Apparently today is the most miserable and depressing day of the year. Christmas is long gone and it’s still awhile to pay day. Only snow, cold weather and bills to look forward to. Sweet angel of mercy take me now! 😩
Depression, sadness or just low mood can have a dire affect on how we live our lives. If you’re experiencing low mood right now, it’s likely there will be days when you don’t want to surface from your bed. “What have I got to get up for?” creeps in and life seems just too hard to deal with. The thought of getting dressed and showing up somewhere you’re supposed to be is like trying to climb Ben Nevis in summer sandals!
So I’m advocating (you may not agree) that whether you get up and ‘perform’ every day should be more down to ‘WHY you should’ rather than ‘do you WANT to?’ So what I mean is this- it’s better in the long run to make practicalities more important than feelings. Obviously we’re all tortured souls and damaged goods so we all need a weepy ‘sorry for myself’ day on the sofa- it’s proven to do you good and apart from anything else it’s the law! But here’s the thing.. if it becomes a habit, you run the risk of going downhill faster than shit off a shovel!
For me, when I have those sorts of days, infrequently now I’m glad to say, I often feel the urge to eat more and it’s usually sugar & carbs. I wonder if that’s true for you too?
So, You may have the feeling that you don’t want to get up and face the world, but practicalities dictate you should. Likely practicalities include:-
Having children to raise
Feeding the cat
Letting the dog out
Going to your job
Being a carer
Upholding a promise
Obligations to fulfil....The list is endless.
In my darkest times it would have been all too easy to wallow in my bed but said practicalities took over. I didn’t have the choice to stay in bed as I needed to work to pay my bills, my children needed to see me coping better, and dad had just died and mum needed support.
I believe that putting practicalities first, rather than feelings, saved my life. At that time my mental health was depleting by the day and ‘Practicalities’ were the driving force behind me getting well again. Had I relied on my feelings to guide me then I’d either be dead now or still laying in my pit, skeletal and covered in cobwebs like Miss Haversham from ‘Great Expectations.’ Bless her, she was the character who lived the rest of her life in her wedding dress and never moved from her chair after being jilted at the altar! (fair play.... I’ve been jilted by a tosser, but not at the altar... 😩)
The truth is this... it became even darker for me at that time. In the early part of 2013 I was that woman sat in my car at the waters edge late at night contemplating how easy it would be to walk in, so the pain and anguish would soon be over. I had an old junior school pal who had done just that. Missing for two days and the only evidence was her unlocked car parked up at the reservoir until the sinister note to her ex husband turned up. If she could do it then maybe I could too? But I chose not to as I had children and grandchildren and what kind of a legacy is that to leave the people I loved more than life itself?
When you’re a therapist who helps others with depression, there is an expectation that you have a well ordered and happy life, with no mental health problems and such depth of knowledge you are well able to heal yourself. Any truthful therapist will tell you it’s simply not the case. We have the same financial, family, health and relationship problems as the next person and sometimes we find it too difficult to heal ourselves, but, as if by magic, we’re completely able to help others in a similar predicament.
You all know me by now... I am the queen of wedding cakes, and I have endured a complete mental breakdown in the past, I’ve been massively short of money at one time and my health has been pretty shitty these past few years. I’m living proof that therapists do not have perfect lives. Additionally, therapists are not the experts when it comes to living life well and being fulfilled, because the only ‘expert’ is the person living that life. You ultimately know how to heal yourself best, but guidance from a loved one or a professional can really aid that process.
There are those who are too fatigued or ill to feel like living. Some cannot wait for their time on earth to end and often for good reason. Anyone who lives in constant pain will tell you that. However, 15 years working in hospice care has taught me how resilient the most poorly of people are, and still have the drive to live for as long as possible; if only to see their daughter get married, their grandchild to be born or to just enjoy the simple things that can be still be achieved from a sofa or a bed, heavy on morphine!
So if you are in total misery right now, and If you feel you’d be better off dead then here’s the one pertinent question I ask all my clients who have suicidal thoughts. (I have my dear therapist friend A to thank for teaching me this one)
DO YOU WANT TO BE DEAD FOREVER?
When you ask this question you’ll often find the response is “no of course not, I just want to be dead right now because my emotional pain is too hard to bear.” In reality these poor souls do actually want to see their kids grow up, they do want to see their grandchild born, but a temporary ‘deadness’ is appealing so they can be removed from painful reality for a while. Asking them this question can help them make sense of what’s really important to them and may just save their life. Try it.... if you’re ever faced with someone considering taking their own life; ask them if they want to be dead forever and see what response you get.
Life does go on after depression or a mental breakdown. Be reassured that you can, in time, feel better and there are people who are trained to help you. Please don’t try and cope by yourself, you must ask for help. I did and I succeeded in turning my mental health around – you can too. AND FINALLY... Sorry folks this was a little heavy today so I’ve included a joke to make you smile before you leave my page.
A: What’s the difference between a tyre and 365 used condoms?
A: one’s a Goodyear and one’s a GREAT year!