The last two weeks were rough for me. Although it wasn’t apparent on the outside, signs of a downward internal spiral were hard to ignore. My sleep increased as did my desire to be anti-social. I was overdue for a therapy session, and while church was refreshing, the inspiration faded before Friday. I felt isolated and under attack, but thank God for the friends who didn’t let me sink.
Facing pressure is inevitable. Between work and financial expectations, growing pains in relationships, and personal transitions, we can easily find ourselves internally burdened. At a similar point last year, I was in a month-long depression, but this time I was able to move through my emotions more effectively. Our ability to navigate pressure impacts our road to success. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed, but we can’t stay there. Here are a few strategies that help me.
Leave room for a lifeline. Both last year and this year my friends have assisted me through my depressive states. As much as I don’t want to talk it out, when pressed by friends, I erupt with emotion about everything I’m processing. I don’t facilitate these conversations, but my friends know me well enough to be intrusive when needed, and I am open enough to let them in.
Isolation is breeding ground for negative spirals. I know I need to talk when I’m caught up in my head about what’s going on. I usually address this by sleeping away the emotion, but if asked I will share that I’m struggling. If you find yourself anxious or worrying over possibilities, let someone in; we don’t have to suffer in silence.
Seek professional help. While my friends are helpful, they are not professionals and it’s not fair for them to carry my burdens. Our conversations often include questions about the last time I had a therapy session. I first went to therapy in 2016 because I was dealing with emotions I couldn’t handle on my own. My session was amazing, but because of commitment issues I didn’t go back for a year. I did however shift my perspective and utilize what they taught me to take action. Now, I go once a month (minus me skipping March) and being able to unpack the source of what I’m facing has been priceless, enlightening, and extremely helpful.
The stigma about therapy only fades if we are honest about the incorporation and impact of it in our lives. There is a counseling style for everyone, and the key is doing the work to find what works best for you. (I recommend my therapist to everyone!)
Feed your spirit. When I’m feeling anti-social, I’m more open to a passive word. In these moments I tune into an online sermon or a podcast, head to church, or read my Bible App devotions (I’m currently reading the Bible in one year). Somehow the messages I receive from these places often align with the advice from my friends and therapist. God speaks in a variety of ways and the confirmation always solidifies the direction in which I need to move.
Our friends and counselors can help with our emotional and mental states, but we also need spiritual grounding. That's a personal journey.
At the end of the day, pressure usually means we need to shift our perspective. Ultimately, we can’t do that without getting outside of our own heads. That said, regardless of what you are going through, take some time for yourself, then open up to receive the messaging and advice needed to be set up for success.