Tuesday, 3 December 2013

How to fight your way out of a situational depression

A couple of months ago, I found out my boyfriend was cheating on me. I think it was more of an emotional affair than a physical one, but it doesn’t matter. No matter what the person you love is lying to you about, it hurts like a bitch.

Being lied to by your one and only is a very confusing time, and your heart is not only shattered, but wrenched up into a tiny little ball, twisting and turning so much that you can physically feel both love and pain being squeezed out of it and dropping into a little messy puddle at your feet. You’re left staring down at this mess, feeling like an outsider looking in, and thinking: WTF.

I had never been treated like this before, and I had no idea what to expect.

I couldn’t cope.

I couldn’t get off my couch and didn’t even shower for a couple of days. I didn’t eat, watch TV, or answer my phone. Occasionally I would open my red, swollen eyes to stare at the wall.

Sounds pretty sad, doesn’t it?

It was.

But at the time, I didn’t realize what a deep, dark, depressing hole I was sinking into.

This behaviour didn’t last for just a couple of days or a week. It went on continuously for almost a month. I finally became aware of my behaviour when a friend stopped by unexpectedly on a Saturday afternoon around 12:30 p.m.

Friend: “What are you up to?”

Me: “Nothing. I was just in bed.”

Friend: “Oh, were you sleeping?”

Me: “No, I was lying in bed.”

Friend: “What were you doing? Reading?”

Me: “No. I was doing nothing.”

Friend: “How long have you been awake for?”

Me: “I don’t know. A while.”

Friend (surprised and concerned): “So….you’ve just lying in bed all day?”

Me: “Yup…”

It was shortly after this wake-up-call conversation that I burst into tears.

Omg, I thought. All I ever do is lay around.

Getting up to do the dishes felt like an insurmountable task, and leaving my house was not even an option. I dwelled on my broken heart and couldn’t see myself or my life as anything else but just that: broken.

Me: “I think I’m depressed.”

I knew from that moment on that I had some work to do. I needed to get my life back on track and force myself to start living again. Here are some steps that I took to begin to climb my way out of a dark hole some people call depression:

Admit it

It’s been said that admitting you have a problem is the first step to getting help. This is true. I didn’t even realize that I was so unbearably miserable until I finally took a step back and realized that I wasn’t myself anymore. It took me a while to acknowledge this, but when I did I immediately felt a little bit better. And then I told my friends and family. They now had a better understanding of what I was facing, and continued to support me.

Not to a different town, city or country – although the thought of running away from your current life may sound tempting, it won’t help things in the long run (trust me on this, I’ve been there).

I mean physically. Get outside and go for a walk. Even if it’s around the block, it’s a start.

Ask your friends and family to make plans with you to do something healthy. Go to a yoga class together or try something new. Maybe go play a game of badminton.

Not only does being active improve your self-esteem, help you sleep better, and strengthen your body, but it also releases natural endorphins that trigger a positive feeling in the body. These endorphins are sometimes called “happy hormones” and help you feel better from the inside out.

Stay busy

Start filling up your calendar.

Look for things to do. Make plans with friends. Sign up for a new course. Volunteer. Try making a
list of things that need to be done every day and every week. Reach out to others. Do favours. Call your parents. Make time for old friends you’ve been meaning to catch up with.

In order to start feeling fulfilled again, you’re going to have be productive and get things done.
You’ll soon see that people love your company, and you’ll be too busy to think about how sad you are.

Don’t get drunk or high

These are depressants and you’ll only feel worse. Stay clean and sober for a while. If you’re out at a party and want to have a drink or two, fine. But now is not the time to be getting wasted. Wait it out. Trust me on this. If you think getting out of bed is hard now, try doing it when you have a raging headache from drinking too much red wine. It’s not fun. Don’t do it. Stay sober.

Talk to a professional

Your problems may feel like they are just too much to take on by yourself. Speak to a professional. There is no shame in this. In fact, you should be proud that you are taking the steps you need to live the best life that you can. There are people trained to help you, and they want to help you. Let them.

Seek out a therapist referral from your family physician, call a helpline, or speak to a pastor at a Church. There is help available to you everywhere. Take advantage of this.

Remember that you are wonderful and deserve to live a great life. Tell yourself this every day, until you believe it.

Also remember that I’m not a doctor or a professional! This is advice I’m giving based on my personal experiences. Take it as only that, please.

Thanks for reading,