This morning, I woke up and felt so awful that I didn’t want to move. My eyes felt swollen from tears; absolutely everything felt bleak; I couldn’t remember a single positive thing that I’d thought about yesterday to try and change my mindset. I lay there for what felt like ages, my mind in this blank haze which was broken up by fear at the prospect of today being like yesterday.
Then, somehow, I managed to get myself up. I levered myself out of bed, shaking because I felt too mentally tired to want to do anything throughout the day. Something, though, kept me going. I want to share that with you, to try and help you and help myself alongside.
A good friend told me last night that the only thing I can rely on to be certain is the present moment. Only I am in control of what I feel: not external circumstances and not the future, whatever may happen there. Lying there, I felt very hopeless and like there was no point in getting up, doing anything, because it wouldn’t result in anything worthwhile for the future. What my friend said popped into my head then: if I thought like that, surely I’d think nothing was worth anything? My life would turn into a series of blank slates broken up by panic and I didn’t want that. I would be so focused on the past and future that the present would slip away through my fingers: that scared me more than anything else and spurred me into action. That was the first step for me: to realise that I didn’t want to carry on like this by breaking through my fog of pointlessness. Maybe, for you, it’ll be something different but establishing the first link in your mind is so important if you want to break out of a cycle.
After that, it was a case of telling myself that getting up was worth it and that I could achieve something little – not big but a tiny thing. I had no idea what that was at the time but I needed something to motivate me in the slightest to move, to get up: the prospect of the future made me feel ill so I concentrated on the fact that at some point today, I’d do something small that’d make me smile. So I didn’t stress myself out, I didn’t set any goals: I knew that I needed to take things very slowly so I wouldn’t lose what little motivation I had. If goals work for you, then set yourself some little ones or write out a list. Do what you know works for your own mind, rather than what you’ll think will work.
Yesterday, I had a breakdown in which I cried for hours and was unable to distinguish between what were lies and what was truth. It was one of the most terrifying things that has happened to me in a while and this morning, I told myself that I refused to let today be like yesterday. As cheesy as this sounds, that hope was what forced me up; that plea to myself along with the thought that the present was all I had made me realise that even if I didn’t feel like it, doing something might break the awful pattern to which my mind is now accustomed. I’m very much someone who hopes for things but if you like facts and certainties, let that be your driving force: that by getting up and doing something, you will make things more concrete in your head.
It’s not easy, especially if you’re suffering from a mental health illness such as depression or an anxiety disorder. I won’t pretend to know how that feels because I don’t suffer from one myself; however, I know that taking things slowly and not rushing yourself is important. After the first step – whatever that may be to you – take things one day at a time. Yes, it’s good to think about the future and your plans but don’t let it consume you.
If only the present is entirely certain, it’s best to make the most of it. There’s a whole world of moments out there to experience. You can’t do everything but you can take control of how you feel about it, even in a small way. I know you can do it and I might not be perfect at any of it but I’m getting there. The most you can do is try and when you try, you’ve got a high chance of letting yourself be happier.
You are strong and you are in control of how you feel, although you might not think it at the moment. If, tomorrow, you’re struggling to want to move or do anything, remember this: neither your mind nor anyone else rules you. Only you do.
From Elm 🙂