The past few days I have not been myself. I have felt down, and just about everything has felt a struggle. At the time, this annoyed me – I was beating myself up over it, frustrated that given all the political events and horrific events happening in the world, I should be here feeling low. Well today, I changed that. I trained, I ran and I thought long and hard, and decided; “you know what? It’s ok to not be ok”.
I am not a fan of labels, but depression is one of those words that can’t always be avoided. Everyone will know someone who has suffered, and it’s ever more in the public psyche. Alongside anxiety, rates are rising, and more and more people are finding it harder to control. I have remained fairly open about my past; although I avoid the labels (as I think by labelling something we are turning it into a ‘thing’, making it harder to overcome) I have had my moments of being down and anxious. I have worked hard to overcome these, and through a healthy lifestyle and training I am now at a point where I can honestly say I am happy. However, just a few days ago, these old demons found their way back. That black dog I thought was long gone was hovering around again, and it made me quite frustrated.
First things first; we can chose how we feel about something. We always have a choice. Always. And this extends to our emotions; we can choose how we feel about an emotion. For instance, if you’ve ever watched a sad film and had a good cry, you know how that can sometimes feel good; although you are upset, your meta emotion (meta meaning ‘above’) is happy – you are feeling happy about the fact you are feeling sad, as it’s actually quite a relief. Similarly perhaps you feel happy over something you know you perhaps shouldn’t, and so feel guilty or annoying that you feel happy. You can choose these meta emotions; you can chose how you feel about a feeling. At the time, I felt annoyed that I was sad, but have since realised I can simply change this. Being sad is part of being human, and it serves a good reminder of how far I have come, so instead of feeling annoyed about it, I will instead be grateful for it.
Yes, the black dog came back, and tugged on that lead a bit. But that is no bad thing. For anyone who has been through depression or anxiety, those feelings will likely stay with you for a long time. That black dog will continue to hang around a bit. However, you are now in control – you have taken control of this dog, put it on a lead, and don’t let it just scramble all over you. Having it there is no bad thing. Its presence can remind you of your journey, of how far you have come. If it tugs on its lead now and again, let it. Give it a bit of attention, and then carry on as normal. Yes you will experience those feelings now and again, but that doesn’t mean you are weak or haven’t recovered; you are simply human and experiencing emotion.
Yes I feel down from time to time. Yes it can be rubbish. But you know what, it’s ok. It’s ok to feel sad. Feel it, and then move on with your life. Emotions are there for a reason; they allow us to experience the world. They only become an issue when they control us. So next time you feel low or down, actually feel it. Allow it to be there, experience it, talk to people you love and then move on. Don’t beat yourself up over emotion, as its ok to not be ok.