When I started this blog, I wanted it to symbolise a fresher, happier start in life – away from my previous mental illnesses. However, I now realise that it’s not going to be the case; but that’s okay, I’m allowed to have slip ups. So today I wanted to write about my own personal experiences and what I feel during these periods of time, and how I cope with them.
Sadness: Depression, above all else obviously causes sadness and this can be tough to deal with, especially when you’re just trying to go through everyday life. During relapses of depression sadness can appear from seemingly nowhere, and it can be really tough to go from “normal” to wanting to cry all the time. But I’ve learnt that it’s okay to let this happen rather than pretending that everything is okay. Crying is a really good way of getting feelings out, and having a recuperation or mental health day can be one of the best things to help get over a period of depression.
Isolation: This is quite possibly one of the biggest struggles I personally face. Living on my own at uni, I can often feel very isolated from not only the outside world but from all the people around me when I am depressed. When getting out of bed feels like a struggle, going outside of my flat can feel pretty much impossible, so I can easily go days without speaking to a single person. Generally, I combat this by waiting until there is no food left in my flat and forcing myself to go food shopping outside. I’ve found shopping and the need to keep food in my flat can be a really good motivator in these types of situations. Another must for me is to go on social media and talk to people, or to begin another blog post to write. I can get lost in my writing and forget about my worries for a while.
Emptiness: This probably won’t make sense to people who don’t have depression, but there is this feeling of emptiness that can be overwhelming at times. As a person who usually loves food, there is nothing stranger to me than putting a few bites into my mouth and not feeling any urge to keep going. This emptiness can remove the feelings of hunger and happiness and I end up going days having only eaten a couple of meals. So, rather than forcing down a load of food I have no interest in eating, I tend to drink a lot of soup instead, just so I get some calories during the day. I also keep myself busy with everyday chores such as cooking (soup) and cleaning that aren’t too stressful to give me a feeling of accomplishment.
Stress: Having anxiety as well as depression leaves me with a lot of stress. Being incapable of doing my university work obviously causes a large amount of stress, and – during periods of depression – these two things are a constant battle in my head, with both fueling each other at times. Listening to music or the radio can help bring my anxiety down a bit, as I can focus on the lyrics of a song rather than the thoughts in my own head. It is also important for me to remember that I shouldn’t have to compare myself to or compete with other people, who are probably more mentally well than I am. Knowing that I’m allowed to go at my own pace can relieve so much stress and really help me towards eventually getting back into my work.
Grief: I use the word grief here because it can feel like I have essentially lost the sane part of myself, and it’s almost as if I’m grieving over what I used to have maybe a week or only a few days ago. I feel as though I am not the same person when talking to people and I’ve lost the part of me they liked. The best way to get over this is to actually tell people what is going on and why I’m acting a certain way. It’s not only a relief off my shoulders, but people become more understanding too.
I hope this can at least help someone out with their own problems, and I do encourage anyone dealing with this to get help. Mind is a great website with loads of information about these processes.