Everyone deserves support and recovery whatever their trauma is. Babies cry because to them their world is ending; being older we know better but that doesn't invalidate their feelings. Same for your own trauma. Maybe it isn't as big as a dramatic life event a friend has or you get told "someone out there has it worse" - your feelings still matter and they impact you.
In these situations I'll take it a day or even an hour at a time. When like this, it's okay to let some things drop. Maybe the bathroom won't get cleaned today, or you'll skip your friend's housewarming party tonight. Our brain chemistry may not be where we'd like it to be which limits the ability to do normal things, let alone help ourselves get our of our pit. Maybe it's depression, anxiety, a shock event, trauma - they often cause negative feelings, but they're valid feelings.
The following is a checklist inspired by the popular Everything is Awful and I'm Not Okay post and is modified for what fits me. Feel free to look at the original post for what that might suit you. For me, this is all about the little wins.
- Are you hydrated?
If you haven't had water in awhile, go take even a sip now. Try turn that sip into a gulp. But even if it's a sip, you're winning.
- Have you eaten recently?
Maybe it's afternoon and you haven't had breakfast, try go nibble at something. For me my guaranteed meal is hapankorppu (a Finnish rye cracker) and an apple. Light liquid meals also can work for me and sometimes I'll let myself somehow buy a fruit smoothie or grab a small pottle of yogurt. Both will at least give some energy and nutrients. Eating anything even if it's small, is winning.
- Have you showered in the past day?
If not, go take a shower if you can muster it. Don't even worry about properly washing, even a rise will help out a lot.
- Have you moved in the past day?
Sometimes we get stuck in bed or sitting on the couch with no energy or brain chemicals to get us to feel okay. Try get up, put some shoes on and head outside. Around the block, or even to the letterbox is good if that's all you're up for. Bonus if there is some sun, get that on your skin and maybe just look out as far as you can for a little. Outdoors is a great way to get some of the good chemicals going even a tiny bit.
- Have you had any physical contact in the last couple of days?
See if you can get a friend to head over, or better yet, go visit a friend. If you someone living with you, see if you can grab a hug from them. A pet is also a fantastic option.
- If you have medication for this, go take some.
A fun saying I see is "If you can’t make your own serotonin, store-bought is fine".
- If you see a therapist, try to organise the next appointment
Or maybe this is a chance to see one for the first time. If you have an inkling about going, just head on in if you can. When picking one and their descriptions don't sway you to one or the other, just pick the one you think looks the friendliest - we're interested in moving forward so anyone is probably better than no one for right now. Later on we can refine who it is once we know a little more.
- Did you dress today?
Throw on some daytime clothes, we can sleep in and roll in bed for awhile, but once we're up we should change into some day clothes. Even if we aren't going to go outside today.
- Try doing something
If you had that walk earlier, fantastic job. If not and you're not up for it, that's cool too because we can do other things. Common ones would be cleaning a room, cooking a meal, writing, drawing, playing games with friends online, reading or anything else that might be easy to grab onto. Often in these times we don't feel like doing much at all - even hobbies we really enjoy. But if you're up for it, give it a try. This post you're reading was written during one of those times.
- Is sleep not coming easy at night?
This is a big one for me. If I'm doing nothing all day due to a depressed mood, I still have unspent energy by bed time and my brain doesn't switch off. Even if I'm tired I'm not sleepy. Give what you think is a good go at trying to sleep and if that doesn't work out, give yourself permission to get up or do something. The bed will always be there and it's cool with it if you aren't ready for sleep yet.
In rough times, we might need some little rays of sunlight even if it's out of character. For instance, I'm not big into cute short comics, but sometimes when going through it, I like to look at ECKYO's comics. For example:
Or being a millennial entirely on the internet, sometimes I need a very well drawn down to earth bird to relate to:
My favourite line I use to get through life, and it's almost Buddhist, is:
Sometimes it do be like that.
So today might suck, and tomorrow might suck. Maybe there's not much we can do right now. Maybe we have to rely on time passing, which sucks too. But what we can do to help ourselves is accept the situation for what it is; know it's gonna suck and do the best we can day after day. Even if our best isn't much right now, it's still winning.