Depression. Mental Disorders. Suicide. All are such taboo words. So taboo, we pretend they don’t exist. We hide our depression beneath a smile. We are ashamed to be broken, to struggle, to hurt.
However, there is no shame in crying on the bathroom floor, wanting for the pain to end. There is no shame in feeling unworthy and to hurt. We all go through similar struggles. We all have times when we just want to be done. But what do you do when all you want to do is quit? When it feels like you’ll never see happier days?
Narrow Your Focus
If making it to the next week seems impossible, focus on the next day. When the next day seems too difficult, focus on the next hour. Continue to narrow your focus to a feasible unit of time, even if that means breaking time down into the seconds.
Remember What’s Kept You Here
In Crisis Negotiations, we are taught to ask specific questions, one being, “What has kept you alive up to this point?” This question is similar to narrowing your focus. It is remembering what and who you love. What, in the past, has been a reason to keep going? A parent, friend, son or daughter, nephew or niece.
But Shannon, you don’t understand: I lost my wife/husband/child/job. I get it, some losses are greater than others. Some life changes feel more impossible to survive than others. When thinking of those whom you love seems too impossible, concentrate on the smaller things. Is there a song that brings you joy? A book you can read over and over again? Or is it a movie you love to watch?
One day, when I was having a particularly horrid day, I messaged Bestie. Bestie gave me some great advise: “Go read Harry Potter.” Does that sound lame? Oh well, we all have to find what it is that keeps us grounded and clear our minds.
Take a Shower
Show of hands: who has felt so shitty and burdened by depression that even taking a shower seems like too much effort? I’m raising my hand. But there’s something about a shower, about getting clean, that can help wash away some of the shit of the world. Get out of bed. Turn on a hot shower. Focus on the water hitting your skin. Concentrate on the act of getting clean and clearing your mind of the negative.
Go for a Walk
Or a run, or a bike ride. Put in a workout video. Throw around some heavy weights. Is it counterintuitive to be active after a shower? Well, maybe a little bit. But sometimes it’s the act of showering and moving your body, that can give you more energy to exercise. And exercise, as I’m sure you know, gives you endorphins, the feel-good hormone.
Writing is therapeutic. There is something about putting words, thoughts, feelings to paper that helps declutter your mind and make sense of the chaos. And with thoughts on paper, it’s easier to explain your current state of mind to others. Or, if necessary, you can rip up the pages and move on.
Often, writing can help you understand yourself better. It can bring to light what it is that’s nagging at your brain, that is bringing such heaviness to your soul. And, in some instances, you can share those words with others who are dealing with the same struggles, and help them through the process.
Talk to Someone
Life is hard. It’s even harder going it alone. There is no shame in showing your hurt. In fact, it takes great strength to discuss your demons. Don’t continue living life as though you can make it alone. Reach out, get help, speak with a professional. Do what you need to do to live your best life, to bring the joy back, and to wake up each morning, ready to conquer the world.
What do you do when you feel like giving up? Please comment below with what helps you get through the difficult times.