When my depression was really bad, there were days when I mentally struggled to get out from under the duvet to even go to the loo, let alone brush my teeth.
I would have to talk myself into moving my foot to just start the process of getting out of bed, whilst trying to ignore the craziness in my head that spoke to me of all the dangers I might face and be completely overwhelmed by. Many times I only moved when I was absolutely desperate.
But that’s the thing about us, a lot of the time we have to be desperate to make a change, especially when it comes to mental illness. We hide under the metaphorical duvet ignoring the building pressure until we have to do something about it or we end up making a mess.
I made a mess. Not the extreme mess of suicide but I was broken and unable to help myself.
I started on my road to recovery by just moving my foot. I made an appointment to see my GP and went forward from there with the support of my family and friends.
It sounds simple doesn’t it? But if you’ve experienced mental illness or know someone who has, you’ll know it is anything but. It boils down to trying to get through one second at a time, one minute at a time. After a while this may change to one hour at a time, eventually it becomes one day at a time.
The more you come out from under the duvet, the easier it becomes. Every time you choose to do this you start building resilience, the mental muscle that helps improve your coping mechanisms and in addition, the more you move, the more feel good chemicals are released in the brain.
I began to move and improve. Some days were really difficult but the improvement gradient was upwards not downwards any more.
I’ve realised a lot in the last 18 years of my recovery:
You need to move as much as possible, every day
Do not have expectations based on what you achieved the day before
You have to try
Celebrate the achievement, big or small
Although I no longer consider myself a sufferer of depression, there are days when I use the ocean as my duvet. I go under the surface and hang there, hiding from the world. I get a recharge of my brain and soul through being embraced by the peace and beauty of the ocean. I’m effectively moving my foot, pulling back the duvet and I return to the surface better able to cope with the rest of the day.
The road to recovery starts with you just moving your foot, every day.