Focus on your own little victories. Sometimes, when we suffer depression or anxiety or disenchantment, or just feel crap or uncertain or consumed with sadness about something, it's simply about putting one foot in front of the other: doing what we can with what we've got. And that's okay. If you couldn't manage getting out of bed yesterday, but you did it today, or if you changed your pants, but didn't the day before, you've made progress. Hold on to that. Always try to get out of bed if you can. Take a hot shower. There is something about the smell of clean, damp skin. Renewal.
If it's one thing I am certain of, it's that getting some garish trainers on and busting a limb is the greatest remedy there is - the thing that can, somehow, always lift the weight of the world. Go for a run; do yoga until your thighs are weak; shake your ass to 90s classics in your bedroom. Five minutes, ten, twenty if you can. It will always make a difference.
Look after yourself as you would a small child. Feed yourself healthy, colourful, nourishing food, and take naps when you need them, and brush the knots out of your hair. Do more of that thing that stirs a little something in your soul, or the thing that makes you laugh, or the thing that just makes you feel like the world hasn't turned completely on its head.
There will be people who will tell you to 'cheer up', or 'calm down': people who might think you're being pessimistic or dramatic or oversensitive. Let's acknowledge the obvious: if you could 'brush it off' in the space of a heartbeat, you would. Do not let these people make you feel less. You are not less. You are kind and funny and spirited and brave: so fucking brave. Speak, instead, to the ones who get it. The ones who offer warmth and compassion and mint choc chip ice cream and shit jokes and a blanket on the sofa. The ones who pull you up when you fall to your knees. Ask for professional help too, if you think you need it. To be hopeless is not to be helpless, and it will do you good to remember that.
You will feel it again: that elusive thing, I promise, and you will step back into yourself: the you that they miss; the you that you miss. There are conversations you haven't had yet that will leave you bright-eyed and beaming, and there are beautiful sunsets that will take your breath away as they bleed across the horizon, and books and films and chance encounters and adventures and successes that will bring you joy: so much of it.
The passion that you had before is still bubbling in there, somewhere, and it will come back, and you will find yourself shouting an idea across the room with unbridled enthusiasm, and you will know. There is laughter that will burst out of you and bounce off walls and leave you creased over on the kitchen floor, and there will be tender moments, when it is you and them and entwined fingertips and all is right with the world, and you will know then too.
You will become better, more grateful, because of this, and you will develop and nurture the kind of empathy that this world needs more of. You will, one day, realise that there is light where there wasn't. That you persevered, and that you built an empire from the ashes. Know that this moment is never beyond your reach. Know that it belongs to you, and it is waiting.
- and that is how you carry on
*All advice above comes from personal experiences - if you are particularly worried about your mental health, need advice or support, or are feeling suicidal, please seek immediate help. Mind, YoungMinds, Sane, Samaritans, and the Mental Health Foundation are great places to start online.