Being positive when dealing with depression is hard. Near impossible at times, believe me I know. But trying to pick out a small bit of of positivity in the sea of black can be so helpful and lead to more positivity and openness to recovery.
I can understand that reading this some people will be all for it but others might well be telling me to do one! I get it. I am, majority of the time a positive person. I always try to turn negative situations on their head. I try to find a positive reason or solution to problems, I’m a glass half full type of person, even with my depression. However, when my depression and other mental illnesses start to become heavier, when they are weighing me down and turning the world black, I too find it almost impossible to think of anything positive at all. Even the positive things people might point out to me I will turn negative and find a reason why I don’t deserve them.
What depression does is turns me into someone I’m not, someone I don’t like. I become very negative, withdrawn, empty and I drown in this until I get help and support I need. But there is also something that I have to do, I have to WANT to get better. This can be quite a controversial thing to say but I do believe it’s true. I’ve been to rock bottom. I lived there for a very long time. I know how it looks, what it feels like, how easy it can feel to just give up. But I also know how you can try to help yourself before it gets that far.
Now, I am not saying you have to be skipping around telling jokes and laughing all day, but there are a few things that I find helpful in those first stages when you can feel yourself slipping. If I leave it too long and ignore these signs, that’s when things can (and often do) spiral downwards.
Here’s what I find helpful;
- Avoid ‘negative’ T.V programmes, magazines, radio. Negativity is like a disease, it spreads very quickly. watching or reading things that are negative towards others or the way you look or think about yourself need to be avoided full stop but especially at times when you’re not feeling your best.
- Flip negativity on it’s head. Again I know it’s sometimes very hard to do this but try and give it a go. No matter how small. Something silly like “The T.V is broken and not working at all!” “But that gives me the opportunity to read that book I wanted to read or do the crossword I wanted to try” It doesn’t matter how small just try it and I’m sure it’ll lift you, even just a little.
- Avoid ‘mood hoovers’. When I worked for a hairdressing company many years ago they used this phrase a lot. I loved it so much I use it still now. Mood hoovers are people who have the power to suck the life out of you. You could be happy, excited, positive but they would still be able to turn that around leaving you feeling drained and full of negativity. So do yourself a favour – avoid these people! I know it can be hard to avoid some of them completely but you owe it to yourself and your happiness to keep them at arms length as much as possible. You’ll soon see how beneficial it is.
- Do something for someone else. This is a great one and one I am a huge fan of. I love to put a smile on peoples faces, see them happy or know I’ve made a difference to their day. Doing something – no matter how small – can really change someones day. Whenever I do my weekly shop I buy a small bunch of flowers for my dining table. the last few times I have bought one of my best friends the same bunch. But you could do anything; Buying someone a tea or coffee or their favourite chocolate bar. Offering to look after someones children whilst they have a much needed rest. Text someone to say you are thinking of them. It is guaranteed to improve your mood and theirs.
- Be grateful. So simple but so powerful. I only started realising the power of gratitude a few years ago but I now have a gratitude notepad and every day I write 3 things that I am grateful for. I have started doing the same with my son. He loves it too and we always talk and smile about how nice it is to say thank you. Depression does and will make you feel like you have nothing. Or you deserve nothing. But say thank you for what you do have, no matter how small. It could simply be that you’re alive! You have a phone. You have a friend. You have your sight, hearing, sense of smell. Once you start you will find out how much you really do have to be thankful for.
Now reading these it all seems very easy.
“Oh right, just turn the T.V off. Avoid miserable people and say thank you a lot and I’m cured!”
Obviously I am not saying that. There have been many times I have been too consumed by my illnesses to follow any of these points but the key is to try and practice them regularly and before depression really takes it’s grip.
Don’t worry if you can’t though. Don’t worry if you’ve landed in the black hole. It’s not failing. You’re learning. Things will get better. I believe in you.
Stay strong. Stay safe.
Love Amy xx