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Understanding the Endless Cycle

Many liken depression to a disease or an illness. The only difference is that unlike a medical disease, the “cure” for depression is subjective. It requires constant work. As I have stated before, the only way to “beat” depression is to change the way you think. With a little bit of effort, this should be somewhat achievable.

Have you ever had a day that started out so well, only to have it fall apart within the following few hours? You were feeling okay; great even. Then, something suddenly happens. You hear a passing comment that reminds you of all that is wrong or see something that sends your mood tumbling down again. It happens so easily. So quickly.

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This is where you must step in to break the pattern.

 

Understand the Emotion

The first thing that you must do is to recognize what you are feeling in that moment. Is it loneliness? Anger? Guilt? Fear? Whatever it is, make a note of it. Describe it. Add as many details as you can.

Why? 

By unleashing the emotion out on paper (or on your phone or computer), you make it tangible. It’s no longer something lurking in the back of your mind. You can see it there in black and white. It has now become easier to deal with.

 

Stopping the Downward Spiral

There are a few things that you can do to prevent yourself from sinking. Here are some of the tried and tested methods that have worked for me in the past.

  1. Talk to Yourself – this gets as easier with practice. Just have a simple discussion of why you feel this way. Try to see if there is something that you can say to make yourself feel better. If it helps, imagine that you are talking to a friend instead. What would you say to them if they were in your position? After all, it is generally easier to give advice to someone else.
  2. Create some Affirmations – This is just a fancy way of saying “be your own cheerleader”. Repeat things that you need to hear. It will seem silly at first but stick with it. It can be something simple like, “I am strong”, “I am loved”, “I am better than this”, “Everything is fine”. Repeat them. Say them in front of a mirror if you can.
  3. Take a Step Back – We normally get so caught up with the future, wondering why we don’t have a million dollars or a fancy house or a better life (this is just an exaggeration). Look back. What have you overcome? What steps are you taking now? Are you doing anything to help yourself? If yes, then now is the time to appreciate that effort. Reward yourself. You are not the same person that you were a year ago.
  4. Talk to Someone – because after all, we all need to vent every now and then.
  5. Surround Yourself with Positivity – okay, that was cringe-worthy. I agree with you. Basically, try to see if you can plant these little reminders around your everyday life. Get a poster with a motivating quote, set your desktop background to something that makes you feel inspired. The possibilities are endless. When you feel down, use it as a mood boost.

For instance, here are two things that I own with

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I have a daily planner with this right on the front. It’s a basic quote, but sometimes it can be a helpful reminder. I happened to find this at Hallmark while searching for a birthday card.

 

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It reads “A certain darkness is needed to see the brightest stars”. Yes, it may be a bit of a cliche, but the galaxy background in the back with this quote seems to work! For all of you Canadians out there, I got it from Chapters.

Over time, it will be easier to prevent yourself from entering another depressive cycle. These are little things are doing something even greater – training your mind.

 

Going Forward 

Take a look at the list of emotions/situations that are causing you to slip further down. Is there something that you can do today to ease their power? Make a plan for yourself. Tackle it by slowly chipping away at the feeling.

What the hell are you talking about?

The goal is to give your positivity some fuel. If you are working on tackling the problem areas, you are able to appease the little voice in your head that is telling you that everything is wrong. You now have proof of your achievements.

For instance, if the emotion is loneliness, think about what you can do to add social activities to your calendar. Take a class, start a hobby, see if there are events in your area. Just try to put yourself out there. When that nagging feeling returns, you can tell yourself that you have made strides to have a richer social life. You may not be where you want, but you are getting there.

 

We are taking this one baby step at a time. There is no need to rush into anything.

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