Hey, friends. I hope that you are all doing well. If you aren’t doing grand, then don’t worry about it too much. Sometimes we need to let our bodies, including our brains and emotions not just the limbs and muscles, be blobs to help process whatever is going on, or simply to rejuvenate when shit gets tough. I promise it won’t last forever. ♥
This week I have returned with something that was quite the fresh experience for me, and one that had a profoundly uplifting impact. If you caught my previous SCS (Self-Care Sunday) post, I announced that I was going to be beginning a half-hiatus in an effort to focus on taking care of my mental and emotional well-being in the aftermath of helping a very dear friend of mine. Well, half of that has been great, while the other half has been one bleeding tornado of emotions, to say the least. In the process of dealing with it, I began my official counselling sessions with a health and wellness coach in an effort to improve my health—mental, physical, and spiritual. I will admit right off the bat that her assistance and suggestions are probably the only things that have kept me so focused and kept me from completely falling apart, until recently.
I’m going to provide an update on what has been going on, so I can better explain how the coping techniques I want to discuss today have benefitted me.
** Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist. I am simply one person who is reaching out and sharing their experiences and techniques that has helped them be able to move forward in life. Do not take anything that I say as medical advice as I am not a medical professional, and information provided here on BiblioNyan should not be construed as such. Thank you. **
My friend finally escaped her abusive relationship and we invited her to live with us while she recovers and to be able to stand up on her own again. Sir Betrothed and I felt so relieved when she announced that they had parted ways. Initially, we were worried about her emotionally, but she is a very strong person and she’s got much more fortitude than she gives herself credit for. I think with our ghostly support in the background, she’ll be good-to-go in no time. However, now that she is living with us, I have had to undergo a bit of an adjustment period. As someone who is extremely introverted and can only handle a particular level of social interaction before I burn out, it has been strange having someone move into our house and be a part of what I call my Safe Space, which is where I can be myself one-hundred percent without concern or crippling anxiety and paranoia; I use my accent without fear of prejudice, etc. It is exactly as it sounds: it’s safe place for me to rejuvenate and get my bearings so I can meander back into Life. My Safe Space used to be the whole house, but in light of current events, it has turned into my bedroom only.
Initially, when I began to recognise that I was withdrawing to such a severe extent, I also started to co-relate it to the increase in Low days, which for the past week has been almost every single day. I feel great in the mornings for a couple of hours, but like clockwork I find myself in the mud again. Honestly, I freaked the fuck out about it on Friday. I just sat in my car after I arrived at Sir Betrothed’s work (their bosses let me sit in their cosy lobby and read while I wait for them to get off) and cried so much. Then I told Sir Betrothed that I felt as if I’m a waste-of-space because all I want to do is help my friend, but instead I’m turning into this self-absorbed bag of incompetence when I should be focusing on her. I’ve had moments like this sporadically throughout the past two weeks (she moved in the same night as I went on my hiatus), but I hadn’t allowed myself to fall apart like this. They took their lunch early to talk to me face-to-face, and became very, very stern with me.
Sir Betrothed said the same things to me that I tell all of my friends—and others that I help—when they are going through something similar. Hell, I’ve said these very words in my previous two SCS posts. It is not my responsibility to fix everyone’s problems, as much as I would love to in order to help them out. It is impossible and unhealthy for me to take all of that burden upon myself like I’m God. We are doing the best thing for our friend, which is providing her with a Safe Space of her own to figure her shit out so she can move on, without any time constraints. Everything else that comes after that is entirely on her, with us offering more assistance when it’s needed, but most importantly when she asks for it. They told me that by falling apart—which is completely okay to do when the emotions become too much—to the point where I’m questioning my value as a person, is wholly unacceptable and unhealthy, and allows my Depression and harmful thoughts to consume and control me, as well as to invalidate the opinions of those who care deeply for me, such as how much of an asset the respective friendship/relationship is to their lives.
Sir Betrothed also made me understand that a Safe Space doesn’t have to be entirely one place or thing. It can be anywhere or anything, and there is no reason that my Safe Spaces can’t change and adapt with me as I need them to. They also opened my eyes to the realisation that my room being my sanctuary isn’t a bad or unhealthy thing. The only reason it may feel that way is because of how I’m perceiving it. If I allowed myself to put a positive spin on it, it’s not nearly as threatening or negative. For example, I had felt banished (self-inflicted) because I am so uncomfortable in the presence of others, even with good friends. The only exceptions to this are Sir Betrothed and two of my cousins with whom I’ve super close. Now I don’t see it as the land of the exiled as I did earlier in the week. We are lucky that we have a house that is big enough for us to help our friend and that still allows me to have a decent sized area where I can cave when the need arises. It’s kind of like my own personal medicated hot springs, just without the actual hot springs bit. My room is a retreat, not a prison, and when I finally changed my perspective, I felt SO much better. Honestly, it’s quite incredible how much better I felt.
