Those of us with depression and anxiety will have heightened or 'exaggerated' feelings. A bad day will feel really bad. Everything seems so black and sometimes it's a struggle to get out of the hole. You may think 'what is the point?' and 'why bother'. Other days may not feel as black and you enjoy life. This is why people may not understand what you are going through. They may see you on a good day and think 'she/he is fine'.
I'm currently trying to recover from a 'black blip'. I know it is reactive; there is a cause for why I am going through this bad patch.
I'm still struggling to come to terms with my diagnoses of dyslexia and dyspraxia. You may think this is a minor thing to get upset about and the rational part of my head agrees with you.
After all, a new label does not change who you are or what you have achieved. If anything, it is a new opportunity to reevaluate skills (both 'good' and 'bad') and develop strategies to enhance yourself. Win Win.!
I'm not ready to disclose exactly what triggered this blip. But somebody said something which upset me. I was previously feeling positive, but now feel a bit hopeless about it and having thoughts of how the labels will impact and have huge consequences on the rest of my life.
Also (stupidly), I've been going back to the end of my marriage. I am struggling with the fact I have huge gaps in my memory. A friend said this is a good thing; 'your mind is removing the bad memories so you can move forward'. However, it makes me doubt myself. Did the 'episodes' actually happen. Am I making up my memories of the 'episodes' I still remember? Should I take blame for the actions? after all you wouldn't choose to walk on a busy road with lots of cars before checking it is safe to do so.
I'm struggling with how I reacted at the end. I got so fed up one day I snapped. I decided the only way to deal with the violence and abuse was to start sticking up for myself. I felt a lot of anger, and my tolerance massively diminished. To this day it is something I am not happy about. I just wished I walked away the first time it happened, or even called the police. Everything is so much easier with hindsight.
My friends and the counsellor I used to see were kind; 'you were acting in self defence', 'you are the least angry person I know'. But, I always internally dispute their responses 'they're only saying that because they're my friends', 'they don't want to upset me' or 'this is the counsellors job; she is getting paid to do this'.
My friends highlighted this is known tooccur with people experiencing abuse and even the courts recognise this.
To this day I am still partly in denial and frequently flit between 'yes I was abused and no I wasn't'. When someone mentions that I was a victim of domestic violence I sometimes recoil and feel guilty that I have been given that 'label'.
Part of me believes what happened was never that bad. I never needed to go to hospital, or sustained black eyes or broken bones. The worst outcomes were a couple of bruises (never on the face) and pain for a few days.
I remember treating a lady who's husband had fractured her skull after hitting her with a garden rake. Her children were taken into care because of the domestic violence and she still couldn't leave him. Anyway, I always think of her and reason what I experienced is nothing compared to what other men and women have. So why am I still struggling, despite walking away 3 years ago, relatively scot free?
I have spent quite a bit of my free time reading about depression, anxiety and the psychology of the human mind. From this I've learnt:
To be aware. Thoughts and feelings are just that; thoughts and feelings of being depressed, stressed or anxious. They shouldn't control or define how you function.
Know this phase will pass. You will feel better at some point no matter how bad it is.
That it is okay to be sad. You can sit alongside the sadness and get on with life, just as it is okay to sit and be happy whilst getting on with life.
To talk. I rarely used to open up about what I was going through. I used to think that I'm being a nag and didn't want to burden people. However, not discussing my thoughts and feelings is probably what triggered the depression and anxiety. Actually those that don't talk or seek help when struggling are the ones who end up attempting suicide etc (partly why the incidence of suicide is higher in men).
Not to make big decisions. When battling with depression/poor mood/ mental health/stress, it is important to recognise that the thoughts and feelings which occur may not be 'rational'. Any big decisions should be benched until you are back to your normal self.
Rather than focus on the big things (and feeling overwhelmed) it is important to:
Break things into small tasks focus on the day rather than the year (s)
Congratulate yourself for accomplishing goals during the black times ('well done hadooli for managing to get out of bed and the house' or 'well done for going to the gym and doing a solid work out')
Self love; its okay to have an off day.!
Set yourself one goal involving something you enjoy
For myself it is exercise (obviously.!). I wasn't up for exercising today because of my mood, but negotiated with myself to do a HIIT run (short and sweet as it can be done in less than 20 minutes). However, as soon as I started running I felt SO much better. The only way to describe this, is that the sad feelings were literally extracted from my body. I actually ending up managing a 5 mile run with negative increments (increasing the pace with every mile), in 47 minutes. I also managed some accessory weight workouts and treated myself to a luxurious sauna session afterwards (treat.!).
I'm now sat writing this post after finishing my workout (with an extra hot decaf soya mocha!). If I was to score the blackness pre and post work out it was 9/10 before and now 2/10. I feel motivated and much better about facing tomorrow.
Even if you are not into exercise, but struggling with depression/mental health/mood/stress, negotiate with yourself to go for a walk/swim/etc- even if it is for 5 minutes. The hardest part of depression is motivating and actually moving, but once you actually manage to get up and do something you will immediately feel better for it.
This morning life was black. Now it is red.
For anyone struggling, I hope you manage to change the black to red/pink/green/gold/white.!