To me, the worst part of living with depression and anxiety is akin to having a horrible monster chained up in a closet and doing the best you can to keep it locked up but every now and again, it breaks the chains and gets loose. You never know when it’ll happen, but you can sort of feel it coming on. There are signs and sounds and everything seems off. You do your best but sometimes, that’s just not enough.
The monster gets out and stomps around your life, making a huge mess of everything, until he’s done. The worst part, besides having to clean up the mess, is not knowing exactly how long he’ll throw his tantrum. It could be a few days, weeks, or months. You do your best to subdue him but usually, it doesn’t work. You just have to let him have his way.
It kind of sucks.
That’s what this whole 31 steps series was about. This series, at its core, was intended to provide actionable, easy steps to follow in order to improve your level of happiness. I designed it because I’m tired of people saying “choose happiness” and then giving zero direction as exactly how to do that when choosing happiness is what you’d like to do but just cannot. Because depression is a huge asshole that strips you of your ability to make that choice.
It’s a thief.
It’s the jerk friend that you want to get rid of but who doesn’t take the hint.
It’s the monster on the loose.
And these steps are intended to help you fight the monster to the best of your ability. Fight him before he gets out, fight him while he’s out, fight him to get back in the closet. But keep fighting him. Use everything you have. Don’t give up.
You will win.
Which is why today’s task is about continuing to build ways to win your fight. And the task is two-fold: the first part is to commit to keep working on ways to feel happier. Just like on the first day you committed to follow this series to the best of your ability, today I want you to commit to keep it up. That’s all. You don’t have to commit to doing it every day but just promise yourself you will keep working on it. The more tools you have in your arsenal to fight the monster, the better.
The second part of today’s task is to write your own list of steps you can take to feel happier, even when you’re at your worst. Keep the steps simple, easy, and actionable. And practical. If you’re in the thick of a depression, it probably won’t make you happy to run a marathon. It would probably make you happy if you could just get out of bed and put on your running shoes. So focus on that step instead.
And remember: not every day will be perfect. You will have your bad days. You will have the days where you want to sleep and cry and be left alone and not have to face anyone because you just can’t. I hate those days. Those days are the worst. And it’s okay to have them. But remember that they go away. They get shorter and lessen in intensity. Things get back to whatever normal looks like for you.
I’m not saying it’s easy. Because it’s not. It takes work–lots and lots of hard, excruciatingly painful work. But you’re worth the effort.
Never forget that.