Wednesday, 20 January 2010

The day of the 'black dog '


I think it is fair to say that everyone has days where everything seems to go wrong, but sometimes you experience something that can't just be attributed to a 'bad day'. Winston Churchill described this as his 'black dog'. Many other famous faces have struggled with depression and it is an illness that can affect anyone and everyone.It can be triggered by the smallest (or largest) things but there are often triggers that you experience throughout your life, and if you can spot these, then you can often stop the depression before it has a chance to get a hold on you and spiral out of control.

Due to my overly emotional personality,and my tendency to worry about EVERYTHING, I have been prone to bouts of the 'blues' throughout my teens and now in my twenties. I can often be quite paranoid, something that isn't helped by my insecurity and complete lack of confidence. Some days I can be happy and relatively carefree but some days I just want everything to STOP. Brooke Shields described being depressed as "I just felt as though I would never be happy again, and as if I had fallen into a big black hole." If even famous faces who have the world at their feet feel down, then how can normal people expect to escape the clutches of the 'black dog'? I think there is a tendency with depression to keep it hidden away, perhaps with the hope that out of sight will mean out of mind, especially as a teenager. People can be very quick to dismiss it as a "phase" when you are brave enough to reach out and this causes you to keep it hidden even deeper. So what can you do? 

First of all, try and remember that it is NOT YOUR FAULT.Take a step back from the situation (I know this is often easier said than done) and try to calm yourself down. What has triggered your sadness? I find that when I get stressed about work or if I am ill, I am MUCH more irritable and prone to feeling down. It is SO tempting to just stay in bed or on the sofa all day but if you are doing something, you often don't have time to fret about what is worrying you. Obviously, if your essay or assignment is what is stressing you out, then it is a good idea to do this! Just not straight away. Have a bath or shower first. Wash your face. Weirdly enough, brushing my teeth always helps me to feel a bit more positive. Do whatever it takes to get you out of bed and up to face the world.

Once you have identified your triggers you can work out ways to circumvent or completely avoid them. For example, if you are having trouble with an assignment, go to your lecturer. If it's boyfriend trouble, talk to your friends. If your friends are the problem either try talking things over with them or just try and find some new people to befriend. Sometimes it can be easier to talk to someone who is removed from the situation as they can give you a more balanced opinion on the situation you find yourself in. 

Surround yourself with people that you love and trust. If you trust them you can tell them what you are thinking or feeling without worrying that they are judging you or going to think you are being stupid. Your friends are there for you when you need them...so take full advantage of their love and support. I am lucky enough to have my lovely boyfriend Mark and Danni to listen to me and to make me literally laugh myself silly. However silly my problem they are there for me and that is something I can't thank them enough for. My family are also there for me when I need someone just to talk things over with and nothing can beat a hug from your mum or dad!

The internet is your friend in this situation. Whether it is joining groups on Facebook or browsing pictures on We Heart It, there is bound to be something to cheer you up.

What are your tips for when you are feeling down? Do you have certain people who you confide in or turn to for help?
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