This morning I woke up with an empty familiar feeling in my stomach. As soon as I opened my eyes I knew I was not in a good place. Waking up feeling down is tough. You want to start the day fresh, with optimism and thinking you can achieve anything. Waking up feeling down and anxious instead is very disheartening.
The hardest part for me is physically getting out of bed when I am not feeling myself. My head tells me that getting up is not worth it, why would I get up when I’m just going to end up in bed again in the next few hours? Why would I get up when I’m feeling so terrible? When people are sick they stay in bed, why shouldn’t I? These are the types of conversations I have in my head when I am having a bad day. It is hard to stop this type of thinking, it can become a vicious cycle of dangerous thoughts.
I realise that thinking these things isn’t my fault, it is the illness, the disease that affects me. Sometimes I have to emphasise that to myself so that I don’t allow my mental illness to define me. Usually when I am feeling low or anxious I try not to repress my feelings as it only makes me feel worse. I believe you should acknowledge your feelings. So when I am feeling down I tell myself ‘Okay this is fine I’m not feeling myself today but I’m going to do everything I can to help myself to feel better’. Sometimes this is hard to do when all I want to do is wallow and cry and accept that I’ll be this way forever. This is so easy to do as you lie in your bed in your room, hidden from sunlight and locked away from all life’s goodness. I have to try and convince myself that if I get out of bed, out of the house and into the sun I know it’ll help me for sure.
One thing that actually is a big release to me is having a big cry.
That may seem like the worst thing to do, but getting all that energy, all that emotion out in the open is a great way to clear your head. Crying is not shameful, it is one of the most natural things a human can do. We as humans should be allowed to emote more than happiness. It is not natural for us to hide all “negative” emotions, doing this can lead to more problems. When I’m lying in bed crying and feeling down, the worst thing I can do is to shame myself for feeling this way. I have every right to cry and I cannot be expected to be happy all the time, it is quite frankly impossible. I tell myself that my feelings are valid and, like other feelings and situations, nothing is permanent, everything is temporary. This too shall pass.
Eventually I make it out of bed, onto the street, into the sun and take in a nice long breath of fresh air and think “it’s good to be alive”. Not all cases of depression means you want to die. I want to enjoy life and make the most out of every opportunity that comes my way. Once in a while I feel sad and may not be able to get out of bed, but that’s okay, because I know that tomorrow is a new day with different opportunities and different situations for me to experience. If the only productive thing I did today was make it out of bed after hours of crying, then that’s okay. The most important thing in life is to be kind to yourself, to look after yourself and to try to not be too hard on yourself.
Abigail is currently studying in Spain. She has spoken many times for us about her depression. If you’re struggling, please talk to someone you trust. Other supports are available here.