Help! I Wake Up and I Hate My Life
Waking Up to Reality
Have you ever woken up from an amazing dream only to face reality? I have. In my most recent dream, I was moving my belongings out of my storage unit into a modest townhouse. The house had an urban view off the patio and was situated in a beautiful suburban city.
The dream quickly transitioned into a winter wonderland. Icicles were glimmering in the sunlight and I could hear snow crunching beneath my feet as I toured the landscape. I hadn't seen such natural beauty in quite a long time and I felt like I was home . . .
I woke up to a 5:45 alarm on a Saturday. My partner was getting ready to go to work and was hurrying around our cramped apartment that we share with his parents and sister. My dream was still very fresh—I knew we couldn't afford the dream home, I hadn't been out in nature much because of working nonstop, and to top it all off, I started to miss my dad who had passed away several years ago.
Why does all this matter? The moment was pretty sobering.
You Choose Your Reality
As much as I hate to admit that I wanted to wallow in my sadness all day . . . and trust me I did for a good 10 minutes . . . these thoughts also came to me:
- It's okay to feel this way
- Stop believing social media
- Time to get real
- There's a way out
- I need to make a change
- I am in control of my own destiny
- I make my life choices
- I have a lot to be thankful for
Why Am I Depressed If My Life Is Fine?
It's Okay to Feel This Way
No one is required to be happy 100% of the time. And if you feel really sad, low, or depressed, you have a right to feel this way. But the big question is, do you want to feel this way?
No "Shoulds" and "Shouldn'ts"
It's hard when people tell you to just change your perspective. It doesn't work like that. Don't let anyone tell you "you should" and "you shouldn't" (unless this is what you want to hear). This goes for your own self-talk. If your brain is telling you that you should "do this and that," cut that word from your vocabulary. You're self-inflicting guilt. Use words like "it would be nice if." Stop pressuring yourself.
Stop Believing Social Media
If you are a social media user, it's time that you take off those rose-colored glasses. Social media is staged. It's a carefully curated lookbook of a person's life. [Most] people don't post pictures of themselves when they are pottying every day like a normal human being or carrying their laundry basket while wearing sweatpants or cleaning their toilet or scraping gum off their shoe.
I know you already know that "social media is fake." But do you really remind yourself of that? People take photo after photo to get a perfect image and perfect angle. Did you ever hear about former IG model Essena O'niell? She started calling out her own social media campaign by revealing how fake everything was. A lot of people attacked her for it, and many celebrated her honesty.
Take a Break From Social Media
I recently removed my Instagram app from my phone temporarily. Going a week without checking Instagram was relaxing and made me more present. When I logged back on I didn't find it to be as stimulating as it was previously.
I encourage you to consider a social media detox. Social media is designed to get us addicted via short-team dopamine feedback loops. An article published by Psychology Today talks about an interview with former Facebook exec Chamath Palihapitiya. Chamath explains how social media is tearing our society apart. Could it be tearing you apart?
Video: Social Media, FOMO, and Depression
Am I Depressed? Do Other People Feel This Way?
Stay with me here. We will talk about how you can be grateful and still be depressed, but let's just get in touch with reality for a second.
Time to Get Real
Many, many, many people experience depression. I know what it's like to have a broken heart, work a job that is unfulfilling and stressful, lose someone, stress about money, stress about body image. It's time to get real. Let's have a real conversation with ourselves right here, right now.
Do You Have Shelter?
If yes, you're lucky. For added perspective, an entire town in California burned down in November 2018. 80+ people died, around 1,000 are missing, and thousands are homeless. Not only did these people have to survive the blaze, but they are enduring rain and winter weather in their cars and tents. Many of them are older, too. Can you imagine?
Can You Feed Yourself Every Day?
If you can feed yourself and your family every day, you are lucky. If you are suffering with body image, get help. If you are obese, start the change now and enlist in a program or work with a life coach. If you have an issue with emotional eating, know that this is often triggered by trauma, loneliness, or anxiety. Get help! Don't suffer alone. Easier said than done, I know, but start small.
