If you’d give me the chance, I’d like to talk about being sad. Lost. Frustrated. Depressed.
But first, I want to celebrate a few things.
I have a friend who is currently transitioning (or “transforming” as she now says) and says she’s the happiest she’s ever been. I’m happy for her.
I have a friend who, after a year of multiple applications, crude bosses and near overwhelming responsibility, managed to get a job directly related to her field. I was there when she got the job offer and believe me, her smile was as big as the sun. I’m happy for her too.
Ms Improving Slowly (or Arguably Honest) had a mighty relaxing holiday and a break from all of my terrible jokes. I’m happy for her too.
My dad got a job rather quickly after his previous position ended and I can always see a small pep in his step after things like this happen. I’m happy for him too (although, it hasn’t motivated him enough to use the exercise bike we have!)
There’s a lot to be happy about when I really attempt to practice appreciative joy. That is, taking yourself out of the equation and simply enjoying the happiness that other people are experiencing. To me, that is one of the greatest upside of empathy. While it is often used in the context of trying to help people who aren’t in a good position, it can also be used to celebrate the positive!
I find, when you care about the important intensely, you begin to share the moments of happiness as you do the moments of sadness. And that is OK. In fact, I think that makes relationships that much richer. So much more valuable.
When you’re around, regardless of the highs and lows, you’ll experience some good moments. Happiness comes along and it feels good.
I’m not sure I’ve mentioned publicly, but I’ve dealt with depression for about three years now. In that time, there have been many many low moments. Currently, I think I’m in one of those spirals where everything you hold onto seems slippery and you retreat into yourself.
Just waiting for it to pass.
Of course, it’s difficult to imagine that it ever will! Even with the evidence that happiness has come about before, the hill always seems difficult and impossible to climb. Especially with the fact that a lot of my mood is tied to my pain. And that doesn’t want to leave me in a hurry.
In a “recent” post, I asked myself what the purpose of this blog is. What does Improving Slowly mean? The first principle was to accept that we’re all working drafts. That also means we’re far from perfect. And most definitely our thoughts aren’t always perfect, true, helpful or even valuable.
You may have these moments of extreme self-doubt – the same way I do. Doubting your skill set, what you add to the world, wondering who cares about you and asking yourself whether you should even take another step.
It would be best if you do take the next step. Even if it’s the tiniest step possible. Towards a small moment of peace where you are free of continuous self-judgement and vitriol.
I always say when I’m stressed that there’s always time to take two breaths to yourself. While this doesn’t solve my sadness, it helps me slow down and return to the present instead of dancing in the frenzy of the future.
With time, even if it takes weeks, I begin to remember that sadness does pass.
The depression may stay around but that’s a much larger battle to tackle one step at a time.
Relationships are important. I’m appreciating that more and more.
It gives me the opportunity to remember there’s more than myself in the world. I don’t need to get lost in my own thoughts all the time. I can enjoy the experiences of others.
Or I can help and be helped.
Being lonely is difficult and stigmatising. It’s something I want to explore in more detail so I won’t do it here. However, if there’s one thing to take from this post, I ask that you tell your friends and family that you appreciate them.
If there’s someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, maybe say hello again (you can probably skip the small talk and just ask something interesting – everyone is “good” or “fine”).
And that’s about it. Sadness happens. It also stops at times. Being sad isn’t a defect – it’s just an emotion.
And they pass.
As always, thank you for reading!
If anyone asks, I’ll be alright. I’m just trying to be more honest and show I’m not perfect but making steps to improve myself.
If you are depressed or anything of the sort, here are some resources (for the UK):
Provides 24 hour access to nurse advice, information about healthcare and about local health services. Contact NHS Direct for help with a current health concern, to ask about out of hours doctors’ services and for emergency health advice.
Helpline: 0845 46 47, every day, 24 hours a day
Samaritans provides confidential non-judgemental support, 24 hours a day for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide.
Telephone: 0845 7 90 90 90, every day, 24 hours a day
SANE is one of the UK’s leading charities concerned with improving the lives of everyone affected by mental illness.
ACTION ON DEPRESSION
Supports the running of self help support groups in various parts of Scotland which offer the opportunity for confidential local support and contact with others in a similar situation.
Provides an information service offering support and information on depression to individuals, their families and friends and professionals working with people who have depression; a quarterly members newsletter and a range of helpful publications.
Please go to Depression UK for more detailed links.