Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Keep on Truckin'

Because of my passion for helping others with mood and anxiety disorders, I speak to people on a regular basis who are feeling so anxious or depressed or fearful that it almost freezes them. It can seem, some days, like the only safe thing is not to move a muscle. I completely understand the feeling - I've been there. I won't disagree that sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is anything that can help you relax and not exacerbate how you're feeling. I also feel, though, that sometimes if you can just get past that hump, you'll discover your strength and that you can keep going, even on your most difficult days. It won't be easy, but you can do it. Sometimes, what you need, is a reason to do so. Here are five I've come up with. 

1. Often, just getting yourself going is enough of an accomplishment on a bad day to show you that you can get through it. Next time you feel badly, you can say 'I remember, I've done this before, and I made it through. It wasn't fun, or easy, but I did it." 

2. It helps prevent the snowball effect. The more you separate yourself from people and action for longer periods of time, the more difficult it is to get back in with people, work, and such. If you are already suffering from anxiety or depression, you don't want to add to it a social anxiety or loneliness from being separated from others. 

3. You may help someone else unknowingly. I know from personal experience, and from the Facebook group that I oversee, that so often when myself or someone else speaks out about how they're feeling, others comment to support them, and open up about their struggles as well. In this case, the "snowball" effect is positive. We draw from each other's support, we can empathize and offer suggestions, and I know for me personally, it helps me feel a bit stronger when I have helped others. Even if I feel like I can't do much else, I can do that, and that's super important to me. 

4. You may discover something that makes you feel better. You may go to work and get praised for a project you did. You may run into an old friend you haven't seen in ages. You may find a lost dog and return it to it's owner and make someone's day. Who knows? But if you stay in bed watching tv, the only thing you'll discover is 1970s reruns and some bad daytime Hallmark movies. You never know what might happen that helps you turn the corner and put you on the track to getting out of this current bout of anxiety, fear, or depression.

I'm not saying you should always push yourself. There are times when what you really need is some rest, some time away from the things making you anxious, and some support from those who care about you. I'm all about taking a mental health day when needed. However, I know there are days that staying in, while attractive, only makes me feel worse in hindsight. On those days, what I really need is something to inspire me to push past whatever's dragging me down, and I'm so proud of myself when I do. 

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