When I was getting ready to move, I knew one of the things I would deal with would be feelings of sadness. Isolation. Loneliness. Homesickness. Being-a-crappy-writer-dom. I’m also a really emotional person, so I know when I do feel like this I’m going to feel it in my whole body and if I just let those feelings fester it’s going to consume me. I have always lived with other people so I’ve almost always had someone to turn to when I had those feelings. But even though knowing those feelings were natural helps, I still found myself unprepared for pulling myself out of the rut when I get in it. It’s not enough to acknowledge my pain… I must transcend it. And here’s how I do that:
- Self-care: easily the most important thing I can do. If I feel like a disgusting human being incapable of stringing two sentences together, not taking a shower or eating vegetables isn’t going to help. It feels like giving myself the day off but what I’m really telling myself is that I’m not worth it. Um, excuse me? Yes, I am. I shave my legs, feed myself real food, and clean my apartment. Because I owe it to myself to be the best roommate in the world.
- Go outside: along the same lines of self-care but slightly more social. It’s not even about talking to other people, just reminding myself I’m one soul in a sea of billions and the air is crisp and Pret exists. It’s what separates us from the Matrix-dwellers.
- Buy a candle: or flowers, or a picture or any small thing that perks your living space up. Being a writer with ADHD who can’t write anywhere near other people means I’m in my flat ALL. THE. TIME. So if I have to shut myself away to write those last three pages of a script, I need to do it in a room that smells like I’m frolicking in an apple orchard someone set on fire with cinnamon sticks.
- Arrange to Skype or physically hang out with someone: a lot of the time, my loneliness isn’t a product of being alone in that moment, but not knowing when that moment’s going to end. Even if I have to wait a week, knowing I get to see and talk to someone I love is all the encouragement I need to perk up.
- Go somewhere I haven’t been: I don’t know if you know this, but London is HUGE. I don’t know if I could learn this city if I stayed here a lifetime, let alone the measly two years I’m here. My Pinterest board has helped immensely, but I’m always taking recommendations! (*hint hint*)
- Talk to a counsellor or religious leader: my school has a great mental health centre and I’m not ashamed to say I’ve taken advantage of it. Even if there’s nothing “wrong” with you, talking to someone objective and trained in the art of listening can be a great way to sort out the reasons your feelings have taken a downward turn and how to identify triggers.
Of course there are lots of little things I do, too, but these are my big, sure-fire ways of picking myself up. And sometimes I just have to remind myself:
If none of these are an option for you and you need help right away, you can call Samaritans at 116 123 in the UK and (212) 673-3000 in the US for someone to talk to 24 hours a day, confidentially.