Riding the Waves
When everything is pretty busy, both professionally and personally, it can feel like you’re surfing the top of an enormous wave. It’s exhilarating, you’re motivated, the rush can be incredible.
But what happens when the wave crashes?
It can be difficult, especially for those of us prone to depression. For some of us the crash is from the sheer overload of juggling too much or trying to cope with too much at once. For me personally I go into an emotional overload, all my doubts, worries and fears gang up on me at once until I feel like I’m breaking inside. In that state, my depression manifests itself, tearing apart any sense of self I have. I can feel like I’m drowning.
For others like Alex, there is the void. The empty, nothingness that strips him of emotion and motivation. In his post The Harrowing Void , Alex talks openly about this aspect of his mental health. As someone who has witnessed him in this mental state, it’s hard because as his friend there is very little you can do. It seems like they’re stranded in a cold, dead calm. Shrouded in a fog that prevents them from seeing or hearing.
Trying to force someone to feel or regain their motivation from this state is never going to work.
What you can do, is be there. That’s it. Just be there. If they’re receptive, give them a hug. Talk to them. Or sit in silence, whatever they need. The act of just being there is more important than you realise. The void can be particularly insidious as the sneaky thoughts of self harm can start skittering in, it doesn’t take much to tip the void into the crushing darkness.
Finding the Balance
That’s the tricky part, isn’t it? If you’re on a mental knife edge already it doesn’t take much to fall off into the abyss. It’s easier said than done to stop it before it happens. But there are things we can try if we spot the early signs.
If you’re like me and go into emotional overload, then finding time to yourself can be helpful. It’s ok to take a relaxing bath or just lie quietly if that’s what you need. Alex’s podcast episode Practise the Pause is particularly good to listen to if you’re in this particular state of mind. (I was in one of those states last night and listening to this helped bring me out of it and allowed me to get to sleep)
If you experience the void my recommendation is find Something to Hold Onto, look to the things that normally give you joy and happiness. It will take time and you may not just switch out of it straightaway, but you will come out of it!
It’s the little surfboards of survival like these that help us ride the waves and get us to shore instead of going under. We just have to keep surfing.
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