My own experience with high-functioning depression was a long one. In fact, it took about nine years to realize and finally confront the feelings in the mirror. I’m not here to talk about that story, because I could frankly write an entire book about it. I just want to give you some small tips on how to overcome that dark forest you seem to be trapped in with no way out, where you feel hopeless and lonely and do not know how to handle your own feelings.
Take into account that everyone is different and lives and experiences their feelings in a different way. My own experience of getting out of my depression might be different from yours, but I hope I can lend a hand here and share how I overcame it.
There is a societal stigma that therapy is only for the people with scarring and almost suicidal tendencies of depression. That’s not the case. I have been in therapy throughout my depression and it was the most helpful resource to help me get out of it. I get that not all the psychologists work or that yours might suck, but look for someone that gets you and clicks with you and that you can confidently open up to.
2. Admitting your own feelings to yourself
One of the problems that I had while living throughout this depression was twofold: I wanted to go back to “the good days” of the past, and I pretended that I was okay. Truth was, I wasn’t okay. I didn’t even know I wasn’t okay. It wasn’t until I had therapy one day that I eventually cracked. Confronting that daunting and dark feeling in the mirror is terrifying. Believe me, I’ve been there. But we have to realize that we are not okay sometimes and admit it to ourselves even if we want to hide it from everyone. That was one of the hardest things I had to face, and you, dear reader, it might be one of the scariest for you too. But I guarantee you, that if you look a bit closer and realize that you’re in a dark place, only then, you can start to try and search for the light. Cry if you want. Cry all the time. Cry for hours and play that moody ballad playlist you desperately wanted to play. If you open up, especially to yourself, you can start to heal.
I cannot keep a journal. I write fiction, not diary entries. That being said, I had to write during that period of my life and I suggest you do it too. That might be one of the ways that you can confront and face your own pain and sorrow. Let the feelings out and print them on a page. You have to WRITE (or express it in any art form you want). That is the only way that you can face those feelings in the mirror and realize what is happening to you, even if you were too blind to see it (it happened to me).
Let me start by saying I HATE exercise. Let me continue by saying that it saved me and brought all my energy back up. Yes, I also used to exercise before my emotions caught up to me, but this was different. I used to be exhausted all the time, had irregular sleeping patterns as well as a huge lack of focus and energy. Sounds familiar? Well, after this happened, I picked up dance. I started dancing as a distraction and soon it started healing me and helping me to heal along the way too. Whether it's dance, tennis, running, walking, swimming, whatever it is, just start moving. Start moving. Starting is the hardest part of this as your energy is on the floor, but once you start, trust me you’ll start feeling a bit better and better every day.
5. Have Extra Support
Family and friends. They are rock and foundation for us. If you're too embarrassed to talk to a family member, get the embarrassment out of the way and open up. You have to open up to your family and friends, the people who you most care about with these issues, and just tell them what is going on. If you open up to them and talk about it, you will be able to heal with people who support you and care about you to guide you towards the light.
These are just some of the tips that helped me. Also, there are some more, but for that, I would have to share what specific music got me out and--unless you want to hear about Frozen II (yes, THAT Disney movie) I could write another article about it. All in all, I just wanted to share some of the tips that pulled me out of my own personal hell hole. But just one last thing: you can have all the help that you need, and all the help that you want, but unless you start working from within yourself, you’ll go nowhere. So start with yourself and start looking deep inside. It’s time you became your own best friend. It’s time you love yourself. And if you do, I can guarantee you, dear reader, you will find the light at the end of the tunnel.