Are You Okay Financially?
Social media has created a false reality for all of us. Few people can travel all year long and not work. Many people work two jobs and barely get by. It's a sad state, it is, but if you are surviving, you are thriving. That's probably not what you wanted to hear, but 1 billion people live on less than a dollar a day! Can you imagine?
Are You in Good Health?
The answer to this question will vary for everyone. Good health is dependent on diet, exercise, lifestyle, and stress level. If you are mobile and independent of devices or medication for your health, you are lucky!
I once lived with a woman who was on an oxygen tank. Everywhere she went she brought it with her. She was always at home resting and could not get overly exerted yet she was always smiling.
I Feel Stuck. How Do I Stop Being Depressed?
There are four rules here:
- There's a way out
- Make a change
- You are in control of your own destiny
- You make your life choices
It's important to really take these four items seriously. For one, anyone can make a change. Anyone. If you are tired of being stuck in a small town, save up 600 dollars and fly to California and work at a hostel or start WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). If you want to live in the snow and be a ski bum, apply to work at a major ski resort.
If you are in an unhappy relationship, get counseling and get real. If you have kids, think about what would make them the happiest but also what would make YOU the happiest. If you are tired of the people in your life bringing you down, stay away from them and take a break. If you are tired of cleaning up after your kids or your husband or your wife, stop. Hold them accountable. This is your life to live, and anyone who is causing you pain, suffering, abuse (mental, physical, emotional) needs to go and be held accountable.
You are in control whether you believe it or not. If you are unhappy about your weight, be conscious of the fact that you are the one putting a hamburger or cookies in your mouth or gaming all day. If you are broke, get a job . . . or get a better job.
If you are a U.S. citizen, be THANKFUL for what you have. People die every day trying to obtain that blue passport you have sitting around in your room that you might be taking for granted (really!).
How Do You Want to Live?
Look at yourself in the mirror. Ask yourself, "What do I want out of life?" You need to manifest your destiny. I did. I was really unhappy at my former job. I worked it for years and was stressed, tired, exhausted, and over it. I used to tell my partner, "Gosh, it would be so nice if I had a job like ____ and like ____." My wishes came true!
Start envisioning yourself living the life you want to live. We hear stories every day about people who fell into celebrity, woke up and made a change, followed their dream, lost 100 pounds, left their abusive spouse and moved abroad on their savings. You can, too.
Be Thankful but Keep It Real and Authentic
Yes. You can still feel horrible, but acknowledge that you have a lot going on for you. It's not as bad as it seems. I know, however, that if you are suffering from depression and neurochemical imbalances, it feels impossible to pull out of a slump. Remind yourself that perhaps the next day you may feel different, even if for a window. This isn't your "forever" or it doesn't have to be . . .
Don't be shy of seeking help from a therapist. There are a lot of centers that offer free support to individuals who are low-income. Seriously consider finding a support group. Do it for you, not because I told you, but because you deserve it.
Little by little you will start to feel different. Change is gradual and not instantaneous. Start small and think big. I recommend trying one thing at a time. For people suffering from depression, one thing at a time is an excellent way to start. Here are some ideas:
- Day 1: Take 20 minutes to walk outside and stay off your phone, be present.
- Day 2: Take a 30-minute bath or rest in your bed for 10 minutes with soothing nature sounds.
- Day 3: Look in the mirror and say something kind to yourself.
- Day 4: Nourish your body with a colorful, natural meal.
- Day 5: Spend a little extra time on your appearance and go run an errand.
- Day 6: Take 5 minutes in the morning to meditate, pray, or contemplate what makes you happy.
- Day 7: Take 5 minutes in the morning to envision and manifest your desired life path.
Practice and repeat. Best of luck on your journey.
For anyone who is experiencing abuse, financial hardship, major depression, or is having suicidal thoughts, seek out help and support right away. You are not alone!
© 2018 Layne Holmes