Staying Thankful While Depressed

happiness

Bad days happen, and sometimes so do bad weeks. But even as I’ve had such a day, I can still think about the many blessings in my life and the very fact that I live in a country where several opportunities are available to me, with even better ones can be created at my discretion.

We should all be thankful for at least one thing in our lives. See if you can find something, big or small, that you are happy about. It’s a simple practice that can help ease your mind immediately after a negative experience or a terrible day.

One of my favorite TedxTalks is by Iskra Lawrence where she mentions a mental list of gratitude she pulls out whenever she starts feeling down about herself. I now use this method myself in the exact same situations Iskra discusses in the video.

Gratitude is a great act of self-care, especially when we feel so sorry for ourselves for whatever reason. Gratitude lifts our moods by changing our perspective on life just a little. We have to soothe ourselves with habitual practices that will eventually separate us from misery.

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It’s the midnight hour and I’m reflecting on the day I just had. It was a shit day–I literally got shit on by a pigeon! And you know what? The entire week wasn’t all that good either: I started growing tired of my new job, despite only being 3 weeks in. My feet hurt so much from constantly standing at work in an unsuitable pair of shoes (that’ll have to be worn until I can afford a proper pair). Missed some familial events, and I haven’t saved a cent from my first paycheck. The latter triggered a depressive episode that lasted the entire weekend because I feel stuck in a perpetual cycle of never having enough money just to live. It seems like any efforts to break from this level of poverty are in vain. Spending every earning of my first paycheck on debts and rent caused me to give up my goal of having my own place, making more than enough money to live, and ever going back to school. I feel as though my goals aren’t worth working towards.

Sigh.

But writing tends to heal my wounds. I can move on if I can let it out in writing. Fact of the matter is, I’m a dreamer. I dream of my lovely home I’ll share with my hubby and kids. I dream of the loyal dog I’ll have by my side, and I dream of falling in Love–in deep, flaming hot, true Love. I believe in magic: I see the beauty in many things, which is often hard for many people to do. I stop and notice the little details, like the heart of a cherry blossom growing on a bush, or the butterfly fluttering in the field. I love to take in such details. I read and watch everything fairy tale related. That’s who I am. I don’t want to lose myself to such lethargy. So, maybe I’ll just keep aiming for my goals. I mean, it’s best for me to remember that life is never working against me, but rather for me.

I hope you remember that too.

 

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I don’t know what to do with my life.

I am lost. The new school year approaches and I’m getting more scared by the day about how I’m going to translate this to my family: I want nothing to do with where and what I am studying.  I need to take a semester off. I’m confused and in this summer alone I’ve explored the possibilities of 8 different career paths.

Finding the energy to continue writing has not been easy. Sometimes the words have not yet come and I stare at blank space. I feel mildly depressed. Just a steady state of grey.

My schooling situation truly is a first world problem. It’s not ridiculous, but maybe it’s a mere problem. There’s so much pressure from family to keep going to school, to not take any breaks or change programs again. I’ve switched programs twice before, and the last time I switched back to my second program. These were all worthwhile mistakes except for the last time. I’d only switched back because I felt lost but wanted to get school over with.

It’s been five years that I’m in school.  I’m interested in writing, and I’m enrolled in a Publications program at an art school. It’s the wrong choice somehow; I’m at a point where I’m not getting much out of the program anymore. I learn nothing. My time and money feel wasted. I’m in class physically, but not mentally.

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I spend most of the day lounging around often feeling tired or sleeping. There’s always an reason as to why I won’t write or exercise today even though I ought to.

I did do some practice recently. It has been much easier to find motivation to move my body than it was a few months ago. Lately, when I’ve been doing yoga, I’ve been crying a lot.

I feel guilty about crying all the time. There are people in much worse situations than mine–humans whom I feel for and cry with, but I still can’t help feeling so lost and confused. Scared and not brave enough. Little, afraid to rise. Also, I’m exhausted; continually thinking about my future has got me spent. I don’t know how not to. I always need to prep safety nets before relaxing into the present moment just to have no future regrets. Because regrets have happened before. But enjoying the present moment almost never happens.Save

How To Go Outside Despite Depression

woman-outside

Summer is here. Try taking a walk. The sun gives your skin vitamin D, which plays a role in the improvement (and cause) of depression. Studies show that the liver and kidney transform vitamin D into a hormone that aids in the release of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine. A deficiency in vitamin D can cause depression, especially during colder months–you may have already heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Besides, you know what else is great about summer? The smell of sweet green grass and scented flowers. Butterflies and moths fluttering around on their breathtaking wings. Trees shivering when meeting the breeze. Birds singing, and finally seeing something other than a pigeon or a seagull. You know, a bird that’s actually nice to look at.

You don’t have to go far, and you can start out once or twice a week.  You don’t need running shoes or workout gear. You only need yourself. You can bring music with you if you think you fear being stuck in your thoughts or bored.

Decide that you can at least do this one thing today for yourself. When you get back home, and maybe crawl back into bed, you’ll be glad that you got your body to move a little bit. You may even be energized and want to do a little more with your day.

The first few weeks can be hard to motivate yourself to go outside. Here is what helps me:

  • Having a destination: there’s a mall across the street from my home. I get groceries or wander around Wal-Mart. My siblings and father also live a walking distance from me.
  • Pep talks: I tell myself, “I just need to make it downstairs and through the door.”
  • Staying in the neighborhood:  I am seriously anxious about seeing anybody I know in public places, so I stay close to home at the moment. I don’t know many people in my neighborhood, so it’s easier for me to want to leave the house and take walks here.

The sun and nature are incredibly therapeutic tools to use. I hope you find comfort in them.

Resources:

Psychological consequences of vitamin D deficiency-Psychology Today

Vitamin D: Health Benefits, Facts & Research

How can I get the vitamin D my body needs?

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