I’m going through a bad spot in my emotional health, so many repetitive painful thoughts dominating my head space. So I’ve been trying to dig through my old bag of tricks for this type of depression, things that I painstakingly learned when I went through this for a long time in my 20s (and had a wonderful therapist).
1) Act “as if”. Acting as if I’m fine and as if it’s a normal day is not the same thing as denial, because it’s supposed to be used as a tool to get you out of bed and get out of wallowing. Go ahead and make coffee, clean the house, go for a walk, run errands. Don’t lie in bed in fetal position for more than an hour.
2) Give yourself permission. Permission to feel bad, really really bad, for as long as you have to.
3) Turn off the tapes. The tapes on repeat in your mind are damaging. Turn them off even if it means listening to political podcasts. It’s unnecessary to play things over and over… once you’ve had a thought, you don’t need to think it again times 1000.
4) Run new tapes. Tell yourself that you are ok, you are lovable, you are strong, you have gotten through things before and you will again. Remind yourself that nothing is permanent, even and especially feelings. Find quotes that make you feel inspired or stronger and repeat them in your mind. Read books or watch shows that are about getting through hard shit.
5) Get a new perspective. Leave town, visit people, anything but staying home in your own little bubble. Even going to work can help. Traveling is also a good way!
6) Find something to look forward to and focus on that. Planning a trip is my go-to, but it can be anything.
7) Talk to yourself like your own best friend. Tell yourself that you deserve the best. You deserve happiness and to be surrounded by people who treat you well all the time. Don’t tell yourself that you are stupid, a fool, too needy, or too anything! A best friend would never tell you that. A best friend would tell you that you did fine, you are fine, and you don’t deserve to be anything but loved and treated well.
This is my first holiday season without my grandparents, and sometimes I talk to my grandma in my mind and try to imagine what she would say. I try, but I can’t always hear the answer. I can hear her telling me all of those things I said in number 7, however. So many of us are going through hard times and the holidays make them that much harder. Be kind to yourselves!