I walk the halls like the old me is here, but I cannot find her since she disappeared.
She’s been replaced by darkness; the light flickered out
Childlike spirit abused and spit out.
Depression is like sitting at the bottom of a deep, black hole.
And if you want out, you’ve got no choice but to fight!
So, drop down to your weary knees and collect your weapons of defence.
Prepare for battle.
Or, at least that’s how it feels.
How to Deal with Depression and Anxiety
In the early stages, I needed to find something to grasp –a speck of light to hold tight.
I found my speck of light unexpectedly, one sunny morning after a long period of rain when the little voice inside my head reminded me that a walk would do me good. I continued to stare out the window, mesmerized by the beautiful blue sky. For the first time in a long while, I considered how nice the warmth of the sun might feel against my face.
Recognizing this slight shift, I decided to force myself out of bed – a fight against every cell in my body.
In this case, the sun, quite literally, was my speck of light, and it had pierced through the dense fog.
A speck of light is different for everyone. For some, it will be in the form of thought: maybe I should go to my doctor? For others, it’s considering calling a friend.
Recognize the shift.
That is your tiny speck of light in a vast hole of darkness. Fucking take it, right this second, get out of bed and GO!
I grabbed on to mine and hauled myself to the nearest trail, one lined with towering Douglas firs and magnificent arbutus trees. I walked slowly, my feet heavy like bricks and paused to gaze out over the glistening, glass lake. I sipped my dark roast with two creams and listened to the melody of chirping birds.
Standing on this dock, I let myself melt into nature. Read more on the healing benefits of nature.
I wasn’t magically healed after an hour in nature, but I did leave that trail with a slight sense of peace and rejuvenation. Sure, it may not seem like much, but it was enough to get me started.
A calmness had washed over me like a soothing bath.
While on that walk, I thought of a few action steps that might pull in more light. I focused on self-love and self-care.
These are your weapons of defense.
They may not work for you, but try them anyway, or build your own tried-and-true list.
The key is to keep it real simple and be grateful for each small effort you are making. These, my sister, will build you up, fill you with self-love, and that is a solid foundation to thrive. Some days you may do nothing, but don’t beat yourself up, be gentle – treat yourself with the same love and compassion you would give to a baby.
I found each action pulled in a bit more light, and over time the light expanded and wiped away the dark walls of my depression.
Think of the momentum a snowball builds as it tumbles down the hill. We are merely redirecting this snowball and building positive momentum.
I put together a pretty printable version as well. Print it off, hang it on your fridge and let me nudge you: 10 – Day Action Plan
A 10-Day Self-Love Plan:
Day 1: Walk among the trees with your favourite hot drink.
Day 2: Sit outside with a book & your favourite healthy snack.
Day 3: Have a bubble bath with candles & spa music. Shave, wash hair, exfoliate & moisturize your entire body.
Day 4: Go for a beach walk. Bring a coffee & blanket and pause to feel grateful. Thank yourself.
Day 5: Get your greens. I bought vital greens.
Day 6: Upbeat music: dance & clean the house.
Day 7: Call up a friend. Walk and talk together.
Day 8: Cook a nutritious meal. Here was mine: Tortilla Soup
Day 9: Do something you used to love doing. For example, reading, painting, yoga, dancing, tennis, writing.
Day 10: Do something for someone else. Reach out to help someone less fortunate than you or to someone who is experiencing a tough time.
This action plan may seem simple, and you may feel like you can bang it out in a few days. For others, it may take much longer. I personally spent months on this 10-day plan. All I did was walk for the first few weeks and slowly added on.
The point is to nurture yourself and to get back to feeling good about yourself.
Those small acts of love that I gave to myself brought in a whole lot of light. The darkness wasn’t completely gone, but there was enough light to keep me moving forward.
Within a few weeks, my energy increased, and I found that I started craving the outdoors again. I slowly added simple, healthy meals to get some nutrients back into my body, which further helped my energy levels. I’m talking super simple, like a batch of hard-boiled eggs in the fridge for a grab-and-go snack, and an already made chicken with a pre-made salad for dinner. Start wherever you need to, you know yourself best.
I still fall into depressions, but I also have long periods in which I’m walking regularly, I’m playing tennis, I’m spending time with friends and believe it, or not, I’m living with a zest for life.
It started with a speck of light, which expanded into acts of self-love, and once I climbed out of that hole, I took the time to examine my life.
I checked in.
What changes did I need to make? What from my past was tapping me on the shoulder? These are topics I explore in Why am I Depressed? Deadly Secrets that will send You into a Tailspin.
I’m hoping that with enough self-love and care, we can build a concrete foundation straight across depression’s miserable black hole. Want to join me on this journey to find out?
I would love to hear about your experience. What has worked for you?
P.S. Please, keep in mind, my sister, I’m just a gal sharing suggestions that have worked for me, and I, in no way, replace the value of a visit to your doctor.
Photo by Stefano Pollio
“Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for depression.” ~Dodie Smith