If You're Feeling Depressed Right Now, Please Remember These 5 Things
This piece was written by Ryan O’Connell, a Thought Catalog contributor.
1. This is not permanent.
When I get upset, it’s so easy to let myself spiral and think about the many ways in which my life is screwed. “I’m having a bad day” can easily turn into “I’m going to have a bad year” which can morph into “everything will always be terrible for me.” It’s crazy how I can trick myself so quickly. It’s insane how the despair and hopelessness I feel can just take over and erase any logic and reason from my brain. In that moment, I may be convinced I will never feel good again. I really do believe it.
Of course, it’s not true. This too shall pass, etc. etc. But really. It will pass. Time is a gift from the life gods. It can heal most things. Honest. A day or two later, I will be shocked by how different I feel. It’s actually a little frightening and just goes to show that I can’t really trust myself when I’m feeling depressed.
2. Be in the present.
When I’m unhappy, it’s tempting to think about the past and basically anything that’s not right in front of me. But the past is something I can’t do a damn thing about and obsessing over it will only further the unhappiness. I have to focus on putting my energy towards what’s happening this moment, even if this moment is the absolute worst.
3. Don’t be at war with yourself.
Sometimes when I fall into a funk, I do this thing where I treat my unhappiness like it’s this force I have to fight against and it just makes me feel even crazier. This unhappiness is a part of me. It’s not a villain attacking my brain, although sometimes it might feel like it is. (Note: I’m not speaking about clinical depression and mental illness here. I’m talking about general “I’m upset because I pay attention” issues). I can’t pit myself against… myself. I have to acknowledge that whatever is going on with me right now isn’t separate from who I am.
4. Remember people love you.
It sounds so silly and obvious but one of the hardest aspects of feeling depressed is the alienation that comes along with it. I really do feel alone and then that can cause me to question how strong my relationships are. Don’t go to that place! Remember you are loved. Everybody is loved and people will be there for you if you let them. Recently, I experienced my first full-blown panic attack which then triggered this insane avalanche of depression and anxiety that buried me for a week. I didn’t really tell anyone about it for two days because I was worried that if I acknowledged it, it would actually become real. Then, one night, I went to dinner with one of my friends and broke down in tears, telling him what I had been going through. Although it was scary at first, it felt amazing to have that kind of emotional release. Then guess what happened? My friend confided in me about his own past struggles with anxiety and depression. It was nuts because I had never known that about him and hearing him vocalize his issues, which so closely mirrored mine, was such a relief. Going forward I promised myself I wouldn’t keep quiet if I was going through a difficult time. It’s hard for me to tell someone, “I need you” but I learned I gotta get over that fear if I ever want to feel better.
5. You have so many happy memories lying ahead, just waiting for you to claim them.
Again, it’s corny as hell but that’s what I have to do to get out of a funk. I have to become embarrassingly optimistic and visualize happy days at the beach with my friends, running through sprinklers, or whatever image that evokes happiness at the time. When I was going through my shit, the one thing that made me feel better was thinking about a vacation I was going to go on soon with my friends. I’d call my mom and be like, “Uh, I feel like the world is swallowing me up and poking me with knives. Will I ever feel differently?” and my mom would say, “Ryan, just visualize your vacation and how much fun you’re going to have!” Lol, this is so mortifying to talk about. Whatever. The point is that it worked. To be honest, I don’t know what the hell happened that triggered my panic attack and then the buffet of shitty emotions that came after it but focusing on the positives helped tremendously. Everyone deserves to live life the life they want but it’s not always easy to achieve. Sometimes people even get in their own way. It’s the hardest and easiest thing to remember when I’m feeling down in the dumps. It is my choice to change it. It is up to me to get it together. No one else’s.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.
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Unsplash photo via Jurica Koletic