After spending two weeks sulking in bed, depressed, hating everything, the day came when I had to go visit my therapist and I was terrified of finding myself outside in public. Worse, in the library of the language institute where I studied french, where there are people, teachers and friends, I could potentially run into. But, the appointment had to be kept and I had to spend some time at the library waiting for my parents and so there was no way out.
I did not know how all this would go down. Two things happened which I think helped me get out of the hopeless mood I had been in. First, instead of avoiding meeting one of my friends who works there, I decided to go see her. I talked to her for a good ten minutes. I could not be all sulky in her office setting and talking to a person after two weeks wasn’t that bad. I did, on the contrary, avoid talking to one of my teacher I heard in the corridor. I wasn’t feeling up to talking about what I was up to with my career etc.
Then, I went to the library (which is my favorite place) and started reading a few books here and there. Nothing too seriously, although I should have been looking for research material. Just moving between the shelves and taking out random books seemed to lift my mood. I didn’t meet anyone and had some quite time with the books.
It was lunch time and I did not feel like going into the canteen where there were way too many people, it was noisy and I was not feeling up to it. So instead I did the second thing which helped me a lot. I went into the very beautiful garden which is situated a stone’s throw away from the institute and I walked around. Now, I have been going to this institute for four years and never did I notice that there was an entrance so close by. This short walk in nature seemed to have changed my mood completely. I took in some deep breaths and I started feeling alive again (and I am not overstating, I was feeling like dead person on the inside for days on end). It wasn’t too crowded and the smell of the fresh grass was lovely.
I even took a picture! I mean I actually bothered to open my bag, take out my phone and take a picture.
The point of my recounting all this is that by staying indoors we tend to stay in the same mindset, doing the same things over and over again (lying in bed mostly) and we lose perspective and we lose sight of a life which can exist outside of our depression. And the more you stay inside the worse it gets. The prospect of going outside becomes a challenge and we avoid going out all together. What going out does is shifts our focus away from ourselves for a while, away from the negative stuff. It’s a welcome change.
What I was fearing as would turn out to be another bad day actually turned out to be a day that made a huge difference in how I was feeling. It redirected me towards hoping for recovery. Since that day, I have started going on evening walks to our neighborhood park and what’s even better, my parents go with me. I actually look forward to going outside as I’ve been inside all day and it makes me feel energetic afterwards despite the heat (it’s near 35 degree Celsius where I live, peak summers). Plus there’s always the satisfaction of doing something good for your health.
Now I do realize that I wouldn’t be going into very social situations which would require too much contact, but rather more solitary kind of things, but that’s the first step. Just getting outside even if it is for a 30 minutes walk on your own. I know it seems difficult and you’re not able to convince yourself, and it just seems too hard, but give it a try. It might just be the thing that kicks out some of the negativity inside our heads.