I sometimes get periods of time where I’m not particularly suffering anxiety or depression, but where I’m stuck in a rut somewhere in the middle, re-evaluating my life and unsure of why. I can never think logically about what to do – I can’t cling on to any sense of identity or concentrate on anything to take my mind off of it.
It is such a specific numbing feeling, and at the same time very blurred, making it completely overwhelming.
It’s a topic I haven’t yet found to be addressed from a mental health perspective, and I know various others who experience the same feeling. None of us have read an article about it before, and it’s time we did. To tackle this, I thought I’d really put my mind to the test and try to give some good ol’ agony aunt advice. Here’s some tips on what do when you’re feeling like a loose end that never ties up.
1. Talk to someone – whether it's over the phone, through a message or in person, sharing your thought-load with someone will take the pressure off you. I normally find that once I admit to feeling down or lost, I start opening up about it and there is a feeling of acceptance in the air. Leading me nicely onto tip numero deux…
2. Acceptance is one of the hardest things, but being aware that you are feeling a certain way can be quite comforting sometimes. I find that when I realise how I’m feeling and say it out loud, it motivates me enough to find a new spark of identity, or at least create some movement amongst my thoughts to think clearly. I believe that acceptance of a situation is halfway to recovery.
3. Change of scenery – moving somewhere new can do the world of good. If I’m in a cold room with no sunlight, I will tend to move to a warmer room with the sun shining in, and where I can cuddle my dog! I find that it allows me to be a little more comfortable, and I can then put more of my energy into thinking clearer and realising I’m not a lost soul.
4. Listening to music really can change my mood quite dramatically. If I want to feel more thoughtful, I will listen to calming music with honest lyrics (which also makes me want to write too!), and particularly if I’m feeling a little lost I will try to put on music that will either distract me or give me knowledge that I’m not lost and alone. A band that currently motivate me are The Lone Bellow – their music is a mix of upbeat feel-good tunes and story-telling ballads with a folk/country flair. Be sure to have a listen.
5. Make sure you have a network of people around you. Knowing you have friends and family supporting you will give you comfort if you ever feel on your own. They can distract you from your mind’s situation for a little while, or just cushion the blow when times are rough. And I know, times can be so frickin’ rough. You must also remember that pretty much anyone who is human will have a time when they feel lost or don’t quite know which direction to take. We lead vastly unique lives, however most of us will share the same feelings and similar situations. Stick together.
6. Schedule something in your calendar – don’t completely fill it as it will be harder to achieve. Just 1 or 2 things that will give you direction. The other day I went to the library by myself (a massive achievement for the anxious side of me!) and I really enjoyed scanning the array of books on every shelf. I borrowed a couple of books about writing, and also found myself drawn towards the photography section – a hobby I haven’t really touched for a good few years. This one hour of my day gave me heaps of inspiration, aspiration and direction.
7. Be mindful – go for a walk, exercise, meditate or be creative in some way. Painting is one of my favourite things to do as it feels incredibly therapeutic, and I end up focusing more on what my paintbrush is doing than what my head is doing! Yoga is also a love of mine – it gets the oxygen flowing, gives me space in my head, and tricks me into doing exercise!
Many of us will have ‘off’ days where we feel a little lost, but then some will go through long phases of ruminating these thoughts and feelings. Be it one day, a week, or several months that you feel this way, I hope you utilise these tips and get back to being the amazing, unique person you still are.