Sometimes, you never know how deep the hole can go. I never knew it either, but apparently, when you think you are really depressed and you can’t go any lower, life says: “you know what? Let’s go 3 floors lower.” What I would love to do, is to escape the recesses of my own mind. The birthplace and labyrinth of new ideas and new creations, but also my worst enemy as well. Introversion is a personality trait for some people, and they like it this way, but I think introversion has turned itself against me.
Whenever I am alone, my mind feeds me with memories telling me how worthless I am, how pathetic I am, and how much of a loser I am. I am also not the kind to cry in front of a psychiatrist or a psychologist unless I can’t control my tears. Somehow, I always manage to regain my composure in front of them, until very recently. I also tend to make very vague postings on social media. While I may sound like a self-entitled whiny brat, I don’t feel comfortable exposing myself to the whole world. It makes me feel vulnerable and naked actually. And I don’t like to be vulnerable and naked and exposed.
Maybe one day when there is more acceptance in this world, more love in this world, things will change. I have been telling my friends with depression to try to distract themselves with activities, but I realise, its really hard when you feel that you can’t concentrate on anything, and you would do anything to get away from your own mind. That’s especially when you are not in crisis mode yet, but you need somebody to talk to, but there’s nobody there. People might call it hobbies, or interests, or be going for a hike etc. But I call it distraction-because whenever I am doing one of these things, I end up forgetting about my problems temporarily. Sometimes, CBT and mindfulness might not work that well for me, so this is what I try doing. But I am not a therapist, and I can only offer suggestions, and it has worked very well when I can still function. That’s because I am a highly distractible homo sapien. YMMV – your mileage will vary.
Disclaimer: This is not a substitute for proper mental health care. Taking your medicine, if necessary, having a therapist to talk to, and learn coping strategies, is important. When you are in crisis mode, its best to call one of the hotlines or go to the hospital.
So I have offered some suggestions on what activities you can do to distract yourself:
I usually end up playing a lot of online games whenever I feel quite distressed and miserable. I am a loyal fan of Runescape, with animated 3D worlds, many quests, many events and many skilling activities. I have a clan, with a tier 7 clan citadel, and my clan organises events regularly, and it’s quite an active clan. Other games you can play might be casual games on Facebook, or maybe some flash animation games on Miniclip. Some people choose to play MapleStory, World of Warcraft etc. It’s up to you, but it has to be a game that you love.
- Watching cartoons or movies
Watching re-runs of SpongeBob Squarepants usually help me. SpongeBob is hilarious, and stupidly optimistic as well, which makes it a joy to watch. Coupled with his best friend Patrick, the two make an intriguing and beguiling pair, as they end up destroying Bikini Bottom with their childish antics and their idiocy. Perhaps sappy romantic comedies might help as well, but probably those of a positive nature. Avoid those about breakups, or anything that is triggering.
Outdoors and others
Go out of your comfort zone, try something new that you have never tried before. It can be cable skiing, water surfing etc. Or maybe kayaking or canoeing. If you are ready to up the ante, try skydiving or something more adventurous. After all, YOLO-you only live once.
Book a karaoke session with your friends, and sing your heart out. You get to release your pent up energy and frustration and hone your vocal chops at the same time.
- Join an interest group
There are some meetup groups you could join, from café hopping meetups to language exchange meetups. The range of activities is so diverse, that the sky’s the limit. If you are not comfortable with joining an interest group, you could always look for a support group in your area to join, and you might find things in common with other members.
- Take up art classes or preferably those with art therapy
Perhaps you could ask your psychiatrist for a referral to art therapy services, or join some art therapy classes conducted externally. Creative mindset, Brahm Centre come to mind. I am not affiliated to any of them, so you will have to call them and ask. Taking art classes organised by non-VWOs/MH organisations will be fine as well. It teaches you how to be mindful, and in the present, as you can’t have any thoughts on your mind when you are focusing on your masterpiece.
They say that animals are good therapy for the soul, and I couldn’t agree more. Personally, I really love kittens. They are so cute and furry and full of unconditional love. Cats, whether stray cats or those from pet shelters, can be quite affectionate and loving as well. They would brush their bodies against your legs, purr when you stroke their neck, and they would let you give them belly rubs.