Last summer I learned a very important lesson.
I've been grappling with depression and anxiety for almost as long as I can remember. Some days are harder than others, and sometimes my brain tries to convince me that the world has ended and I will never notice the sunshine again.
There are moments when I truly feel as though I am drowning.
The anxiety hits me with such force that it literally knocks the breath out of me. One second I am okay, the next I am curled up in a ball on the couch trying to hang onto myself as tightly as possible and praying that one way or the other the feeling will end soon.
When that happens, there is no BEFORE or AFTER...there is only the terrifying NOW.
The panic center of my brain completely takes over and all I can think is, "I'll never, ever be able to live through this." And then I do. Every time.
Over the years I have learned many strategies to deal with my anxiety and depression. I found that being proactive and preparing for an attack before it happens is the best tactic.
I collect happies. I try to be as mindful as I can at all times so that I may store up enough positive thoughts to help me battle through the next fall. In doing this, I am essentially collecting evidence to use to combat the ominous voices in my head that are spelling out my impending doom.
Because I've been there before.
This would not be the first time that music no longer brings joy, that my brain is too worn out to absorb the words on the page of a book, or that I have to drag myself to the shower because just moving one step takes SO. MUCH. ENERGY.
That may be what is going on in a single second, but it does not mean that this hell will last forever.
One second I am crippled and cannot fathom the world turning right side up again. The very next second things could be fine and I will be amazed at how quickly and silently the feeling of dread retreated. I will dance to songs in my car, I will lose myself in a new story, I will find something that inspires me to create something beautiful again. I tell myself that even though the world feels desolate and bleak right now, I have spent a large portion of my life smiling and laughing. Even after other horribly impossible days. The sun rises every single morning. It will warm me again.
The bad won't last forever.
Store up your happies (and pass them around!) so that you can call on them during the dark days.
Just a tip from one loon to another.