Holding on

On days when my depression hits hard I find it difficult to do the right things. Every day I figure out more and more what these right things are, and how to give myself a greater chance of doing them. But, I know there will always be days when rest and recovery will need to be prioritised over function and searching to sate the feeling of ‘doing something’.

The way my mind works can be a double edged sword – and not always in a good way. It encourages me to look at what I am not achieving, covers the good in fog, and leaves me feeling powerless to change it. Then, to help out it reminds me of the things that will help me climb up and out of the funk, and aggressively tell me that I am not doing them. Thus a downward spiral is entered which is immensely difficult to break and get out of. Even worse, I can become irrationally angry when people offer advice or guidance. Especially because on these days I am struggling to just feel human. I am not angry people are offering to help me, I am appreciative. I especially am not angry at these people themselves because I know caring for others is what the world needs more of, right now more than ever. My mind turns inward and focusses anger at myself. I become angry that more often than not I know the right things to do but can’t enact the steps to be ok right at that moment.

It is difficult to tell people this, especially in a way which is respectful of their emotions. Something along the lines of: “I appreciate the help, I really do, but right now I am not in a position to hear the wisdom in your words. Other days, in the future, I will be. Right now I’m not able to step towards the solution, I can see and know these steps are beneficial, but I’m not able to get there today. That’s ok. Please keep caring and sharing, with me and other people in need, because some days that’s the thing that will keep us going, even if today is not one of those days.”

Depending on how these words are phrased they can seem harsh, or patronising, or rude. But when I say them, that is not my intent. They are honest words in an attempt to let others know how my mind works when I’m struggling, and to try and improve communication. It has taken me many years to figure out some of the underlying reasons for these emotions and to be courageous enough to share them.

Even when we know sharing something will help, it can be a challenge to do it. Honest and open communication with the people closest to us is sometimes the most difficult. But as Covid-19 is showing us, time is precious. We cannot change the trajectory of time, we can only choose how we use it. So, whenever we are able to, let’s spend our time wisely.

Kia kaha dear friends.

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