This is going to be a real post. I’m not going to hide anything because I need to be completely honest. It’s going to be depressing to read at first, but in the end, I believe that some good may come from it for you and for me too.
It feels like I’ve been spinning for the last four months. This has all felt like a dream. Nothing’s seemed real; I’ve been getting nothing done up until last Monday. I was sleeping between twelve and fifteen hours each day for six weeks. I was barely eating anymore, I had lost about fifteen pounds in four weeks, and I had no motivation to do anything. I had anxiety attacks before work which would basically impair me from moving. After awhile this had become a regular occurrence, so I didn’t go to work for more than four weeks. I’ve been in Greece for almost six months now, and I managed to lose my job already. Technically they just aren’t renewing my contract, but it feels like the same thing. Sadly, this is not the first time I’ve quit or lost a job because of anxiety in my life. Two years ago I stopped working at a clothing store because I randomly started having anxiety attacks at work. I wouldn’t be able to breathe properly, and my thoughts would go wild. Most times I would start crying intensely for any time between fifteen and thirty minutes, and my body would literally shut down. I would remain speechless until it passed, then if I were able to go home, I would most likely go to sleep. At that time I was only sixteen, so it wasn’t that bad if I didn’t have a job, but now that I’m living abroad I know that I need an income. This is probably the worst I’ve had it when it comes to anxiety attacks and a being in a depressive episode, and honestly, it’s been hell for me these last months. Honestly, it’s been hell for the last 4 years of my life on and off. But now? I’m actually pretty happy.
I don’t want to jinx my happiness or pretend like it’s not there, so I feel like writing about it and maybe making a few pointers on how I actually got myself out of this mess for future use and because it may help some others. It’s not like I did this on purpose, and I wish I could have avoided this entire situation. If you have any idea what it means to feel depressed or have an anxiety attack, then you’ll understand, but if not I think I can try and explain it. It honestly feels as if the world is crumbling in towards me, and that nothing will ever be enough in my life or happy. It’s every fear and sad thought combined into a huge ball that sits in the pit of my stomach. The ball doesn’t go away until I’ve hysterically cried it away or until I’ve puked. These anxiety attacks are not fun or happy times, and I’m sincerely glad that I haven’t had an attack in three weeks now. I honestly wish that every person who suffers from a mental illness could get the support and help they need. My want for this solely comes because of the trauma I have experienced as well. My mother suffered from multiple mental illnesses, and it impacted every aspect of my life until she died. And for me, it’s impossible to never stop thinking about her even though she’s gone, but I believe that I’ve finally come to realise that everything is going to be okay. Now, if you’re in the same situation as me or if you’re not feeling 100% today or for whichever reason you’re reading this, you need to know something about trying to pick yourself up.
The truth is that this is going to be hard work. If you want to do this or if you want to make anything a little bit better in your life then you need to realise and ensure that this is really what you want. The hardest part is admitting that something is wrong or that something isn’t the way it should be. So what I find that’s worked for me is to get everything inside my head in order. Also, because a clear and healthy mind is the fundamental prerequisite for this.
Start simple by using a journal a few times a week.
I find that the easiest way to get back on track with my life is to be more organised than normal and to have a routine. The best part is that as soon as I start trying to get back into my healthy habits and routines, it gets easier and easier with each time I complete something productive in my day, like writing for this page or my novel, practising my German or going for a run. These little things that I love every day seem to be lost in the noise of it all when I’m feeling my worst. Half of the time during those periods I don’t even have the interest to get out of bed at all in the day, so it makes sense that running for twenty minutes or using my brain for thirty minutes while I study a language seems like too much work. It might take a push, and a lot of self-motivation, but when you’re ready, it’s a really good idea to start using that journal. To make little to do lists, a mood calendar, an area where you write your future goals, things you’ve accomplished or anything that will make you more conscious of what you’re doing during your days, and that you’re actually getting out of bed! Having a regular routine is one of the best things for a healthy mind.
Therapy shouldn’t be the elephant in the room.
It may seem like a waste of time or scary at first, but these people are actually here to help people like you and me when we are down. They go through intense schooling and training to understand the complexity of our minds and how we work. People have been studying mental illness for so much time now that any therapist you see will be able to do something for you, whether that be taking you on as a client or by referring you to someone else who may fit your needs better. The first few times I went to therapy was terrible because they were entirely forced upon me, but when it’s what you want; there’s no better feeling than to be able to talk to someone who understands. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be the person I am today without therapy and I suggest it if you want more self-awareness.
Exercise, even if you don’t want to.
Exercising is an excellent way to release stress, and even if you go for a ten-minute walk, it’s better than being a couch potato! Exercise is one of those things where it really sucks at the beginning, but as soon as you start to see results, it can be one of the most rewarding things ever. Not to mention when you exercise those happy endorphins are being let loose in your body, so you’re bound to feel good no matter what. Keeping up a healthy regime can also be extremely fulfilling as well. Eating fresh fruits, veggies and whole foods will keep your stomach happy, and you’ll be running off of good fuel. Sticking to fast food and take out isn’t doing any good for you or for mental health or for your wallet. Although, don’t forget to treat yourself every once in awhile.
It’s the little things.
Start going out for midnight walks if that’s your thing, or having a required dance period during your day where you let loose like in Grey’s Anatomy. Go watch the sunset or drive in the country side! Watch your favourite series on Netflix or go for a bike ride, but do it! Get up and get moving! As soon as your start to live your life again, it’ll be easy to remember your favourite things, and the best thing to do is to do them as much as you can. Maybe you like to read before bed, or you always make your coffee in the morning, whatever it is you must do those little things.
Friends and/or family is key.
We are born into this world alone, and we die the same way, but during those other years, we need communication with one another. I don’t think it’s possible to get out of a depressive episode without at least one person by your side. We all need someone to be silly with or someone for those more serious moments. Even if it feels like you have no one, you now have me. To anyone going through an awful time, if you want to reach out to me, I’m always here to talk.