HOW TO GET WORK DONE WHILE LIVING WITH DEPRESSION

Like many people out there, we discover later in life that we didn’t learn the first thing about ‘living this life’ while in school. When we’re younger, we take many things for granted, the friends we gave, family, resources, the happiness and many other things. As we grow, we start seeing, experiencing and learning things we didn’t while in school. And learning is an endless process.

One of the things I’ve come to learn personally is that in life, not everything can go my way. In fact, I’ve learnt that most things will probably go astray and that’s part of life. It’s very normal. We are living in difficult times. When I scroll through my Instagram, I only see happy posts, success stories! And one may get the impression that every other person out there is living happily but that’s not the case. No one takes pride in talking about or exposing their failures. But the truth is, at one point or the other, sadness and depression creep into our lives. And no one talks about it. And when it does, it comes in the way of our daily routines. But that shouldn’t be case.

I am not a yoga guru to know everything about turning depression into happiness. Nope. I’m not. Like many of you, I’ve learnt about the issue by actually living and experiencing it. After all, experience is indeed the best teacher. I’ve developed personal techniques that have helped me go through my depressive episodes to the point where I am able to keep afloat whilst living amidst a storm and here they are; (Hope you have a pen and paper coz we are going to learn)

  1. Understanding your situation
  • Many people tend to confuse sadness and depression. It all depends on your definition of the two anyway and for most, it narrows down to the same thing. I beg to differ. In my opinion sadness is more of a short term thing whereas depression is more of a long term thing. And the effects of the two follow much the same trend. Sadness will affect you on the short term whereas depression will affect you on the long term. But prolonged sadness can indeed lead to depression. So before you diagnose yourself as depressed, it is very important to understand whatever your situation is. Is it simply sadness or is it actually depression?
  • It is also very important to understand the root cause of your sadness and or depression. I can’t fully answer the ‘how’ question though. Personally I always have my moments of self-reflection or meditation so as to figure this out. And to fully understand why I am sad or depressed, I write my feelings down. (I’ve learnt that journaling is very useful) And when you write things down, do not sugar coat them. Write the truth about how you are feeling. Write down why you are feeling that way. And by so doing, you sub cautiously develop a deeper understanding of your situation, its causes and how it’s affecting your life.

 

  1. Accepting your situation as the reality.
  • Living a fantasy is one common reason why many people’s depressive episodes last longer than they should. Failure to accept your depression, your sadness and or its causes is probably why you still feel that pain inside. ACCEPT that what happened indeed happened. Living in denial holds you back. It stops you from getting work done. It is what keeps you in bed all day. It keeps that pain inside alive longer than it should have. So every time you face a depressive episode, accept it as a reality. And remember that much as it is a truth, it doesn’t define you. And it doesn’t define what the future holds for you. You define that.
  • “How do I ‘ACCEPT’ my situation?” one may ask.. Well, I can’t tell you 100% how to do that. Like I said, there is no school that teaches us certain things. We only learn them by living certain situations. I can give you tips that I have personally developed and that has worked greatly for. Remember that life is ‘trial and error’.
  • WRITE; Write it down. In-fact, write everything down. Write down your feelings, your plans (Long or short term). Literally write down everything. It enables you to accept the reality. Write about your depression until you get to the point where you can explain it to a 9 year old kid and they understand it. When you do so, it means you have moved from the point of defining your situation as ‘complicated’ to a point where its easily understandable. It shows that you have accepted most of it. Here is an example of an entry in my personal diary on 11th March, 2019

“The thought of smoking has overwhelmed me!! The temptation to smoke as a result of the continued —*not clear*— loneliness!! I won’t let it overwhelm me. I shall fight the good fight”

Here, you clearly see that I know and have accepted that my loneliness is making me sad.

