A candid tale of 20-something humanness and extended note to self.

Friday, 20 January 2017

How to carry on


It can be tough: being human. Know that you are not alone in it: in your vulnerability, and your sadness, and your struggle. Life is not a linear experience: it's messy and unpredictable, and made up of incredible days and good days and bad days and mediocre days and days, sometimes a string of them, when you wade through the shit. So many of us have been there. Some of us are right there in the trenches with you.

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.
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2 comments

  1. Kathy, first of all I cannot begin to describe how much I love this and how beautifully and eloquently you write. Secondly, as someone who has suffered bouts of depression and anxiety (one very recently too), I think you have perfectly summed up what it's like - from the struggle and dark cloud that makes the world feel eternally grey, to the moments you start to see the colour again and enduring life turns back into enjoying life. I've always said that people don't truly understand depression unless they've experienced it firsthand themselves, but your writing, I think, says everything that people who aren't suffering need to know to really empathise. '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.' YES, I have literally just experienced this and I couldn't have said it better myself. Honestly I'm so, so glad I have read this and it has to be said - well done for finding the strength to not only battle your demons, but to use your experience to raise awareness and help others. I'm sorry for going on but I adore this post and you should be so proud!

    Sarah xxx
    www.shesawriter.co.uk

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  2. Hi Kathy,

    I echo Sarah's sentiments exactly. I too have suffered, and I too have just experienced 'stepping back into myself'.

    Your words here are not only beautiful, but oh so true and encouraging. This post should be essential reading for anyone who's going through a bad time!

    Thanks for sharing it.

    Sophie xx

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