I never liked the idea of myself being emotionally compromised. But this is what I've been trying to get through for the past few months. Life in itself is pretty tiring; I have to survive, get a job and maybe polish the social skill that I barely have. I don't need to be pressured and overwhelmed by this intangible thing called feelings. I just want to undo things — just unfeel, you know? And sometimes, they fuel my depression and anxiety and that's not very good.
I have two best friends and they are the best girl friends I could ever ask for. I, too, have a very genuinely kind and considerate boyfriend who I consider my best guy friend too. I may not have a very supportive family but I have them — they mean a lot to me even if they are not perfect and they annoy the hell out of me from time to time. But that doesn't mean waking up in the morning (or in my case, afternoon because I'm still unemployed) gets a lot easier. It does not.
When you are depressed and you suffer from anxiety followed by frequent panic attacks, anything can serve as a trigger. Even your own thoughts — they are usually the ones that trigger my depressive episodes and cause me to always want to do one thing: detachment. It may sound like I'm running away my emotions and problems but I'd like to call it a break, a temporary getaway. There were lots and lots of time when I felt like I probably shouldn't have said some of the things I said, shouldn't have told any of my friend about my problem or my deepest darkest thought. There will always be that sense of guilt haunting me, that voice telling me that I should not have said anything, that I have disturbed their time by going on a rant about how sad I am.
So I choose detachment. I choose to detach, I choose to keep quiet and reduce the number of times I talk and reply to chats. I turn off notifications and take longer time to reply; I isolate myself and cry in silence. I know, I know — it's best to talk to someone especially to my friends, right? A part of me feels sick when I do that and a huge part of me hate and regret it in the aftermath. Yes, I am hard to myself but this is how I was bred.
Detachment is not easy either. There's always that urge to just spill everything to the people I trust, always that urge to go on and on about how shitty the day is. So why do I choose to keep quiet? Because I would regret it even more once I'm done going on a rant to my friends. It's the regret that will fuel my depression even further. It really is a loop mechanism. Besides, I consider detachment as taking a step back and enjoying my own me time which is what we all need. We need and should be given our own personal time and space, whether it's to relax or to assess and calm ourselves down.
When I say detachment, I don't mean to just disconnect from the world and space out. For me personally, I tend to do some things that can distract my mind off things, even if it's temporary. Here are some of the things I do that can calm me down, that can make me breathe a little better.
1. Listen to music.
I was at my lowest stage of depression recently, about two days ago if I remember correctly. I was spacing out on my bed and just feeling this tremendous chunk of sadness inside me that I didn't know what to do. And then it clicked — why not turn on Spotify and listen to some melancholic songs? I was browsing randomly and came across a curated playlist called Autumn Leaves, which you can listen here. The name itself made me think, what could be better for autumnal background music other than melancholic, heart-woven music filled with melodious and harmoniously cozy songs? I then clicked the playlist out of curiosity and found some of the best indie, never heard before music that calms me.
Although this is such a cliche tip — as how the other four would be, I admit — music does transcend. Some people think that when you're sad, you shouldn't be listening to more sad songs but what are "sad" songs, really? Mellow, indie and comforting songs are not always sad. It all depends on the kind of music you choose based on your preference. Some people need to listen to upbeat, catchy songs to lift themselves up; I, on the other hand, would have a major headache from them. There is no rule on music, you just gotta find your forte.
2. Read a book.For all the bookworms out there, go pick the book you have been neglecting or the book you have always wanted to read but always find an excuse not to. A book is one of the sweetest escape the mind could ask for. If you are not into novels and you prefer magazine, that's fine too — I do this too sometimes and pick National Geographic or Kinfolk instead of a novel. Just pick it up and immerse yourself in printed words written by others.
I also think it's alright to change your book midway. For instance, I was not in the mood for Agatha Christie's The ABC Murders, so I picked David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks instead. I personally think it's okay to get bored and have a sudden change of mood when it comes to reading. I know it happens to me anyway. To some, it may sound like a bad idea because I look like I have a commitment issue but I want reading to be fun and it's no longer fun if my mood for that particular book and genre is not there anymore — you get me? And I hoard books like I need water to survive.
3. Watch a movie or anything, really.Get that clouded mind some distraction by watching a movie — any movie. Are you into action? Go watch Matt Damon as the titular Jason Bourne, rewatch Simon Pegg in Mission Impossible or something. Are you into drama? Go watch that infamous 500 Days of Summer and sympathize over Joseph Gordon-Levitt or something. Would you rather watch TV series instead? That's cool too, Stranger Things is such a badass series from Netflix. Just put on your favorite movie or watch movies you've never watched before, no limitation.
My best friend told me once that when she needs a break from everything, she watched a lot of FRIENDS. I know a lot of people who love FRIENDS and I reckon it's a great series even though I have not watched past the first few episodes. I personally would watch animated films, lots and lots of them — Monsters Inc, Coraline, Rise of The Guardians... anything.
4. Sleep or take a power nap.Sleep is one of the best medicine, I kid you not. If it's not yet bed time, try to take a power nap for a few minutes because your mind needs the rest. I find that when I am in my detachment phase, my mind is so exhausted from being overwhelmed and clouded so I need to close my eyes for a few minutes, rest and hopefully, wake up with a better mood. Even though I said hopefully, this method has worked for me so far and it works for my friend too.
Also, when you want to take a nap, be sure to switch off notifications or your mobile network / wifi if you are someone who brings the phone to bed the way I always do. Make this step your "please don't disturb me for a while" phase because neither of us owe anyone anything and we should not ask permission if we need space for ourselves.
5. Play a game or execute your hobby.This fifth one is a rather personal choice. I love video games and I play them from time to time so when I'm in need of distraction or a quick and fun pick me up, I'd log into my Steam account and play something. I usually play single player games because games that require team up can be stressful sometimes, especially when you have to play with strangers across the globe.
But you can switch this step with any of your hobby. I know that not everyone is a gamer and I know that video games can actually cause them to be even more stressed. My point is, just do your own thing. If you like working out or going to the gym, go ahead and do it. If you are into yoga and meditation, do it. If you are into super long, 1-2 hours bath and watch bath bombs burst in your tub, do it. Just do your hobby and anything that suits you best. There is no one size fit all to this step.
So far, I always find myself going back to these five steps when I am in need of something to distract my mind off things. In my opinion, distraction does not always mean you are running away from problems; it's just something that you can do to let yourself breathe, let yourself pause for a while and actually do things for a quick recharge. Of course, problems don't just fade away on their own and feelings do not solve themselves but these are things that you can try doing for a temporal TLC.
Last but not least, I would like to say that this phase of wanting to disconnect is applicable to everybody. Just because I have anxiety and such doesn't mean that this only affects those who go through their lives hanging by the edge of a cliff. If you have never felt tired with the world, good for you; if you have, you probably know what I'm trying to say.
Have you ever feel like you're so tired of life that you just want to disconnect and detach for a while? What do you usually do during the process?
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