By Alice M
No one is ‘normal’. Never forget that. Normal people do not exist; normal is something we give to things that repeat themselves. Some time ago, spending so much time on the internet was not normal. Hours and hours online might be considered an addiction. Today, the term ‘Internet addict’ is looser. Years ago maybe we could all call ourselves addicts because of the time we spent online. It has become a repetitive thing, for people to be online all the time and now it’s considered normal.
I strongly believe we all have potential to be called mad and that is not a bad thing necessarily. I believe a smidgen of madness makes us more interesting, more colorful.
I thought that I might be a complete lunatic and to some people I probably fit into that category. For me, some other traits might be considered mad. We don’t talk about our madness and when we do we make sure it’s well hidden.
When I started talking about what bothers me, suddenly all of my friends started to open up and share their madness. Some even asked me for advice on how to handle anxiety, overthinking and depressive thoughts. I found out some of my friends even tried to kill themselves. You never know what hides behind faces, social networks and day to day interactions.
So here are the things I learned, things that literally kept me alive.
- I already mentioned the first one – Everyone has issues. No one likes to talk about them but more often than not, people really understand. Some may help and listen, others won’t but trust me – they all know. We are all the same, we are all human. Never forget that.
- When you’re feeling weak or you’re in therapy, choose your friends carefully. It’s hard for some people to listen what you have been going through and if it’s hard for them, you’ll notice. Some people won’t be supportive not out of malice, but because they are afraid of their own demons. I know, when I’m feeling okay, sometimes it is hard for me to help someone because I’m too afraid that my own head will drag me down again. Some friends may even, not on purpose, make you feel worse, like they are pressuring you with your advice. Advice you didn’t necessarily ask for. It’s because they are shielding themselves and they will go into a long monologue what helps them when they are feeling down and they are not telling that to you, they are repeating that for themselves. On the other hand, there are people that will make you feel lighter after you talk to them. They won’t pressure you, they will let you work through things at your own pace and the biggest difference is – they listen.
- Try this if you’re feeling angry. My best friend and I have this method where we simultaneously write message each other things that bother us and we vent everything – from the most mundane things to the deepest, darkest thoughts we have. We don’t dwell or ask each other why we are writing things we do; we just verbalize it to another person and move on.
- If you don’t have a good friend you can do this with try writing. Write something I call – Thoughts for my therapist. This works if you have trouble talking and opening up in therapy. Write how are you feeling, everything, like you would if you were to explain it to another person. It might not help you in a larger scheme of things, but they say paper is stronger than people so write your heart out.
- Your medications are not a solution to a problem, they are a tool. They help you feel better when your own brain chemistry fails to do so. You need to take care of yourself and make actions to feel better no matter the amount of medications.
- Put yourself first. This doesn’t mean be selfish. You can still help people without putting yourself down. My mother taught me this once when I called her and cried on the phone. Never put yourself down no matter what your parents, your friends or even yourself say or think. Especially when you think it yourself. You should always think you are the most important thing to yourself there is, that there is hope, faith and chance of redemption even though it may seem like a lie. There are no atoms of hope, no molecules of faith but they exist. How? Sometimes we have to believe things that don’t exist, how else can they become?
- Whatever keeps you alive is worth having. Find what you love and stick with it. If you love drawing, do that. Reading, do that. Gaming, do that. Watching movies. Do that. Whatever makes you even a bit happier than you are is worth your time. Is your time and no time is wasted if it’s on you.
- When you find that thing do it even if you don’t feel like it. When I didn’t have any meds I used to cope with crippling anxiety by just playing my favorite game. I used to play it so much that my hands would become cold and stiff but it worked. It restarts your brain and every thought you have is only about that one thing.
- Force yourself to take care of yourself. I know you sometimes don’t even feel like showering and leaving the house. Take a shower. If you look better, you’ll feel better. Drink lots of water, enjoy your favorite tea even though you don’t even have the strength to get out of bed. Read a book, just a page. And congratulate yourself because there are days when you want to die but you did so much more. You got out of bed and made tea. You know how different that is from being dead? If you don’t, name me a dead person that does that.
- Listen to a professional and yourself and nobody else. My father convinced me that I don’t need anxiety medications 3 years ago so I stopped with my therapy all together. I stopped taking my medications and I stopped seeing my therapist even though I wanted to continue. I though he knew better. You know where that got me 3 years after? On suicide watch. Get help and stick with it, it makes a difference.
The chance of you existing is the same as 2 million people each rolling a trillion sided dice at the same time and all getting the same number. You are the most important thing in the world and that comes from a person saying that nothing in this universe matters so it’s got to mean something. And maybe our existence is the biggest lie ever told, but if we believe it, it becomes real. Everything is nothing, whit a twist.
You may ask, how can a depressed person write something so hopeful? I don’t know, but as I was writing it, I believed in it and it became.
Reproduced with permission, originally published here