I had no one to share my lows with, I also did not want to share the fact that I was on a dark place, all by myself, with anyone. There I was, below rock bottom, telling everyone that I had “a really good weekend” and that I am feeling “much better”, only to cough my lungs out within the next five minutes.
“Dark place” is a location I am often a tourist at. No visas are needed, and border control is flexible upon entry, but exiting may include extra baggage. For me that manifests in:
- Weight gain
- Sharpening of my rosacea symptoms
- Low self-esteem (actually, make that no self-esteem)
- No self-worth
- No willingness to communicate or even take a shower
- Low immunity
Pretty dark, this place of mine. Of course, all of these put together equate to becoming a vicious circle. Say, you already feel low in the self-worth front, and noticing weight gain may cause you to not be willing to be seen, hide at home. Of course, eating the same amount of food, with the only activity being turning from one side to another every three hours contributes back to the weight gain, and zero communication with the outside world feeds in nicely to a feeling of complete apathy. This circle is getting more and more solid, so why break such a solid structure? Everyone’s reason is different. Finding one, is one of the most important first steps.
I am not a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist, so I will base my advice on what worked for me, in the hope that this will help someone, anyone, at their darkest. If you are suffering from depression or suspect you are suffering from depression, it’s important you speak to a medical professional to address your symptoms. I am of the view that depression is an extremely serious diagnosis, and I don’t see being in a “dark place” at equal severity, however failure to address how you feel may lead to depression.
Here’s how I bounced back from my low point:
- Add an event to look forward to. If I know there’s something extremely exciting that’s on the cards soon, you can focus on how to enhance the upcoming experience. This lets you take your mind off “the now” and feel hopeful about what’s about to come. I booked a few travel destinations, which helps to occupy my mind with transporting myself there and daydreaming about the upcoming adventures.
- If your schedule and lifestyle allow, consider adopting a pet. My dog Zeus has changed my life. He loved me unconditionally and he was there for me throughout. He lay there quietly when I wouldn’t leave my bedroom for days. Just being there, sometimes tapping me with his paw, and licking my wrists when my fever was very high. This instinct-based behaviour helped me immensely to simply “snap” out of those mental dips and focus on that bundle of pure cuteness.
- Go to the park. Alone, or with someone, just go to the park. Breathe in air, and look into the distance. Staying in that moment helps. It’s a form of mindfulness if you manage to focus on not thinking about anything. Or, if watching series back to back helps you – do that instead. Only you know how to make your mind not think, at least for a moment.
- Don’t listen to generic advice that doesn’t apply to you. I know that some find help in speaking to people or talking about what haunts them. I sometimes do too. Other times I don’t want to talk as processing feelings within to let them go works much better for me. It took me quite some time to understand that there is nothing wrong in this. People forcing you to talk when you are not ready or willing are wrong. Also, they may just be the wrong audience. Focus on what helps you, not general best practice advice. This is not an one size fits all situation, you are not a jersey dress.
- Let go of stuff that annoys you about yourself. For example, I hate my stupid rosacea. I literally can’t stand it. Those red inflamed vessels on my face just piss me off. I can’t be one of those Instagrammers that wake up, take a snap of “hey this is me without make up, just woke up, flawless skin, much beauty selfie”. But the more I’d get angry about it, the more stressed I’d become, the more my rosacea would intensify. I decided to let it go. I bought some damn Double Wear by Estée Lauder and proceeded to live life. The redness subsided slightly as I stressed less. I started to feel that I was finally winning.
The images above are me on my way to bouncing back. You may look at the beautiful yellow colours, but all I see for now are weight gain and a fabulous job hiding my rosacea-infested skin. I am certainly working on getting better and because I braved it, and shot these at a time of zero self esteem, I know I will bounce back, and if you could relate to anything I wrote above, so will you. I know it.
A special mention goes out to Simply Be, who sent me a couple of jeans to try on and write about. Obviously, they didn’t know what I was going through. This brand now added sizes 8-10 to their vast selection of sizes. I felt these jeans were extra comfy, and that is something I definitely needed due to my yo-yo weight. Simply Be didn’t sponsor this post, by the way. Just thought you may find something there for yourself if your weight decided to run up and down.