This was an article I wrote back in March for a newsletter published by RAMH, a Mental Health Support organisation.
I know that there are times in life when things don’t go well but over the past few months I have had mood dips that have been difficult to cope with. There was perhaps an obvious trigger, I had an eye operation at the beginning of January that took longer to heal than expected. I was confident that it would eventually heal and initially enjoyed the entrapment in the house, after all, outside was cold, wet and icy. Also friends and family had made offers to fetch shopping and take me out. I wasn’t isolated but soon began to feel that I was. I felt lonely, a rare thing for me. I like my own company, in fact, I need my own time and space and a lot of it on a daily basis. I felt lonely and sad and somehow could not brighten my mood.
Accepting this down period is hard for everyone but it is something that we all face, even if only just now and again. Life can be tough and sometimes it is so without any sensible or obvious reason. So how can we break the cycle, what, if anything, can we do about it?
Firstly you have to accept and acknowledge that for whatever reason, you are having a tough time. Don’t be too hard on yourself or waste too much energy trying to reason it out, accept it but at the same time reassure yourself that it is a temporary phase. If you have a peer support group do your utmost to make it along, talking to others who have had similar issues can be a great help. A cuppa and a biscuit alongside a friendly ear can be a great boost. Confide in someone, a friend, key worker or health worker. Seek help if you need it.
Forgive yourself for being down, being angry at yourself for being ‘weak’ or ‘helpless’ only adds another negative. Instead acknowledge it and treat yourself to something that makes you smile, it could be a book, a television programme or even watching cat videos on the internet. Pop along to the Foundry and have a flick through one of the many magazines there. Get out of the house, even for an hour, if you possibly can. If not, open the curtains, let the day in, the natural light. This might sound obvious but even small measures can be difficult at times, the desire to shut the world out is strong even though unhelpful.
Above all, keep reminding yourself that this will pass. Enjoy the better days, make the most of them, it’s not all bad even though, at times, it may feel that way.