At 28, I was at a crossroads; I realized I did not have the skills needed to deal with life’s stresses and worries. Withdrawn and depressed, I was unable to be impartial or sensible when analyzing what I was feeling.
It was not until I attended a cognitive therapy program that I realized I lacked the tools needed to decipher my moods and rationally deconstruct the stresses in my life. The program allowed me to minimize my anxieties and dispel my negative mood.
Nonetheless, life is filled with many changes, and every milestone brings new encounters and conditions that challenge our personal philosophy, coping skills, and ability to adapt.
These new situations can include a shift in living arrangements, responsibilities and work environment.
Sometimes the stress of these changes is overwhelming, and it leaves us depressed and anxious.
I found that you can rebound from a bout of depression by giving into the negative feelings and giving up your daily responsibility for a short period. Under the right circumstances, and with a level-headed self-awareness, this can give us an opportunity to reflect, react and take constructive action.
Home with my son
For me, my situational shift occurred when I became a stay at home parent and a university student. I thought I was ready for the change, but in a few weeks it was obvious I was unprepared for the task.
At first, I tried to discount the discomfort I was feeling, but the stress of my new responsibilities pushed me towards a short bout of depression and anxiety.
While I was consciously ignoring the stress and discounting the challenges I was facing, unconsciously my body was warning me that something was incredibly wrong in my life.
Luckily, the bout was neither long nor deep. Instead of succumbing to the negative state, I used it to my advantage.
Sometimes, the struggle to convince ourselves and others that we are not depressed can diminish our resolve to get better.
Personally, the hardest part of these mental funks is my tendency to be short and inconsiderate to people who do not deserve it. Thankfully, my wife is willing to indulge these periods of moodiness.
When you reveal your true emotional and mental state, you need to be non-confrontational and respectful. This approach will help people understand what you are going through and how they can help you recover.
As long as it is not destructive, it is ok to be a little selfish and withdrawn. Ensure that you pick a place to withdraw that allows you to be comfortable, dismiss your worries, and clear your mind of any expectations.
Once you are settled, ask yourself some simple questions, and expect only simple answers.
· Am I gaining anything from sitting here?
· Does the situation really require me to feel like this?
· What can I do to get out of this funk, and get myself moving forward?
The answers will not solve all your problems, but they do give you a way to deal with your mood. It simplifies everything and focuses your attention on easy actions.
For me this usually means cleaning something in the house, it’s a mindless job and it gives me time to contemplate my life. The key is to make the action solitary, so that you have time to reflect and build a productive outlook.
The key to evolution and survival is based on our ability to adapt. In order to adapt, we have to be conscious of the fact that we are no longer able to deal with a new circumstances or new environments.
Even the strongest armies need to retreat and regroup from time to time. Stepping back and saying “I am not happy,” helps us reboot our system and change our perspective on life. Also, it gives us time to realize how our actions are affecting our productivity, mood, and our relationships.
The key is to snap out of these periods and start taking action, it does not matter what you decide to do as long it is productive and you feel good about the action. Once you are moving, momentum has the magical ability to keep you in an active state of mind.
Remember … "Success will never be a big step in the future, success is a small step taken just now”. ~ Jonatan Martensson