel sad?
#1: PRACTICE – Or more like, it’s happened so many times in my life already that after experiencing it over and over again, I’ve found that some ways of coping/dealing with depressive episodes are far more effective than other ways. I’ve learned that no matter how terrible I feel, the feelings will not stay permanently. I’ve been practicing, based on my therapist’s suggestion, to “notice” or “acknowledge” those feelings, to recognize that, “oh look, there’s sadness paying me a visit, so I’ll say hello to it and then let it go,” similar to letting go of a balloon. In a sense it’s like you’re objectifying the feeling, though I still allow myself to feel the feelings rather than pretending they’re not there. It’s like, hey, I have this feeling and it’s there, and I won’t deny it because that’s the fact, but the feeling is just a feeling so I acknowledge that it’s hanging out here with me for now, but in the meantime I’ll keep doing whatever it is that I’m supposed to be doing. The more I do this, the more easy and automatic this “method” becomes.
#2: VISION – If you have a clear vision of something you’re working towards, and you can really SEE it to the point where it’s REAL to you, and you want it SO badly.. then that vision will be able to override your lack of motivation (the majority of the time), and it’s COMPLETELY OKAY to have occasional “off” days. The vision is THAT good, that even when you’re like, “I can’t get up from this comfy couch and I don’t feel like doing anything,” you’ll somehow still (perhaps slowly) get up from that couch and do something to get closer to your dream goal.
For some reason I somehow find myself writing more about depression on this blog than planned, so apologies for that. If you can relate at all, then great, and I hope my sharing can be of help to you. But if you can’t really relate much to depression and mental health struggles, that’s okay too. Regardless of our natural disposition, we all still need to find ways to get things done in life, especially us millennials.
Some days later…
I didn’t get to finish writing some days ago, so here I am again. Showing up to my laptop. Except this time I’m not feeling depressed at all and am finishing up this post at the end of a great day. (Didn’t actually finish the post that day..)
I also learned an effective secret yesterday, which I guess is now my not-so-secret secret. 🙂 This secret has gotten me way out of the realm of depression, sadness, anxiety, and restlessness. This “secret” – actually, I don’t know why I’m calling it a secret because it’s not something that needs to be kept from others to know about.
So this “tool” that I discovered over the past week is something that has revolutionized the past few days for me, and I believe the lessons learned here will also revolutionize the rest of my life.
It’s actually quite simple. I began to shift my attention away from myself, my problems, my worries, my discomfort, my unfulfilled desires, MY MY MY everything… and began to pay attention to the problems of those around me, but not in a critical sense at all.
What I mean is, I’ve been finding that what saves me from depression the most (besides meds and therapy) is helping and caring for others, thus redirecting my focus to something outside of me and my situation. I believe that human beings have this innate characteristic of finding fulfillment in making a difference in others’ lives. Just think about it.
That being said, I was told by my therapist that I shouldn’t always be “distracted” from the difficult things I’m going through, because in order to properly pass through the healing process, it is still necessary for me to take time to process everything, while not allowing myself to fall into the depression vortex.
So for the most part, focusing on other people or things is a healthy way to be distracted to the point where I can still experience the inevitable emotions for healing, without being overtaken by the stronghold of depression.
On another note, I’m also at a time of the month when PMS is no longer an issue. Pardon me for being TMI. Just telling it as it is, because I don’t want to sugarcoat anything I write here. So granted, my stabilized hormones has probably also contributed to my improved well-being.
Even more days later…
I just went back and added some more writing above to fill in some gaps.. now my brain is tired after trying to put into words some of the complicated ideas in my brain.