A call to all those in depression – this is an interim stage between rejection of your old situation and the eventual emergence of a new life or purpose. It could be compared to the caterpillar going into a dark chrysalis and eventually coming out into the sunshine as a butterfly.
So, life stinks, you may have tried very hard to fit in with a world you perceived you needed to fit into, where you thought you knew what mattered – but things didn’t quite work out, and you may feel hurt, angry, desperately defeated. Everything can be changed though – given time. You already changed things by discontinuing with the way things were before, so this is actually step one, breaking away.
If you discontinued everything at once though, it might seem quite dark and confusing, especially if you keep trying to mull over the past. It will probably take a little time to let go, and figure out what might come next for you. To start with you probably won’t even want to bother trying to figure anything out, you will just need to rest, curl up in your chrysalis.
You may have withdrawn into a phase of really uncomfortable emotions, or a feeling of emptiness, or of being stuck in dark treacle – but this is a way of coping, and giving yourself time to process everything. Eventually you will have rested enough, digested enough, gathered strength enough to re-emerge. When the time is right, you can begin to make new decisions, do things differently, create a new world little by little.
Everyone’s view of the world is different, and our views change at different stages in our lives. You may have thought things were hopeless, felt disgusted, even cheated – but there’s always a better way somewhere. You have this chance to totally reconsider what you want – to reinvent yourself, and your life.
Other people often have to re-evaluate if they are doing the right things or not too, even if they don’t get depressed. Some may experience catastrophic events such as accidents, or illness, or a loss in the family, which makes them pause to think. Maybe they just realise that time is passing, and they don’t want to spend the rest of their lives with the same partner, career, or whatever. Maybe it’s mid life crisis, or maybe it’s a mother left at home empty handed when the children have flown the nest. They might decide to learn new skills, or even live in a different country. Or they may even find they can use what they have already learned in a different way, or follow interests they never had time to before.
Don’t begrudge yourself the time to sort things out, it’s actually a precious chance to reconsider what you want. Maybe you didn’t fully have the chance to consider this properly before, maybe you didn’t really know yet what you wanted anyway. There’s always so much to be done when we are channelled through the education system, for example, or if you rush into a job or having a family. Think about it, life throws an awful lot of challenges at us, sometimes all at once. A young person leaving home, for example, going off to study or to a new job, is entering a whole host of unknowns simultaneously. You don’t even have your family and childhood friends nearby if you have moved away, so could be very dependent on forming new relationships, which puts a lot of strain on all concerned right from the start.
If you are the type of person who expects highly of themselves, or wants to prove to someone else that they can manage, then you tend to put too much pressure on yourself to perform and make everything work out. Really you should relax, and make sure you are happy, rather than try to aim for perfection. No one is perfect anyway, everyone has faults, makes mistakes, but it’s how they deal with it that matters. So called ‘mistakes’ often turn out to be learning curves in retrospect, but I know that doesn’t make you feel any better when you feel all bombed out.
Luckily for most of us those are not real bombs though, and one day we will be able to face the fresh sun again, and begin to look around at new possibilities. Meantime, allow yourself to dream of that day, and test out which direction you might want to walk in. But also remind yourself that it is okay to take small steps, so that you can find the best way forward for you personally.
You could take time to travel, to volunteer etc, to try out different places, consider various options. There is no need to rush. Explore, try things out, then decide how to create a new path that suits you better. You’ll be amazed at what power you can come back with!
By the way, apart from seeing your doctor, it is always a good idea to ask for help via talking therapies, and to consider your diet. If you have a nutritional imbalance this in itself can cause depression, and certainly make it harder to cope. See our article about this on our website, or on our other blog. Do try to accept help from others when it is hard to do things for yourself.