Whether it comes to us like an old familiar friend, an unexpected acquaintance, or complete stranger, feeling down does not feel good. It affects many areas of life like work, school, health, behaviors like drinking or spending money, and our thoughts, which can go spiraling out of control.
It can also mean feeling irritable, worried, anxious, sad, confused, hopeless, and angry. There is so much complexity to what we are feeling and confronting in life.
The only thing that matters when we're feeling down is that we feel alone. It can feel like this will never change.
Feeling alone often puts us in the fight or flight response.
Normally this body response keeps us alive in survival moments. All of the urges and changes in the body are meant to send a message to us: "You're in danger, something is not right, so go and change it! Now."
This is great when we actually see the danger like a burning house or a car coming at us. Then we follow through on the action by running out of the house or jumping away from the road. Done.
It's not so easy when we cannot see the danger. What action do we take when we dislike our job, have a fight with a friend, or fear going to a social event? It's not so easy when you're unemployed, feeling overwhelmed by the demands of being a parent, or your car breaks down. It feels harder when you're isolated.
We get to interrupt this cycle and break the false image of feeling stuck and alone.
1. Take a deep breath and notice that you are in this state of being.
Taking a deep breath sends a direct message to the brain and body that physically we are okay. We have to keep doing this over and over while saying out loud, "I'm in this and I don't like it."
2. Get help from professionals.
Think of the people who can help you - doctors, a therapist, a pastor, an EAP program or a non-profit. Reaching out to ask for referrals from a trusted source are key to start taking action towards change. Keep doing #1 while taking this step.
3. Reach out to friends, co-workers, gym members, and family members.
Find the person and say, "Hey, I'm feeling down. Can I hang out with you?" This might be the weirdest, strangest, scariest thing you can of doing, especially when all you want to do is stay isolated. Most people are loving and kind; they may not know exactly what to say or do but most will want to help.
4. Get active!
Our urge may be to stay in bed or on the couch. We don't have to follow through on this urge so think of the ways you can be active. That might be literally standing up and walking around at your home. It may mean going outside and being physically active.
5. Change your thoughts (x 1000.)
Thoughts will keep us in a cycle - they can be that powerful. But when they are positive and non-judgmental we will be in a better place than the spiral of negative thinking.
The theme from all of these is to take action by getting physical active, changing our thoughts, and being with others.
These are just some of the many ways to combat the feeling of being alone. It takes time and as you can see in the list above, it has to be your choice. It doesn't matter what others tell you, once you decide to make the change, then it feels powerful.
You're not alone.
Gracias y namaste,
These changes might not be enough or they might feel out of reach. If you are wanting to implement these kinds of changes but want some more support and explanation in doing so, let me know. We can talk online or in-person. If I can't help you, then I'm happy to provide some direction to somebody who can help.
If you are feeling worsening effects of depression like thoughts of harming yourself, please please please reach out to professionals for help. This can be your primary care doctor, a hotline, or a therapist.