 

  1. The Importance of time. Give yourself time to feel. (MUST BE COUPLED WITH POINT 4)
  • It is NOT PERMANENT. Always remember that whatever you feel isn’t permanent. It doesn’t last for eternity. If you’re sad and or depressed, and its taking longer than you expected or longer than it should to fade, then you probably didn’t give yourself time to feel. You have to learn to take in the sadness. Physically cry if you feel like. When we feel things, we are easily able to let them fade you. It is probably why the intensity of the love in relationships fades. Just like love, sadness and depression are all feelings. The intensity of these feelings varies over time. Love only fades over time because we allow ourselves to feel it. Therefore, we ought to do the same for depression and for sadness. We have to let ourselves feel them.
  • But what happens when it doesn’t fade? Well, the truth is even when it doesn’t fade, you learn to live with it! All biological species possess the ability to adapt to changes. With time, your body can adapt to living amidst the sadness and depression. This is not something we love to hear but it’s the truth. It is easier to get work done when you understand all this. This is the importance of time. Give yourself time to get to this point.

 

  1. During this time, develop the hunger to grow.
  • The time you give yourself to feel should also be the time you develop the hunger, the need to become a better version of you. You have to learn to turn your emotional turmoil into a driving force for growth. There is no defined formula for all this. You learn it by living it.

I recently bought a camera, a Nikon D3500. When I told a close friend about it, she said, “Solomon, you are trying too much. You just can’t be everywhere. You can’t be a nerd and ‘not a nerd’ at the same time”. Basically she was referring to the fact that I sort of have a mixed up personality and that I have many interests, photography being the newest she was getting to know. I told her most things I do are simply because I want to add value to myself. And if to her that showed someone who was “Trying too hard”, then, I was proud to be that person. The desire to do everything I do didn’t come from my comfort zone. I developed all this from my depression, from my sadness. And that is something we all can do. We can turn our depression into a hunger for growth. Strive to learn new things. Search for knowledge. Do the small things. Something       as small as waking up early! WAKE UP! Get the f*** out your bed! In fact, the first to having a good day is waking up. You can’t have a good day in your bed however rich and successful you are. We are talking mental health here not success. If you want to slip out of sadness and depression, You have to wake up, both literally and figuratively. Eat healthy, Plan your day (WRITE). I’m not going to tell you which activities grow you because only you know the things you have always wanted to do so wake up and do them. And by doing those side activities, you will develop the mental strength to get your work done.

 

  1. The Work Part

At the end of the day, it all comes down to this part. How can I increase my effectiveness at work/School yet I feel depressed or sad? Well, truth is not every day is going to be a Sunday. Some days will obviously be better than others most especially if you are living and working with depression. But if you have followed all the above, then over time you start feeling better and can actually function normally. But when that fails, you still have to get things done no matter what most especially if you have responsibilities.

  • WAKE UP! I can’t stress this enough times. You can’t get anything in your bed. That should be quite obvious. But on top of that, you have to wake up EARLY. This will help you set the temple of your day.
  • PLAN the day. I always have my days planned. Most especially those whereby I know I have to get work done. Plan even the smallest of details.
  • Don’t let social media fool you. Instagram stories, posts, snaps and what-not shouldn’t make you feel bad about yours situation. No one is willingly going to share their depression because we are ashamed of it. We all are. When the worst gets to the worst, avoid it completely.
  • Invest in your appearance. Look good. You develop the confidence to actually live the day and get things done
  • Stay away from people {By people I’m not referring to family and TRUE friends. I’m referring to acquaintances and other people we simply “know”. The “hi-bye” kind of people (UNPOPULAR OPINION-)}.
  • Every time I check my old diaries, I realise I have more entries on days where I had more social interactions. This is mostly so because I tend to write more when I’m sad. When you are depressed, there is a very big chance that people worsen it so avoid them all in all. At least for the time being. Remember that it won’t last forever. Give 100% of your attention to your work and not to people.
  • At the end of the day, write your achievements, your feelings and your plans for the next day. Before you sleep, remind yourself of your value. Encourage yourself as much as possible to feel good. Be sure to go to bed early enough so to be ready for the next day. Get enough sleep.

The thing about emotions and feelings is that there is no defined formula with which we can understand them. For example, I don’t understand the first thing about love which is embarrassing given my intellectual capacity. But like I said, we learn ‘Life’ by living it. I have learnt to live and get work done with sadness and depression only because I’ve experienced it. I hope to develop an understanding of love one day, how the rules of attraction work and many other things. For now, I simply live life and share the things I learn on my journey. Always remember that you are the master of your fate. No one and no situation determines your destiny. I really hope this helps you all. And even if it doesn’t, at least always remember that you are not alone.

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SOLOMON

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