When you google depression or any number of mental illnesses or even just sadness, you get a lot of advice on how to turn it all around. You see a lot of articles and help on how to “recover” and thrive in your life. You know I’m all for that and truly believe anyone can get to that place.
But sometimes, you aren’t ready for that.
You’ve heard the phrase, “The first step is admitting you have a problem.” In many ways, depression is the same. Admitting you have a problem and need help is the first step to getting that help. But what if you aren’t ready for help? What if you don’t have the energy or motivation to do anything but lie on the couch?
I call those the “survival” days. The days that you just have to get through to the end. You have to do nothing but merely survive. It’s not about feeling better or turning your life around. No, at that point, it’s about making it from A(wake up) to B(sleep).
When I had a relapse with my depression last summer, this was the place I was at. I couldn’t fathom getting up, going to therapy and trying to “fix” whatever was wrong. I just wanted to sleep and hide in my bed. I just wanted to make it through that rough stage, because my emotions were so tumultuous, I couldn’t imagine doing any introspective work.
And that is a totally okay place to be in! No, you can’t languish there forever. But when the emotions are too intense, when you have a huge energy drain…sometimes it’s okay to just survive.
4 Things To Remember When You Just Need to Survive (and not thrive)
Acknowledge and accept the hard place
Yes, you really do need to admit that you have a problem as your first step. Why? Because it makes you more self aware and accountable. Not only that, acknowledging it can allow you to accept it. Tell yourself: “This sucks, I’m going through some hard stuff right now and I’m allowed to merely survive (and not thrive) while I get through this.”
Make an action plan to get back to okay
Whether it be changing you diet, getting a sun lamp or changing medication…make a plan that is fairly inactive on your part. Yes, it’s okay to hang out in that bad place for a while, but not without taking steps to make sure you will soon be able to handle what it takes to feel better.
During the summer, I upped my medication. Those changes can take weeks to make a difference so during that time, I allowed myself the space I needed to feel shitty.
Let your support system know
They can help you if they don’t know what’s going on! If you have a significant other, parent or friend who is your go to person just let them know, “I’m going through something hard right now, and I’m doing x, y or z to get out of this but in the meantime, I need some extra alone time/rest.”
Be sure you get lots of rest! That’s what you need most right now. Sleep if you feel tired, treat yourself to that food you are craving and go easy on your workload.