As someone with an anxiety disorder and depression, finding joy in life can become harder than it should be when situations get tough. I’m living on my own for the first time and I’m far from home, so dealing with problems completely on my own is an adjustment. I didn’t expect there to be so much fluctuation with my mental health, but I guess I should have. My whole world changed, and I’ve had to be an advocate much sooner than I anticipated I’d have to be.
I thought I’d put together a list of the things I’ve been doing that help me feel better when I’m dealing with a lot, both mentally and physically. I’d also like to remind you that no matter how hopeless a situation seems, you can make it through it. You are strong enough, you are loved, and your feelings are valid.
A warm bath: Submerging myself in hot water with some good scents always helps. It’s great for my skin, muscles, and joints which all get affected when I’m stressed. Sometimes turning off the lights and turning up music helps me drown out my thoughts.
Hanging upside-down: Hanging from monkey bars, a bed, the couch… it always seems to clear my head.
Driving with no destination: It’s therapeutic to be in the car alone. There’s something about knowing that no one can hear you that makes it so much easier to talk to yourself, or just let out whatever you’re feeling.
Walking in the cold: Walking in the cold or the rain always puts things in perspective for me. I think it’s the surprise of that first blast of cool air, even though you know it’s coming it always makes you hold your breath.
Journaling: This is the best thing I can do. No matter how much I talk things out to myself, no matter how much I let myself cry and feel, nothing helps me get my thoughts straight and feel better than journaling.
Talking to a therapist: No matter how great our friends and families are, there is always some detail of something that we can’t tell them about. Whether it’s fear of what they’ll think, you worry the truth will hurt them, or whatever your reasoning may be, it’s okay to not share everything with them. But you do need to talk to someone. Having a therapist has helped me so much. Having a person to listen to the unfiltered version of everything and knowing that can’t share any of it, and knowing they don’t know anyone involved, is the most relieving thing in the world. There is no shame in getting help.
Change is hard. We don’t like it, humans like constants. They’re comfortable, they’re easy. We know how to deal with what we’re used to. But change is so good. It’s hard when it happens. Your whole world flips and it feels like there’s no coming back from it. It makes us stronger people, it helps us see the world in new ways, and it sometimes makes our lives better- even though it sucks in the first stages.
I am telling you from my own experience to hang in there. Just keep holding out, and I promise you that everything will turn out so much better than you thought it would. The wait is worth it. It’s okay to cry and want to yell and break things. It’s okay to call your mom and one in the morning crying. It’s okay to need to go home for a weekend. It’s okay to feel like a little kid in a big, scary, grown-up world. Because you aren’t made to go through it alone.
You don’t always have to be the adult. You won’t always be in control of the situation. And that’s okay.