If you’re like me at all, you’re plugging away, feeling fine, getting stuff done…and then one day you wake up and it’s a Dark Day. You’re depressed for no specific reason (because for those of us who get depression, you can do everything right—exercise, eat right, serve others, pray, take your meds—and you still can get depressed. It sucks, but there it is). So on those days, the bad ones where all you want to do is stay in bed and read or eat a bucket of ice cream and binge watch Netflix, what do you do? What’s that one thing that you still do regardless of how you feel? Do you do yoga? Read? Call a friend? Volunteer as the soup kitchen?
Me, I have a few things that I do regardless of how I feel. Honestly, I’m not sure how I find the willpower or energy to do them, but I do. Maybe the habits are so ingrained after years of practice that they’re as natural as breathing. Maybe it’s because I know they bring some light into my life, and during Dark Days, any sort of light is critical.
I always, always, always run, pray, read the scriptures, and hold my hedgehog (the last one is new from the last few years). These things provide a few necessities: physical relief, spiritual guidance, and love. I can’t stand the way I feel if I don’t run. Unless I’m sick or dying, I run; 6 days a week I run. That physical outlet is so, so necessary to my happiness. Likewise, when I’m depressed, I need to feel closer to God, not less, so I don’t neglect my scriptures or prayer either. As for Lizzy, my sweet little hedgehog, she brings a unique joy to my life. She’s my baby. Plus, hedgehogs are very solitary and naturally curmudgeonly; if they don’t get human contact daily, they start to become super-grumpy. Holding her is important for the both of us.
So those are my one thing, the lifeline that keeps me upright during the dark days. Do you have a one thing? If you do, hold on to it regardless of how you feel. All you need is one thing at first. Then you can find another thing. It can start with exercise or prayer (or going to work or reading to your kids). Then that one things might expand to include eating healthy (and not bingeing on ice cream during that bad times). Maybe eventually depression and Dark Days will barely affect your life; it’ll be there, but you have risen above it. I pray you rise above it; I’m trying.
Rise, my friends.