We all have bad days, and I am frequently telling my clients this is ok, but it's when these bad days become prolonged and display any type of longevity that things can start to look different. One of the exercises I do with my clients is I pass them a small glass of water and ask them to hold it out in front of them. Initially this is no problem for them, but after a couple of minutes, that small glass of water starts to feel like a bottle of water. Keep it going for a few more minutes and it suddenly feels like several bottles of water and the pain and strain has become unbearable. Now what if I asked you to maintain that position for several months? How would that feel? Would you be able to keep hold for that long?
If you haven't already seen the relevance here, allow me to explain. You have a bad day and you are feeling upset, it can be a minor strain on you psychologically. This turns into a bad week and it becomes more of a strain. Now consider this has been going on for several months or years and try to imagine the pain that would cause and how heavy that would be for you to carry around psychologically. Now compare the two examples. The only difference is one is physical and one is emotional.
Many people around the world are feeling despair. Many will struggle to get out of bed in a morning; many will suffer with no appetite due to the magnitude of their worry; many will have no friends or family because they have become a recluse; many will have no money because they have an inability to physically work; many will repeat this day in day out for several months or years. Brian Wilson (musician) spent the best part of 3 years locked in his room (mainly in bed) due to a breakdown. This is a very real problem, but whilst wanting to promote and draw attention to it, I would also like to offer some hope to anybody experiencing this either directly or being affected indirectly.
It's always important to have something to look forward to. This could be something which you may perceive to be quite trivial, but nonetheless it's a start. With depression, the negative cycle dictates that nothing positive will happen, only negatives which will further exacerbate the symptoms. We need to be able to break this cycle, and by finding something which makes you smile, even if just for a short amount of time during any given day, we are making strides in the right direction. There is no manual for this and it's not an exact science so sometimes it's trial and error, but find something which works for you. It could be going for a walk, it could be reading a book, watching a TV programme or even going for a drive. The important thing is that you find what works for you and don't allow others to dictate what they feel would be right for you.
This is not a linear process and you must be prepared to have some bad days. This is natural and only ever needs to be a temporary setback. The key is to try to make these days more sporadic, with the ultimate aim of making them rare. Take your own time, there is no specific period of time in which people will come through this. It depends on the situation and the individual. Keep in mind we all have differing abilities to locate our own coping strategies. Finally don't ever feel embarrassed or ashamed of what you are experiencing. It's a sign of strength to open up about how you are feeling and it's not a sign of weakness to ask for help.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don't be afraid to contact me, I am always here. Irrespective of where you may sit now, I am sure everybody reading this will have achieved some fantastic things and have lots to be proud of. Build on this and be balanced in your self-analysis. In other words if you are going to give yourself a hard time for making a mistake, be sure to give yourself a pat on the back when you achieve something great.
Thanks for reading and all the best friends.