Staying Sane: a Few Self-Help Tools for a Depressive Type

It’s been three years ever since I’ve posted an entry “Let’s talk about de-pression instead” and my life has certainly changed ever since. And as much as I wanna say that the dark days are over and there’s no going back – deep in my heart I know there’s always a possibility of returning to that spell-bound state of being totally emotionally numb. So I start each day with a conscious effort of trying not to give in to that state of mind again. And, as a result, there comes emotion…

Now, emotion in my life has been a blessing and a curse. An unpredictable roller-coaster ride of some serious highs and lows. And even though I would prefer to choose to take that ride only on special occasions, the reality is quite different – this roller-coaster ride is not a once-in-while type of experience for me. It’s an experience I go through on daily basis. But when the choice is either that or the already mentioned spell-bound state of mind of numbness, you don’t think twice before picking “the ride” rather than the option of becoming depressive.

At some point in my life, though, I was convinced that this was only temporary and that one day I would wake up to find a different reality – a reality where my mind would land on the safe-ground of serenity and from there on I would continue with my life in peace – as a “normal” human being. And so it’s taken me some time to let go of the thought that anyone even knows what “normal life” is and, as a result, today I try to live my emotions for what they are – good or bad, bright or dark, frightening or up-lifting. ‘Coz that’s my salvation from becoming numb. And ‘coz, as such, my life becomes a roller-coaster ride of “highs” and “lows”, which also isn’t such an easy thing to handle, here are a few rules I employed to help me manage it.

MOVE. Today I try to start each day with a bit of movement. It doesn’t matter what type – sometimes it can be yoga, other times – a morning run, and lately it’s been dance that helps me to preserve my sanity. I employ movement not for the sake of keeping my physical body healthy (though it certainly helps do that too), but to keep my mind more healthy, for when you move, your brain starts to work differently (and vice versa). So it doesn’t really matter what’s ‘the move’, but allowing even 15 minutes for some movement, makes a massive difference to the start of my day.

EAT. I don’t choose any special food to eat, but I pay attention to the things I’m eating. I give more importance to the times that are meant for meals to make sure that there is nothing else I would do, but eat at those times. Sure, though, the temptation to stare at my laptop, phone or read a book while I’m at it is fierce. Especially when my mind’s overwhelmed with the things I have got to be doing. But my belief is that those meal times are a legitimate  reason to take a much deserved break from it all. To allow a pause to truly fulfil that which my body craves for. When I pay attention to what and when I eat, I found, my meal-times give me more pleasure, comparing to when I eat something “on the run”. But also – they help me to re-charge my brain. And get a bit healthier sense of reality.

SLEEP. Now, my sleeping pattern can be a mess, though I certainly know what’s the right thing to do – have a good night sleep. But sometimes you can’t help it – you wake at some un-godly hours and not necessarily for “bad reasons”. Sometimes they can be moments of inspiration, heart-drive, ideas that you simply must document. So I try not to be too harsh with myself – if I can’t sleep, I wake and do the things I have to do. ‘Coz it would cause me more distress to lay in bed and wrestle with the desire to do work, rather than getting up and actually doing work. But I certainly know I will have to pay that sleep-deprivation debt back. So I arrange time for that too. Coz there is nothing that can keep you more sane than some good sleep.

LOVE. Hugging someone is the most amazing thing. It’s a very uplifting feeling, so I try to find some ‘huggable’ people as I go about my daily business. But because my professional pathway requires quite a lot of thinking, sometimes I can go on for days without any human contact – I spend my time in my self-imposed solitary confinement: reading, writing and thinking (and that’s when I forget to MOVE, EAT and SLEEP). So, during those days, I try to find different solutions to sharing my love for the surrounding world. Sometimes it can simply mean watering my plants, or smiling at a stranger on my way to the supermarket. What lies at the core of it, though, is the basic human need to care for somebody else, but yourself. It provides me with a sense of connection with the world around me. I think it’s important to stay connected if you wanna stay sane.

So, these are a few simple rules that make a massive difference to my sanity. And there is probably nothing in them that “my mamma hasn’t taught me” before. But sometimes you have got to go a very long way to truly comprehend some really basic rules of living.

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