Creating my happy life on the other side of fear.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

What to do when you feel off?


My old foe depression has been rearing its ugly head lately. I've been feeling down, partly due to a couple little problems, but mostly for no reason. Since I take medication, it never gets to full-blown sadness armageddon - it takes the shape of what I image a midlife crisis to feel like.

You question your purpose in life.
You question where you are headed.
You question your work life, goals, ambitions.
You panic about the limited amount of time you have left - gotta start living life to the fullest! The clock is a-ticking! Time is a-running!

Writing it down and seeing my thoughts laid out in front of me shows me how manageable those thoughts are. But as long as they are in my head? They are not manageable at all. They loom large, menacing and scary, and the more I think about them, the more threatening they become.
What I have learnt through Jon Acuff is that fear and doubt like the shadows. They operate best in the dark. When you shine a light on them, they suddenly don't appear that scary any more. They have turned into solvable problems.

That's why I'm such a fan of lists. As long as ideas, problems and vague plans are only in our head, they are as insubstantial as a wisp of smoke. Before we can grasp them they retreat, to disappear indefinitely (ideas) or to appear at 2am in the morning (problems). But writing them down nails them down. They become tangible.

If they are problems, you can get started on solving them. The best part? You don't have to do it alone! You can ask for help. Once you have formulated what the problem is, it's easy to ask for advice. As long as the problem floats around in your head, it is difficult to identify its exact nature. They tend to mutate in our minds, taking on different shapes, changing from "I made [this mistake]" to "I suck at my job, and don't even know if I like doing it". Sounds familiar?

If your thoughts are plans, it's even more important to write them down. This is something I'm just learning, but I have the distinct feeling that this the secret of successful people: You need  specific goals, not vague, wishy-washy ones (which is my specialty). Instead of saying "I want to grow my blog" (which I have to admit, I'm obsessed with), my new approach is to make a list of steps of how to achieve this. In fact, I made such a list just yesterday! Some of the steps I'm still in the dark about of how to achieve them (like guest posting), but that's what Google is for.
Fact is: Once you have a solid plan, you can start working on it. I'm sure it won't all work out, but some of it will!


You remember how I started this post out saying I felt down and depressed?
Well, I have to say, I'm feeling a lot better now. I got up at 6:30am today for the specific reason to write. I had no idea what to write about, and then this just happened. Basically, I did a little early-morning therapy session, and you all were listening. Thanks for that!

To get back to the title of this post: When you feel off, do what you love. Even if it means getting up an hour earlier than you have to. Believe me, I really didn't want to get up when the alarm went off an hour ago. But if I wouldn't have done that, my day would have been something like this: Me feeling down and in a funky mood. Going to work with that mood. If I'm lucky, brightening up as the day progresses; if not, staying down and maybe even spreading my bad mood around. (Misery likes company. Misery is a social butterfly - an evil, gloom-spreading one.)

But instead, I'm feeling uplifted and positive. Ready to tackle this day!
I'm going to get ready now, and you know what? I may even put some make-up on. Take that, depression! You are not the boss of me.

I wish you all a kick-ass day! Don't let the world take you down. You can do this!! 




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9 comments

  1. Wait, are we the same person? I am exactly the same way - you have to write things down to get them out. It's like they're trapped and stewing inside and until you just put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard!) they'll just grow worse! Every now and then, I'll write some sort of nod to my problems or things that are bothering me in my blog, but I've got a diary at home where I really vent. We're talking full on rip-the-paper-I'm-so-emotional venting. But you're absolutely right: once it's out and down and you can fully process it, it feels like a HUGE weight is off your shoulders :) It could just be because I love writing, but I definitely think it's a great way to get out of a funk!
    ~ Samantha

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  2. I had an off day yesterday. We all have them! I'm blaming mine on hormones and I'm happy to say that I feel much MUCH better today. What helped? Working out this morning and putting on a cute outfit! Journaling is a great idea, especially when you're not really sure why you're feeling the way you are. Hope your blog grows and grows!
    OXOX
    Dawn Lucy
    http://fashionshouldbefun.blogspot.com

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  3. Hi friend. You're fantastic. I envy you the ability to write it out when you're feeling off - pen to paper, fingers to keyboard. I wish I was better about that. Instead, I hibernate and stew. It's not nearly as healthy as your approach.

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  4. Such great advice! It's so easy when you feel like that to just feel sorry for yourself and mope around thinking 'ugh I really don't want to go to work' etc. That negative mindset right there determines how the day will go. I love your ability to work through it and come out positive so quickly!
    P.s. I've missed you girl! XO

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  5. i like how positive you are :) and how you are using writing to teach and to inspire others. i really really like reading your blog and i think you're a wonderful person.

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  6. Writing is such a powerful force, it makes us see the view the beauty in our words. What you say it's true, in order to keep going we need to do what we love. You're beautiful Miriam! Thank you for being so brave for us!

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  7. Great post.. not only the content, but the flow.. loved it..

    It's funny.. when I read the title, I immediately answered the question "I run! Of course.." which is what I do.. I hit my favourite trail, which to me is a best friend (yes, a trail as a best friend) because it has seen me through dark times. It knows my secrets, and I work out my problems on a pair of Nikes on gravel..

    Then when I got to the bottom of your post, where you say 'When you feel off, do what you love.' I was thinking "AH HA!"
    I love running! I mean, I knew it.. but I didn't answer that question at the top of the post thinking that way… running is just what I do to feel better.. How amazing to realize running to me is like writing to you..

    "when you feel off: do what you love"
    Wow! Thanks Miriam
    Lightbulb!!

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  8. Great post Miriam! Very encouraging and totally relatable! It reminds me of the saying "stop and smell the roses"....sometimes we just have to remember, even on our worst days, that there is beauty and happiness out there for all of us :)
    Please don't stop writing! I look forward to your blog everyday!
    -Linds

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  9. Very sorry to hear that you have felt a bit off of late. It must have felt very cathartic to write this. Whenever I feel off, I like to lose myself in Mother Nature. Sometimes the humble feeling I encounter when exploring nature really is eye-opening.

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