“I am bent, but not broken. I am depressed, but not giving up.”
A few days ago Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp were down because of an outage. And people were worried — because this is the age of being connected ALWAYS. So imagine a day without the so-called connection! We cannot function anymore without checking in or letting the world know about our ‘success stories’.
But this effort of always being connected has a toll on our mind and body and definitely on our relationships. Our energies are depleted, which affects our mental health.
We start to worry a lot, we worry about our failures and our friends’ apparent success, we worry that we are not doing it the right way. We worry that we are lagging way behind our friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, or acquaintances.
What is Worrying?
Worrying is anticipating something bad in the future that has not happened and may not happen. So we give our valuable ‘now’ to something that may or may not happen. Worrying leads to depression and anxiety. This article explains how social media plays a role in depression.
Although let me tell you, social media is not the ONLY source of depression or anxiety. I avoid social media to a great extent, but does that stop me from worrying? NO.
Some of us are, I believe, way more vulnerable to stress, anxiety, and depression.
Stress and anxiety are like slow poisoning. We do not realize the immediate effect but it kills us slowly without even us realizing that. There can be days when it really hits you so hard that getting up and going through the day seems impossible.
If you are suffering from long-term depression or anxiety, it’s a good option to consider therapy.
The best option to combat depression and anxiety is to create a plan. This plan is meant to guide you on what to do when you are feeling hopeless. You can create this plan along with your therapist, or you can create it all by yourself — but the point is you need to come up with a plan that works for YOU.
However, this is a better idea when you are feeling soberer and not when you are deep down in that hell hole.
So, right now if you are feeling too low to get going, you feel too numb to do anything, you are just too sad to think otherwise, then this is not theright time to create a plan, because creating a plan takes time and requires you to think logically and clearly.
And when we are hurt, logic is the last thing that comes to mind, right? So, if you are in that situation, try doing any of the following from the list instead.
Go For a Walk
When I am desperate, when I am deeply wounded or when I feel too troubled and feel too heavy on my chest to just go on, going for a walk really makes a lot of difference. I just put on my jacket and walking shoes and off I go.
The cool air, the sunshine (I have walked in rain too), or perhaps a connection with nature — I am not sure what’s the root, but it definitely lets me take off some of my steam and works magic. It helps me to reconnect with myself and makes me aware that this is just a phase and this shall pass too.
Try Box Breathing
If I tell you to start practicing meditation at this point when you are feeling too low, you might not be in a mood to try something new or ‘silly’, because, well, I thought the same too until I tried meditation.
I began my meditation journey a year ago, when I felt absolutely depressed or overwhelmingly anxious, and I couldn’t stop, I didn’t want to stop. If you have never practiced meditation, this might not sound the best advice, but trust me sitting down just observing your breath for a few minutes can do wonders.
But right now, you can rather try this simple box breathing exercise for just a few minutes. This article explains the benefits of box breathing as a stress management technique and the fact that “it can be practiced virtually anywhere and anytime — when you’re showering, watching tv, or even working.”
WebMD explains the 4 steps of box breathing:
Step 1: Breathe in counting to four slowly. Feel the air enter your lungs.
Step 2: Hold your breath for 4 seconds. Try to avoid inhaling or exhaling for 4 seconds.
Step 3: Slowly exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds.
Step 4: Repeat steps 1 to 3 until you feel re-centered.
Write Down Your Thoughts
After I started journaling my thoughts, I have been better able to process my thoughts and hence the feeling or emotions behind them. I started observing what do I feel, why do I feel what I feel, what made me feel that, what happened before, what did I do to change that, and if I could do anything to change that.
Journaling has helped me work through my anxious feelings and I suggest you do that. Some of the roots of anxiety or depression can be examined better when we have written them down and have the opportunity to read and realize if this is really that bad?
So take a pen and paper and just jot down your thoughts — whatever comes to your mind, without judgment. Forget about perfectionism, just write down whatever is bothering you right now.
Watch a Film
You may be surprised that this is even on the list. And beware, watching TV actually complicates depression. So why am I listing it as a coping mechanism? Because remember we are talking about a crisis situation, we are talking about those days when you are badly wounded and do not see any hope.
And I am not talking about binge-watching day after day, I am just talking about this moment and I am talking about watching ONE film (or maybe a few).
Watching a film is indeed a temporary coping mechanism when all else fails. Research suggests that television viewing can serve as a means of escape from depressive moods for many people.
Here’s an article that shows why ‘depression watching’ is so comforting. You are doing something to distract yourself from your disturbing thoughts and it tells your brain that there are other things in life too.
So do not bury yourself with guilt or shame if you are taking some time off for yourself. You can’t be doing something productive all the time. But just don’t get carried away and make sure that it doesn’t interfere with your daily life.
Working on depression and anxiety takes a lot of time and planning and this article should not replace your therapy or treatment. However, this article is meant to guide you on those days when you just cannot take it anymore, when your thoughts overwhelm you so much that you feel terrible.
Yes sure, you could work on your hobby, play or listen to music, do something creative, cook, eat your favorite food, talk with others, clean your house, or do any other thing that helps you relax.
You can create that list of things that inspire you or make you happy when you have the time and patience. But for now, just relax, take a walk, take a deep breath, journal or watch a movie. And remember you are not alone.