There are times in life when everything just hurts. Staying in bed hurts. Getting up hurts. Going to work hurts. Talking to people hurts. Existing hurts. If only it were possible to power off until it gets better. Unfortunately there is no exit strategy for the pain of life. (If you are contemplating suicide, click here for ways to get help.) So how does a person keep going when all they want is for everything to stop? How do you go through the motions when every movement takes all your energy? This post is not meant to be a quick fix-it guide to depression, because there is no such thing. Dealing with emotional pain requires many little flotation devices to hold you up. These three ideas are ways of identifying your little flotation devices so that you can keep your head above water, and eventually, someday even find the shore.
1. Know who your supports are. You might be thinking "I don't have any supports" or "I'm so alone." Many people who are depressed feel that they are alone. If you really believe you don't have any friends, family members, counselors or other supports, I would encourage you to think outside the box here. Do you follow any depression support or inspirational instagrammers? Do you belong to any groups, such as online gamers? Reach out to someone. Send them a text, call them, email, facebook, whatever you can do. Any support is better than no support!
2. Create something and put your pain into it. Creating is a form of catharsis (emotional release). Use your painful emotions to make something. If all you can do is make memes on your phone in bed, it's a great start! If you can get out of bed and put the screens away, even better. Draw, sing, dance in the dark, build, write, finger paint, hula hoop, take photos. And the key here is put your pain into it. Along with making something uniquely you, you'll also be creating a way to release your difficult feelings.
3. Find the place that hurts and put love there. This is my favorite out of the three ideas. I'm a big proponent of self-love because of how much it heals the wounded heart. Take a moment, sit up straight, put your feet on the floor and start breathing. Start to take an inventory of your body. Where in your body does it hurt? Where are the painful emotions residing? When you find a place that is painful, love it. Imagine yourself cradling this place in your arms, the way you would hold a baby. Say soothing words to your pain as if it was the most precious thing in the world. And if emotions arise that are too big to bear, start back at number 1, and come back to number 3 again later.
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