Finding Happy Again

We all have times in our lives when we get a little down, right? Get a little funk-ish? If you’re like me, you might possibly have some difficulty getting back out of those little “rabbit holes” you get into. Kind of like your mind burrows in and makes a nice little spot to lie down and decides it enjoys the dark.

I’ve been in this situation quite a few times in my life. At its worst, there is a lot of day-by-day….hour-by-hour….sometimes even minute-by-minute, and it’s a bad place to be emotionally. For me, when things get to this point is when I start to get overwhelmed, the smallest problem becomes a ‘mountain’, and my thoughts take a darker turn quickly.

Here I think it’s imperative that I say….with depression, sometimes a person can get too deep and it becomes something they can’t handle on their own. In this emotional state, nothing I say in this post is going to help you. You need more than this and there is nothing shameful about that. You just don’t have the tools and that is fine. Go get help. I take my car to the mechanic when it needs work because I don’t have the knowledge or the tools. If you are at that point, get professional help. Talk to people who love you. Do not ever keep it inside.

With that said, now that I know what I’m dealing with and pay more attention I can recognize some of the changes in my thinking and my actions that alert me to what may be happening and I know it’s time to take action. A lingering sad mood is a rabbit hole, so to speak, straight to depression. I mention getting help above because I have sought a professional myself recently.

I have taken the suggestions of my therapist and applied what I could to my life. If you are going through a similar emotional situation, I hope these tips will help you dig your way out of the hole.

Stop romanticizing.

When things go bad – particularly things we care a great deal about – it’s a natural thing to begin remembering the best of what it was and pushing aside the worst. If you catch yourself doing this, stop. Stop it right now.

Look, I understand missing something. I understand wanting it back. I’ve been there, so I feel you. Completely. However, what I had to finally do is get honest with myself. It wasn’t all rainbows and puppy dog tails. There is a reason this thing ended. There were harsh words and hurt feelings. There was disappointment. There was whatever going on that started you down the rabbit hole.

Don’t play yourself by romanticizing a situation in your head. There is no good in doing that. First of all, it’s going to make you sadder. It’s going to make you want to do dumb, emotional things you don’t need to be doing, and it won’t change what’s going on right now. Secondly, you need to be honest with yourself because in order to fix whatever is broken – in the current or a future situation – you’re going to have to face some issues and sort some stuff out.

It may not have been all bad….but it wasn’t all good either.

Focus on yourself.

Go get pedicures. Read good books. Drink good coffee. Meditate. Go shopping. Get a new haircut or color. Super clean your house. Dress up when you go somewhere. Make a list of all the things you love about yourself and your life. You probably won’t feel like doing any of this, but you need to make a decision and force yourself to do some positive things.

Now is not the time to give up on life. Do you. Figure out some things that you enjoy doing or that would make you feel better and start doing them.

Will you still have sad moments? Absolutely. Without a doubt, it’s going to happen. But personally, I feel a lot better about myself if I’m waxing poetic and staring morosely at newly pedicured toes instead of adding onto all that emo-tastic mind vomit that my crusty feet are gross and I look like a slug when I go out in public.

This is the most perfect opportunity to focus on you. Take advantage of it.

Friends, friends, and more friends. The real ones.

When I need a little pick-me-up, I will usually reach out to my best friend and see if she’s free to hang out. We don’t always talk about whatever I have going on. We don’t always need to. She’s been my best friend for 100 years. She knows. And I know. We’ve been here before. Even if we just sit and watch TV, it helps to have someone there.

I also have a group of girlfriends that I’ve known for years. Life keeps us from getting together as much as we used to, so at times I forget how awesome it is to have a group of girlfriends, particularly the ones I have. Then we hang out and we giggle and share stories and at some point I realize life is a little bit bigger than whatever problem I’m going through.

Friends are priceless. Appreciate them and take advantage of their presence when you can.

Stay busy.

For a while now your mind has probably not been your best friend. Stuff a sock in its “mouth”. Keep it busy. Got some free time? Go catch a funny movie at the theatre. Drive over to the local river/lake/pond/puddle and take a walk. Go out of town for the weekend (or the week!). Volunteer somewhere to meet some new people. That hobby you always wanted to try your hand at? Get started!

When your mind is dragging you in the ditch, it can be difficult to force it out of that rut. I’ve found the best thing to do is get active in some way that will keep you busy and focused, essentially cutting off your mind’s time to freehand all the ways it can create to say your life sucks or you suck or that situation sucks.

And by the way….your mind will lie. Remember that.

Just get through it.

It sucks. I mean, it suuuuuuccckkkssss. It’s ugly. It’s painful. There is nothing good about it….except that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You just have to get there. And you can do that.

This is less a helpful tip and more a life lesson, but I’m a big believer in just hunkering down (<— did I just show my age there???) and weathering the storm. Self-medication, while it may help you forget it in the present, will never do anything but prolong the pain.

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