The Downward Spiral

Have you ever experienced what is referred to as the downward spiral? Urban Dictionary describes it as:

This term describes a depressive state where the person experiencing the downward spiral is getting more and more depressed, perhaps due to causes unknown. It is called a downward spiral because there is no way to stop it, it’s just going to get worse and worse… until the person crashes, and maybe finds their way back to happiness.

Today was a tough day at work – potentially enough to put me into the downward spiral. I was there last week – didn’t get out of bed except to go to the bathroom – for about 3 or 4 days. It’s hard not to blame yourself. “Snap out of it,” people used to say to me before I explained it very logically:

Think about it. If you had the choice to be depressed and in bed for 3 days, or living a meaningful happy existence, which would you choose?

I call myself a high-functioning professional living with depression. This article from Forbes articulates some of what I do to survive, including the ‘fake it until I make it’ mentality. That is one of the hardest things to do when you feel worthless. It also talks about goals, which I find helpful with therapy. Set small, attainable goals.

178336931.jpgI’m terrified I’m heading back into the spiral. I’m trying everything I can do to prevent it. I feel like I was walking along when I suddenly came across a hole in the ground. I fell into hole and now I’m hanging on with one hand, trying desperately to get my grip to pull myself back on the flat surface. The flat surface symbolizes me living my life; the whole represents the spiral. Before I lose my grip and fall into the abyss, what tools can I use to pull myself up?

  1. Talk it Out:I have a wonderful person in my life who constantly reminds me to be kinder to myself, which leads to #2…
  2. Take Other People’s Criticism with a Grain a Salt: Remember to not allow other people’s opinions of you define who you really are. I learned this the hard way at my last job, which leads to #3…
  3. Be Kind to Yourself: As humans we are full of flaws, but we are also full of wonderful qualities. Don’t beat yourself up and catastrophize things to the point where you end up on the bottom of the whole without tools – ladder, etc – to help you out.
  4. Self-Care: Do something nice for yourself. Get a manicure. Read a good book. Go to the movies. Call your mom. Write a blog post (ahem, see what I did there….)
  5. Remember, tomorrow is a new day.: Sometimes a good night’s sleep can help.

Loyal readers, wish me luck powering against the spiral.

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