7 things help you survive the worst days

Sometimes you have to forget what you feel, and remember what you deserve”

Living with depression and anxiety isn’t an easy ride. I can go for months at a time and feel fine, life is good, I’m happy, living seems easy. And then, BAM – right out of nowhere I’m crippled again. My mood plummets, I have no energy, no zest for life, no patience, no hope. My anxiety sky-rockets, my brain won’t quieten down, I overthink every little thing and even the thought of leaving the house causes me to have huge panic attacks.

In the midst of this, the days vary. Some days are ok, I feel pretty awful but somehow manage to do the things that I have to do, make it through yet another day and collapse into bed in an evening. Then there are the days where I can’t stop crying. Where I’m convinced that I am failing at life. When nothing seems to go right, and I can’t see the point in even trying. When the thought of even just one more day feeling like this is far more than I can cope with.

On days like this, they are the times that we need to remember to be our own best friends, treat us as we’d like our mothers to treat us, pretend we are our children and wrap ourselves in cotton wool.

1| Drop all the plates. My anxiety tells me that I can’t let anything slip, not even just for one day. But when I’m feeling hopeless and despairing at my whole life, the best thing I can do is to do nothing. Let go of the shoulds and musts for the day, put away the to-do list and turn off the guilt in my head that I’m making even more of a mess by not keeping on top of everything. The world really won’t come crashing down if we take a day off, all the pressure from trying to be perfect in all areas of our life only make the overwhelm we’re feeling worse.

2| Let the feelings out. Whether this means angrily punching a pillow, or crying in despair, whatever you’re feeling, then feel it. Feelings are real, but they are not reality. Bottling up how you’re feeling is a sure fire way to make you feel even worse. Scream, bawl, do whatever it is you need to release your feelings.

3| Distract yourself. On days like this, I need some background noise to distract myself, to take away from the constant voice in my head telling me how I’m feeling, how I’m a waste of space, etc etc. Some days I’ll put on some music on Spotify and turn the volume up high, others I’ll find a cheesy movie on Netflix to give me something to focus on.

4| Write it out. Writing has always been my therapy. Some days when I don’t even know what I’m thinking or feeling, give me a pen and a journal and the words will just pour out. Don’t think about the words that are coming out, don’t try and edit them, just let them pour onto the page. Sometimes I’ll read back what I’ve written, others I’ll shut the book and leave it be – it can be a great exercise in getting your thoughts out of your head and seeing them for what they are – thoughts not reality.

5| Reach out. When we’re lost in the darkest thoughts it can easy to turn inwards, to dwell in our minds and to be consumed by them. Paranoia always convinces me that everyone hates me. Reach out to a friend who knows how you’re feeling, tell them it’s a bad day, ask them how they are, get them to tell you something funny, anything. Often I don’t even want to talk about how I’m feeling with them, but just knowing there is someone there makes the world feel a little less dark.

6| Self-care. On days when my depression is at it’s worst, any idea of self-care usually goes out of the window. Yesterday’s clothes go back on, teeth go unbrushed. I might manage to make a cup of tea but that’s as far as I’ll get. Yet I know from experience that making the {super human} effort to practice a little self-care on my worst days really does help. A deep, hot, bubble-filled bath, something tasty and comforting to eat, or even just clean clothes can make you feel a little less horrible.

7| Find one reason to keep going. When our minds are full of darkness and despair, the thought of yet another tomorrow can be enough to make us even more desperate. Yet, no matter how hard things are, there is always at least one reason to not give in. It might be your kiddos, it might be a friend you’re looking forward to seeing, it might be your pet. No matter what it is, find one thing in your life that is worth fighting through to another day for, and focus on that.

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