We can get to this point in life where we don’t think we will ever come out of the darkness. The light is so far away that we can’t even see it, and it seems our flares and bad days will never end.
Whether it’s depression, anxiety, migraines, fibromyalgia or anything else you may have, here are ten things to remember when you think things will never get better.
1. Life is a cycle.
It’s a continuously shifting balance of up and down. If it’s down season right now, ride it out. The seasons will change again.
2. If you need help or if you’re a danger to yourself or others, go to the hospital — now.
It may seem like the worst place in the world, but the goal of hospitalization is to get stable in the least amount of time as possible.
3. Try mental health therapy, no matter what your diagnosis is.
We know our family and friends may be tired of hearing us complain, but we can’t keep it all in either. Find a therapist you connect with and share whatever you want. Therapy is a safe place with no judgment, and it’s all confidential. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) even has a Crisis Text Line so you can be connected with a crisis counselor.
4. Ask for help. Don’t be stubborn.
I know we’re warriors and don’t want to ask for help, but when we’re hurting, we need help. Sometimes we don’t need help, and sometimes we need a lot of help. Don’t force yourself to go downstairs to get the water if you only end up falling down the stairs. Trust me, that only makes it worse.
5. You are not a burden.
Let me repeat that because so many of us feel that way: You are not a burden. You are a wonderful, loved, cherished person.
6. Listen to your body.
Your body sends you signals for a reason. Pay attention to them. If all you want to do is sleep, then sleep. Sleep is restorative and healing. If you need medication, then take medication. It’s not weak. It’s taking care of ourselves.
7. Find people who understand.
Many of us aren’t able to leave our homes easily, and therefore, we might have to go online to meet some new people. Conduct some Facebook searches and find a good support group for your condition or read articles or find forums. That always helps me.
8. Share your story.
It externalizes it from yourself. You can do this by writing a journal, talking to people and starting a blog. Take your story and use it to do some good.
9. Don’t apologize.
This is not your fault. These things are out of your control, and it’s a disease, a disability or a sickness. You have no reason to apologize. (I’m still working on this one, too.)
10. Never give up.
Find something to hold on to. A pet that needs you take care of it, a family member to lean on and all the people in your corner. Music is also great. Find some empowering tunes that you can sing along to. Find music you love and put on some headphones. Jam out. If you can drive, roll the windows down. Drive on a road where there’s not a lot of congestion and you’re surrounded by nature. Turn the music up, drive and sing your worries away.
You can do this. You will do this. It will get better. All progress, no matter how small, is progress. I’ve been down and out enough, whether manic or bottom of the pits of depressed, suffering from extreme panic attacks or all of my chronic conditions are flaring at once, and I can’t see my way out of it. But my love repeats these words to me: “It’s just down season. It will get better.” And it’s true.
You are important. You are loved. You are the world to someone. You are worth not giving up on, and it will get better.