Yesterday morning, for the first time in the past two weeks, when I woke up I was feeling content and good, and a couple hours later I didn’t fall face-flat into the mud. I stretched in bed with my cats, did my morning hygiene routine and got dressed, grabbed a mocha frap from my mini-fridge, and headed out to the library. The library is a place that I have been going to to escape from reality since I got my card back in March. In a way, my local library is as much of a Safe Space as my bedroom, while not nearly as comfortable. This immediately reminded me of what Sir Betrothed had said about Safe Spaces being adaptable. After I arrived, while I was paroozing books (not that I need to check out more, I was already at 21 check-outs, someone seriously save me), I began to ponder the things that happened during the past two weeks. Instead of ruminating on the negative effects, I did as Sir Betrothed advised and tried to view it from a different lens, which was really fucking hard, and by the time I walked out of the library (with seven more books, good grief), I was smiling and feeling so much lighter on my feet than ever.
Perception is a nasty bitch sometimes (see .GIF above). She is manipulative with malcontent intentions, but the kicker is that we do this to ourselves, especially if we are suffering from depression. Depression makes us think all kinds of unfortunate things; things that are drenched, breaded, and fried with negativity (now I want tempura and French fries) and because of that we are automatically trained to think the absolute worse things, specifically regarding ourselves as individuals. When something “bad” happens, we blame ourselves. When we feel shitty, we think that on some level we may deserve to feel shitty, or we get pulled beneath the surface with even more shitty thoughts that compile. Yet, if you force your brain to shut the hell up for a second and try your damndest to look at a situation or feeling from the other side, from a pair of bright orange shutter shades, you will see that the negativity doesn’t need to be there and the only reason it is, is because we are giving it permission to affect us.
I know this is much more difficult to do in actuality than it is for me sit here on my cushiony ass and type it all out. But I can only say that this works because I did it. I fought through my sweat, tears, and heart-ache, I looked past my self-loathing and depressive cloak of misguidance and forced myself to think from a place that is highly unfamiliar and uncomfortable for me: a positive perspective. Instead of saying: this room is a prison that I cannot escape, I shake my head, look at it like a new-born babe and say: holy shit, this place has a queen size bed, mini-fridge, gaming computer with fast internet and surround sounds, and a big Hello Kitty bathroom. Not to mention all the books and a bookshelf full of anime. THIS IS THE ULTIMATE INTROVERT CAVE OF WONDERS! Boom. New perspective. New happy feelings.
So, the next time you find yourself feeling negative about anything at all, stop, tell your brain to shut the fuck up. Then take a deep breath and close your eyes. Try focusing on a different perspective with whatever may be causing your negative feelings. Your parents are being assholes about something? Stop and focus on the other side. Are they being assholes because they’re shitty, or are they coming from a good place but have terrible execution because that’s what they learned from their parents growing up? Your friend didn’t call you back like they promised you they would? Instead of wondering why, or if you did something wrong, say, “They probably became busy or forgot. This gives me a chance to do something for myself.” You received a bad grade on an assignment you worked hard on (been there SO hard)? Other side? It’s a chance to learn where you went wrong and learn from it. Or you can put that grade behind you, and when the next assignment comes up, be more proactive with talking to the teach for help. If they’re an asshat, then talk to your fellow students. There’s always a way.
If there is no rhyme or reason behind those feelings at all, which is common with Depression, then I want you to choose one positive thing in your life that makes you smile and think about it. It can be your favourite pen or pencil to sketch with, your favourite candy or beverage, your favourite pair of socks (my favourite thought), a happy memory—legit, anything. When the socks don’t work for me, I think about Kheb being a boat. It always makes me laugh.
Perception is a very powerful tool on our belt or tucked into our boots. Yes, it can be a weapon of death, but only if we allow it to be. Like anything in life, it requires patience and discipline, however. The most important requirement is the desire to feel better and not let your depression control you. As long as you want to feel better and be better, you are golden and that means you can do this. As Old Man Jafar says, “Whoever has the gold, makes the rules.” You’ve got the gold, mate. Make your own rules. Fuck Depression. Just don’t kick yourself in the ass, or anywhere else, if it doesn’t work on the first or second try.