Not being able to get out of bed or off the couch sucks. When a depressive episode hits, it can glue us to a horizontal surface and cancel out any energy we might have had to fight back.
Fortunately, we still can fight back. We are not helpless. Below is a trick I discovered that helps me get up when I’m depressed.
Another way to describe apathy is a subconscious freezing of emotions. It’s like trying to hit the “pause” button on life, to stop everything and exist in a state of nothing for a while. It is this instinctive desire to curl up and hide from the pain that paralyzes us. Not wanting to feel the pain backs us into a corner. To get us up and into battle mode, we are going to have to feel something other than the apathy.
Take a few seconds and wiggle your toes. Do it deliberately. Left, right, left, right. Think nothing can stop me from moving. Spend a few more seconds repeating this action.
Now, flex your feet. Feel the muscles and tendons shifting around. Keep the same rhythm that you created with your toes.
Move your lower legs, as if you are kicking up sprays of water.
Now peddle with your upper legs. Pretend you are stomping the ground with your feet.
Take a few seconds to feel how powerful your body is. You don’t have to move from here until you want to.
When you feel ready, kick your legs harder. Use the momentum to swing your body upright. Plant your hands on the bed or the couch. You did it. Despite the mountain of emotional pain, you sat up.
Let your feet hit the floor. Make a noise with them, if possible. Activate the muscles in your thighs, buttocks, and lower back. Squeeze them together. Stand up.
The next three seconds are essential. Feel your body standing up. Do something that screams in the face of the apathy – growl, stomp, fling your hands down, march in place. It might sound weird, but your body responds to these movements. You are breaking the paralysis.
Be prepared to feel some of the pain that you were pushing down. It might be anger, sadness, or another powerful emotion, but it is your emotion. You have been bearing many of them already. That takes a lot of strength.
Now celebrate!! Give yourself a fist bump. Do a victory dance! Depression did not win today. You did.
What do you need to do from here? What is one small thing you can do to take care of your beautiful self today?
*Note: This blog does not offer professional mental health advice. It is solely words from one survivor to another. If you suffer from apathy, please consider making an appointment with a doctor or mental health specialist. They are there to help you.