Thursday, 16 July 2015

What I really do when I’m sad

Yesterday I posted about What to do when you’re feeling sad. But the truth is, in a state of sadness (however you might define that term) it’s difficult to see outside of your feelings and into the ‘I’ll address this and make myself feel better’ frame of mind. It's all well and good giving advice, but I'm not quite as good at following my own advice 

So, here's what I really do when I’m sad:

- Isolate myself

- Lie in bed

- Don’t leave the house (except for work)

- Drink coffee

- Binge eat junk food - especially Pringles

- Cry

- Bottle it up and try not to cry

- Tweet some angsty 140 character rants

- Binge watch Netflix

- Fail to concentrate on what I’m doing

- Worry about being sad and how long it’s going to last without doing anything productive to help myself get out of the funk.

- Get angry at myself for not being productive

- Stare into space. A lot.

- Get especially irritated at the little things

I'm terrible at following my own advice. And so instead of working out my feelings through journaling, or treating myself, or releasing endorphins by exercising, I normally wallow in self pity.
Depending on the scale of my sadness, this could last a couple of days, a whole weekend, or maybe even a week.
At certain points over this period of time, I start to think about the things I SHOULD be doing when I’m sad (i.e. yesterday’s list). It makes me feel even worse that it's so hard to push yourself to do those productive things. Nothing comes easy with depression. 
And after a certain amount of time of ticking through the above list I’ll start acting on that other, and slightly more productive list. 
On Tuesday night, I acknowledged my sadness and I started working on a list; writing down the reasons I felt so sad. The list made me feel a bit stupid. The reasons I was feeling down were childish, and didn't I just become more of a grown up on my birthday on Sunday? My attempt at doing something to counteract my feelings failed and I went back to self pity.

The reality is that it’s not as simple as telling someone ‘here’s what you should be doing when you feel down’. That’s not how mental illness works.
I wish I could just write a list and all those reasons for my pain would just disappear. But it’s a lot more complicated than that.

Again I’m looking to the past to explain today’s low mood. I should have been engaging in self care since the summer began, but I’ve let it slide. Sure, there’s been more socialising and I’ve been doing a lot of reading. But I stopped attending fitness classes. And I’ve felt a little isolated.
It just took one hit to send me crashing.

When I’m sad it takes more than knowing what I should be doing to get myself out of the rut. And it takes more than doing one thing on my productive list to pull me up as well.

But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t keep trying. Pretty much anything is better than bottling it up or trying to vent my feelings over Twitter. 

Here's to trying to pull myself out of the ravine over the next few days. Wish me luck.


  1. Good luck, I really hope you feel better soon. This classic Irish weather seriously doesn't help. Big hugs x

  2. As Mary says, it's difficult to get into the summer mood when it seems like we are not having a summer! Zoe, I'm a little bit bad at following my own advice too sometimes but I find that by writing about it keeps me in check. I do understand how you feel. Even though I don't suffer from depression, I do occasionally suffer from anxiety and feelings of being' 'down in the dumps' (as a lot of people do) and I really believe that if I didn't look after my mental health in the ways I do, then there is a danger that depression may occur. So keep doing what you're doing.... I think you're amazing the way you are handling your depression and I love reading your blog. And as for growing up.... Hey even us mature adults have our childish days. Cry, sulk, pout. So don't worry about that! Hope you feel much better soon x

    1. Thanks Gloria, that really means a lot! x