I had some intense dark times in my life. Times when I didn’t know how I was going to make it out alive. Below is a list of items, people, moments, that kept me going. Things I remember often. Things that when I find myself turning to a dark place, I go to. These are reminders. These are breathers. These are the reasons for me to keep going. I included affiliate links to some of the products that I have included in this article.
1 – Dresden Files Series by Jim Butcher
I remember coming home from college depressed. It was winter break. I did not want to do anything that month. Leaving my parent’s house seemed impossible. I had this book on my shelf for the longest time. You see, I use to want to be a monster hunter. I picked up a book about a wizard in modern day Chicago. The book was called “Storm Front” by Jim Butcher. Because I didn’t have the energy to do anything else, I picked up the book. I ended up reading it in a day. I only left my house to purchase the next two books in the series to read. Since then, this series has been a lifesaver since that moment. When I was struggling with anxiety and depression in Peru, I continued reading the series. I always go back to this series. His struggles. His humor. His journey. It’s all something that I can’t help but identify with his story.
2- Old Friends/Family
Something I can usually count on is old friends – well a few of them. I have certain friends that stick by me always. Friends that I may not have talked to in forever. I have one friend who I haven’t spoken to in person in years, but she’s currently one of my favorite people to discuss my struggles with and vice versa. My family is the same way. I’m lucky to have some people in my life that I know are stable. Having people who are stable in my life, keeps me stable in a sense. When I find myself going dark, I have people I can depend on. When I feel as if I’m alone in the world and I’m a burden, I have people to tell me otherwise.
I’m not sure what it is about puzzles that calm me. Maybe it’s the concentration. Maybe it’s creating something. I think it’s the concentration. It’s the solving of it. I can solve a puzzle. I can put it together. I can get it to look the way it’s supposed to look. I can’t always do that in my life. The concentration helps distract me from whenever my anxiety and depression take control. I buy big boxes of puzzles when I know it’s going to be a rough week. When my life feels out of control, I can control solving puzzles.
I ran cross country in high school. I was never a star at it. I was usually in the middle of the pack. That was always fine by me. I took a few years off after high school, well nine years to be exact. I started running again recently. This past winter, my anxiety, and depression became bad. I came home, and I didn’t do much. I mostly wallowed. Running got me back into doing something. It got me outside, breathing fresh air, and a runner’s high. It felt good. I felt accomplished. I continued running. Every time I felt anxiety or depression taking over, I would go for a run. Three miles up to seven miles. I found it was exactly what I needed to release pressure in my mind.
5- Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
I purchased this book around Christmas time this past year. I was having an incredibly hard time. I felt distant from my family and loved ones. I was crying in my apartment. I got this book for Christmas. I started reading it Christmas Day. I finished it the next day. Honestly, this book touched my heart in so many ways. I wish I could explain. Matt’s story. His words. Everything in it is perfect. I gave it to my boyfriend to read so he could understand what I was going through more too. This book saved my life this winter. It gave me hope. It gave me courage. I go to this book when I need hope. I recommend this book to anyone who is struggling.
As you might have guessed, I write when I struggle. Every time I feel myself being consumed with anxiety and depression, I write about it. It’s my release. It helps me dissect what I’m feeling and why. It also helps me to share so that others will feel less alone as well. I also have a notebook for collages. I take pictures from magazines and paste them together that represents a quote that I identify with it at the moment. It’s just another way to release what I’m struggling with at that moment. Sometime’s what I’m feeling I can’t put into words, so the collages give me another outlet. I have a particular notebook for that and one for my writing. It’s my creative space when it all feels too much.
I recommend to everyone to reflect on their life, and see what has saved your life. Take record of it. Notice it. Embrace it. Make a list of it. Share it. These are what saved my life. I’m sure you have your own things that saved yours, that are probably a lot different than mine. Maybe some of my lifesavers may help you, and maybe some of yours may help others.