Someone once wrote to me a little note: “Life may put you down, but staying down is a choice”.
I happened to find that small note one morning when depression was pinning me down in my bed. It was the perfect moment to read it because this time I was able to understand it.
Life can give us some hard lessons from time to time. The common reaction is to feel like a victim: “things happened to you”, “somebody hurt you”.
We rarely take ownership and ask the question the other way around: why did this happen to me? why was someone able to hurt me? Maybe you gave away too much trust, maybe you were naive or too generous, maybe you lied and deceived, and karma hit back.
Falling Down Is an Accident: Staying Down Is a Choice
Whatever it was, own the result. Own your actions and inactions.
“I always end up like this, these things keep happening to me”.
Ask this question 5 times and get to the bottom of it. If you truly want things to change, start doing things differently. You can’t have the same results, by doing the same actions.
Depression can crawl under your skin silently. It’s a pervert and its tentacles pull you in, without knowing. You just find yourself one day unable to get off the bed, finding no purpose in taking a shower or brushing your teeth. You just notice the passing hours. And you keep ruminating the things that happened to you: what should have been and never happened.
Sometimes you just want the right person to notice you, to see how much you’re suffering, but self-abuse never led to love. To compassion, maybe. To pity, maybe. But not to love.
It’s because of our natural construct as human beings adapted to survival. We want a partner who’s a survivor and that gives us confidence we’ll be safe and our children will be safe. It’s not something we rationally acknowledge, but it’s the way human species have perpetuated.
Know your enemy. Depression keeps you anchored into two thinking mechanisms: what you had and lost (the past) and the future you think you will never have (a negative variant out of the many folds future has in store). It tries to make you blind to the present and trick you that what you feel is your only reality. It’s not.
Being present is rarely harmful. For example: sip some coffee, don’t think about anything else, just enjoy the taste, the warmth, the smell. Take a shower and enjoy the hot water flowing down your body, from your shoulders to your toes. If it’s sunny outside look at the sky. If someone calls you and wants to see you, just go out.
If you have work to do, be present there, don’t let your mind wander. You will see there is no harm in the present moment.
Do something today for which you will thank yourself later. Having a glass of wine when you’re feeling down seems like a good idea because it’s what you feel. Will you thank yourself for that tomorrow when you wake up with puffy eyes and slow?
What if instead, you would exercise like a nut?
Not only it will make you think straight, but you’ll be grateful for changing your body.
Stop looking for saviors.
You are the only saviour you need and the one person who will truly love you all your life, no matter what you do. You may hate yourself now for whatever you did or didn’t do. Forgive yourself: we’re human, we all make mistakes.
Then accept yourself as you are: imperfect. Then love yourself. A bit harder. Love yourself with all your heart, cause once you get there, you will not let anyone else harm you (be it a lover, a friend or a boss), because you care too much about yourself. Then your life will change and people will start looking up to you.
Staying down is a choice. It may take a journey of 1000 miles to get where you want to be, but every journey starts with a step. Then another one and another one, until you can’t see where you departed from.
Take that first step today.