Tonight, I have company over. A friend. She, like me, is a social worker. She’s a mental health counsellor, and so we get on the topic of, you guessed it, anxiety and depression.
And she asked me, what do I do to cope?
And I told her, in length, several of the things I do or that I think to overcome those more trying days. To sometimes just get by.
Harder days are fewer and further in between, but they’re still a regular visitor in town that I can count on stoping by for a visit here and there.
So, some of these things will sound familiar. Some will serve as a reminder, and some are spelled out for you in a little more detail.
The most important thing that I do is I tell myself that the moment is fleeting and that nothing lasts forever. I reassure myself of this each and everyday. Emotions are a fact of life. This too shall pass. Take the good with the bad.
I try to always look for the positive. For instance, yesterday was a great day. And I had a wonderful night last out with some new friends. I started planning my wedding. I have things to look forward to. And sure bad stuff will happen, but bright days are just around the corner.
I tell myself on the more miserable days that perhaps this wasn’t the day I wanted it to be, but it was a day in my life nonetheless and I focus on or remind myself of the little good things that also happened, like a call from my parents, or laughter, or a compliment.
Something else I do is try to rationalize and determine what the root cause is. Last night I drank alcohol, today I’m feeling anxious. Alcohol is a depressant that depletes the “feel good” neurotransmitter serotonin and thus contributes to, what I like to call, the day after blues.
As women, our hormones are always fluctuating and so I rationalize that my period or cycle is responsible for an off day. I just feel like if I can explain some of the insanity I’m better adept at dealing with it.
I also try to ensure I am kind to myself. That if I need to rest that I rest. If I need to move slowly through the day, that I do.
But I also don’t allow myself to linger in that for too long, because inaction isn’t healthy and I know that too. You need to move your body. And accomplishing something is rewarding whether that’s cleaning out your closet or doing a project or planting a seed.
What else? I don’t read depressing information or articles. I don’t google anxiety and/or depression. And, I rarely watch the news. There’s just too much fear mongering for me. And I try to avoid depressing music or films. I’m not living in a bubble, but if it’s important enough I feel like I’ll hear about it.
And I write. Writing has been so cathartic for me. When I write I release some of the pain that’s built up inside. And that pain becomes beautiful and has a purpose whenever anyone writes me and tells me it was helpful for them. My pain becomes a labor of love in someway. And those thoughts are helpful for me.
I also believe in God or the universe and that it’s got my back. That there’s something bigger than me that’s looping all of this mess together for some bigger purpose. I’m not a huge, religious person. I’m really not, but I have faith that I’m on a path and I’m being looked out for. And I totally respect anyone who thinks this is hogwash. But my spirituality has kept me alive to be quite frank.
And so, it’s not a laughing matter. Whatever works.
Aside from everything I’ve already said, I carry The Power Of Now with me wherever I go. I go for runs or walks, and I hang out with my friends. And I play sports.
I’m a pretty easygoing person, I’m kind of funny, and I look normal. And so I want to give depression and anxiety a new face. Because these illnesses haunt people who look and act just like me. Just your normal human.
And so remember that. Because you could be talking to someone right now with a racing heart, or a heavy weight in their head, and they may seem perfectly normal. Perfectly fine, when the truth is they may be struggling. Hurting desperately. They may not be, too. But they might be.
It pays to be kind. Remember that. When you’re kind, doors open up for you.
And you become happier and healthier from within yourself.
The aforementioned are just what I do to cope. We are each different. You do what works for you. This is what works for me. Anxiety and depression, whether they occur concurrently for you, or on their own are challenging. And I feel you.
I also take medication so that I’m better able to do all that I’ve discussed, with a clarity of mind and thought. With an ability to reason and separate my irrational thoughts.
I hope this helps!