Portfolio of Hope

When I find myself in a depressed state, one thing that I do to make myself feel better is to think about all the things that get me excited about life.

I understand that when you’re feeling depressed, it can be quite difficult to think about times when you feel anything other than low, but force yourself to really look within. Consider the activities that make you lose track of time, the things that you could quite easily spend hours, if not days, doing. The activities are likely to be different for everyone, but you shouldn’t let this phase you, for as long as it makes you happy and doesn’t harm yourself or others, then you should definitely be sure to keep doing it!

If you’re struggling to pinpoint what it is that gets you excited about life, it can be useful to think back to when you were a child. For me, when I think back to my childhood, I smile in memory of the excitement I would feel on a Friday afternoon at school, knowing that I would be going home to a weekend stretching out in front of me. And I think about the sheer excitement I would feel on the days leading up to my birthday, or Christmas, or Easter, basically any ‘occasion.’ I would feel just about ready to burst with anticipation for the next day to come around.

Whilst the majority of adults don’t get quite so excited about these things anymore, there is still excitement to be had. If you don’t consider this to be true, believe me when I say that I am not lying. You just haven’t found the source of your excitement yet, that’s all, but when you do, you will have a whole new positive outlook on life that will push you through the challenging times.

The best way to find your ‘thing’, is to start trialing out different activities. There are so many things you can do, from gardening to greyhound racing, fishing to football, so you are sure to find a hobby that gets you excited. It might take you a while to discover your passion(s), it might not, but the fact is; there is something out there for everyone, and you, you wonderful human, are by no means an exception to that.

In terms of what gets me excited? Well, as of late I have been struggling with my emotions. I have been lacking any real, and certainly any long-lasting, feelings of happiness or excitement, with the negative feelings influenced by my depression taking over me. I have, however, been actively trying to remember what gave me the good feelings when I was in a better place, so that I can cling on to the things that make me feel good.

The problem with depression, amongst all of the other dreadful symptoms, is that it can make you lose interest in everything, including the things which you previously enjoyed. It is for this reason why people with depression often stop partaking in their hobbies, and might even ‘pack them in’ for good, even when their depression has subsided. For me, it is important that I remember my hobbies, the things I genuinely love to do, so that I can continue to engage in them not only when I come out of the other side of the hard times, but when I am actually going through them, too.

When I am feeling myself, I naturally gravitate towards activities that allow me to be creative. I love decoupaging, card making, scrapbooking and collage making. And, of course, I love writing.

Whether its because I feel ‘undeserving’ of having fun, or depression convinces me that there simply is ‘no point’, it can be difficult to find the motivation to engage in such activities when I am struggling. I therefore have to make a conscious effort to do the things I enjoy, such as crafts and writing on a regular basis. I have to push myself to pick that pen and paper up, even when my mind is telling me its the last thing I should be doing. I have to accept that my mind doesn’t always know what’s best for me, and it certainly doesn’t when it is tainted with the unforgiving grip of depression.

The reality is, taking part in the activities which you enjoy is in fact the best thing that you could possibly be doing. It is a great use of your time, because it will help you to feel better, and surely that is something that we all want? I know it is certainly something that I want, hence why I am writing a new blog post every day, reading every night, and trying to express myself creatively wherever I can. I know that it is these things that make me feel good, and since that is my aim- to ‘feel good’- I am setting aside time each day to do said activities, even if its just for 10 minutes. Out of a 24 hour day, 10 minutes really isn’t much, but it can be enough to take you from a place of feeling utter misery and despair, to a place of hopefulness and contentment. So, there really is no better use of your time. Get doing the things you enjoy, the things that make you ‘tick’, and experience life for all that it is- a gift.

I hope that this post has encouraged you to reflect on your personal situation.

How are you feeling today, really?

When did you last feel really ‘good?’

When did you last feel really ‘bad?’

What activities make you feel good?

Ask yourself these questions, answer them honestly, and transform your whole approach to life.

Be prepared to experience excitement again.

Be prepared to live again.

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