So you think you’re garbage? You think life’s forgotten about you. You think you don’t deserve to be happy. Because you’re garbage–and not even the cool kind of garbage, like a single snakeskin boot or a doll’s house full of human hair. No, you’re just regular garbage; a banana skin, a candy wrapper, a tissue with gum in it. And even on the days when you know you’re not tissue-gum, when you can recognize that you’re smart and capable and wise and kind, how come on those days you STILL feel like you’ve never seen sunlight? What are you supposed to do then?
Well, first off:
1. You gotta eat something.
I don’t mean necessarily right now, but definitely that too. Go get a Snickers, a juice, then come back. I’ll wait. I’m happy to wait. Eat. Fill yourself up with all the right things, the nice things that people who love themselves are full of: kind words, reassurances, second chances, third chances–fourth and fifth chances, too. God knows you’ll need them. I know, I know, they don’t do any good, but humour me. Start eating those delicious forgiveness vitamins that you don’t think you deserve and see what happens.
2. Do things.
When we’re depressed we feel like we can’t do the big things, like live our entire lives from start to finish, and it trickles down and makes us feel like we can’t do the little things, like brush our hair or take out the rubbish. So push yourself to take care of the little stuff, like keeping yourself alive and fed. Shower and tidy your room. Go outside for half an hour. Do this everyday until you’re strong enough to do more. Work out a routine that gets you doing more than just sitting quietly with your depression, your anxiety, your avoidance. Even if you hate it the whole time it doesn’t matter. Take steps. They can be as small as you like but they have to be continuous, you have to keep moving forwards.
3. You also have to look directly at your problems.
It’s okay, they’re not the sun. So look right at them, look them up and down and realize that they don’t outmatch you. They may seem enormous, they may be the sum of all the terrible things that ever happened to you, perhaps they’re all the blessing ands good opportunities that you let fall through your fingers because you were too sad to try. Maybe they’re just your misfiring neurons and badly-wired brain. I don’t know. But this is what you need to remember–and I’m about to yell so please don’t panic: YOU’RE ALLOWED TO GET HELP SOLVING THESE PROBLEMS. THEY’RE NOT YOUR BURDEN ALONE AND THEY NEVER WERE. YOU’RE NOT AN UNSOLVABLE SUDOKU YOU’RE JUST FUCKED UP IN THE REGULAR HUMAN WAY.
4. So get help.
First work out what help is. Maybe Help for you is being like ‘Actually, Kevin, no’ when someone you love asks if you’re alright. In this scenario you and Kevin are in love, please don’t be afraid. He’s nice. Maybe in another scenario Help is getting new medicine that stops your brain from going like “YUCK NOOOOO” and starts making it go like “OK YES WOW ALRIGHT LET’S SEE ABOUT THIS LIFE THING”. Or perhaps, and I know I’m really spoiling you with choices here, but perhaps it’s getting rid of every single person who makes you feel unworthy of the most pure and brilliant light.
5. Save your own life.
This is the last step, but it also never stops being a thing that you have to do. That might seem unfair because to you it seems like hardly anybody you know has to do this. Probably Becky from work doesn’t have to wake up everyday and fight to be here, so why should you? But the thing about that is, like, stop being a little bitch about it. This isn’t about Becky. It’s about you. Yes, saving your own life is Hard. It involves a lot of feeling like you’re wading miles through filthy water and shit and broken glass just to end up exactly where you started. Like in that movie where the tall guy escapes from prison by digging a hole behind his sexy Minions poster and crawling through a sewage pipe to freedom.
Except we keep not finding freedom at the end of our tunnel. We keep just finding more shit. AND I’M SORRY ABOUT IT, is the thing. But also I’m not, because I’m in here with you. I’m waving. Hi. There’s lots of us in here, actually. Say hello to everyone, don’t be shy. We’re here and we’re making it, we’re making it as long as we’re alive. Don’t get me wrong we’re also very tired and angry and all we want is to go home and sit out in the garden and watch the sun come up, we want to drink some elderflower cordial and not feel like our brains are full of bees. But we keep going.
Because we all saw the end of the movie where the tall dude gets free from the shit and the sadness and nobody makes him go back and then he moves to the beach and marries Morgan Freeman and the camera zooms out and out and out and everything is perfect.
So you keep going, too. Because really the only way to stop feeling bad and start feeling not so bad is to live a little longer, make a little change, move a little bit to the left, then the right, then back. Eventually you’ll find just the right angle so that the light can hit you.
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