How do I feel this week? Or, more specifically, this exact moment as I’m writing this article? Crummy. Or, as my California-native hallmate would say, out of sorts. See, being out of sorts can mean a lot of things. Maybe you’re homesick and you really just miss your mom’s taco bake and lounging with your dog. Maybe you’re sitting at your desk and praying for some almighty muse to enlighten you on what you should write your theology paper about. Maybe you’re so overwhelmed by school or work or just life that you physically cannot move from your bed.
No matter what it is, we all feel out of sorts sometimes. For some of us, it’s nothing a cozy blanket and a night-in with your hallmates can’t fix. But for others, it’s a little more complicated.
For some, getting out of bed every single day is a struggle. Finding the motivation to drag yourself to the library is a struggle. Studying for that big test next Tuesday, even if it’s just 30 minutes, is a struggle. And not in a, I-Can-Do-It-If-I-Just-Force-Myself-To-Focus, or a Just-Pull-Yourself-Together-And-Get-It-Done kind of way. It’s a I-Mentally-Cannot- Do-This-Right-Now kind of way that fuels procrastination and, by default, anxiety.
So, think for a moment that you’re in bed and you want to get out of bed and go for a run, or finish your flashcards for Spanish, or do your laundry, but you can’t because you’re tied to the bed. You really want to do these things, but you just can’t. Not only do you feel unaccomplished and unproductive, but you feel bad for not doing what you know needs to be done. There’s this gnawing in your chest, this nagging ball of stress and panic building, but you just can’t get up. You can see everyone else getting out of bed and going for runs and finishing flashcards and doing laundry, but you’re still tied down by some invisible rope that’s so constricting your head might explode and your chest might concave and you still can’t move.
That’s what depression feels like. It’s this huge weight that bears down on you, day after day. It keeps you hunched over and dragging, like a prison weight is chained to your ankle. You can’t always get going, and when you do, it’s nothing short of an uphill battle. Against Hulk. With a cannon.
So when you’re feeling out of sorts and you can’t fix it with Netflix and a fleece throw, here are some things to try, if only for lack of something better to do.
- Call home. For me, nothing helps better than calling my mom or my sister or even my grandma. They’re all great sources for inspiration, if only to remind me that I’m capable and most definitely NOT defined by a bad quiz grade or two (showering with compliments is their specialty).
- Compliment someone else/Pay it forward. If you see someone wearing a scarf you like, tell them. If you think their shoes are killer or their eyebrows are slaying, let them know. I love watching someone’s face light up after complimenting them- it gives me perspective knowing that they could be going through exactly what I’m going through and that I could possibly turn their day around.
- When in doubt, write it out. Want to tell off your roommate? Still upset about something that happened 3 years ago? Feeling some sad Coldplay lyric-mimicking poetry? Have a professor you’d like to have an uncensored conversation with? Write. It. Down. Sometimes just seeing it written or typed (so you can trash the evidence easily) helps to show that you felt it, you thought it, and now you can move on from it.
- Talk to someone. This seems like the first thing people say to you when you’re feeling out of sorts, but honestly, talking to someone can really help. Whether it’s a friend from home, a hallmate, or even an unbiased counselor, it can help immensely when you have a thousand thoughts running around in your head. Let some of it out and don’t be afraid to admit you need a little help.
- See a professional. If you’ve tried the above suggestions and nothing is hitting home with you, talk to your doctor. Telling someone you’re not okay can be terrifying, but it’s better than wasting away inside your own head. Sometimes feeling out of sorts can be caused by things completely out of your control, such as the chemicals in your brain. And believe it or not, doctors can help with these things. And chances are, you’ll feel at least a little better knowing that there is an explanation. And where there’s an explanation, there’s usually a solution.
So this winter, I want all of you Hanoverians to keep warm, take care of yourselves, and always remember that you’re not alone. Go Panthers!
Over and Out,