Had a pretty bad bout of depression today. Woke up with a numb feeling in my mind. I had three gigs in a row so I didn’t have time to think about feeling sad, because I had to go to work. When I got home it all hit like a dam bursting.
I just sat on my couch for an hour hating every moment that passed for about 45 minutes. That’s 45 minutes I needed to be working at one of the many tasks I have to do today. But I just sat there.
Here’s the good news. Over the past 2 years or so I have read watched and listened to many many many awesome resources (many of which I have shared on FB). They have equipped me with certain mental tools the aid in getting me out of that toxic mindset.
And after 45 minutes I recalled this. I opened YouTube and watched a couple of motivating videos I have saved for just such occasions and I was able to get off the couch. I then talked myself thru some verbal exercises that helped me to respond to some emails.
Finally, I was able to convince myself to workout. And now that I have I feel 60% better. I don’t expect to feel 100% better. In my experience depression doesn’t work that way. But the amazing thing is how much growth I can measure over the last two years.
Me from 2014 would have let that 45 minutes go on literally for ten or more hours or even multiple days. I am so grateful that I can know for certain that I have improved. I am a better version of myself than I was. I never enjoyed hating the moments. I never wanted to prolong my to do list by accomplishing nothing. But at the time it didn’t even occur to me to try to find a way out. I just thought that’s how life was.
Now, I not only understand that there’s a way out, but I have guide maps on how to find it. And it feels so great.
If you have depression or anxiety, I encourage you to seek help. Below is a partial list of resources that have helped me the most. I think self help tools are very unique to the individual. So, I cannot promise any of these will help you, but I encourage you to keep seeking. There are hundreds of podcasts, YouTube vids, FB pages, books, blogs, etc. that offer self help. Not all are good. And not all will help.
But you owe it to yourself to search thru as many as needed until you find one that does help. Don’t be a version of yourself you don’t like. Be the best version of you. The you that goes to bed at night proud of what you’ve accomplished and happy to face the next day.
I am not fully the best version of myself by any stretch. I’m a work in progress as is everyone else. Few if any people think to themselves, “I’m the perfect version of me.” So, don’t aim for that. It’s an impossible standard. My advice is to aim to be a slightly better version of yourself tomorrow than you are today. How?
I used to say the meanest things to myself in my head. I never thought to correct that because they were just thoughts. But I still heard them. And it still affects me. Be nice to yourself.
Take care of yourself:
Sleeping, eating and exercising are big factors in not only how we look, but also how we feel and how we function. Your brain works differently when you eat differently. The better you eat, the better you sleep, and the better you move (exercise) the better you’ll feel, look and act.
Set extremely small goals:
If you want to start meditating, try doing it for 30 seconds. Or ten seconds. Get in the habit of doing that every day. And then up it to 45 seconds or 15 seconds. Don’t ever feel bad about how small your goal is. They will grow over time.
Get rid of the all or nothing attitude:
In 2014 if I was depressed for 45 minutes I would feel like the whole day was wasted and I would write it off as such. Now I realize that while 45 minutes is a good chunk of time, it’s less than 1/16th of my waking time for any given day. This also applies to if you do have a bad day or a bad week. Try again tomorrow.
These are just a few of the many things I’ve encountered that have helped me. See the resources below for more content.
Videos (this is a playlist of eight videos and as I find more I’ll add them to it):
The Tools by Phil Stutz
The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey
Getting Things Done by David Allen
My Fight/Your Fight by Ronda Rousey
Easy Street the Hard Way by Ron Perlman
10% Happier by DAn Harris
Essentialism by Greg McKeown
Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger
Happy Accidents by Jane Lynch
Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Milliman
Presence by Amy Cuddy