It’s all about baby steps, you can’t fix everything overnight.
Towards the end of 2010, I was trapped in the throes of one of bipolar disorder’s famous mood swings. One week I’d be high as a kite, thinking I was as mighty as the Lord in Heaven, and the next, I’d be suicidal. On one of my worst suicidal days, I found myself standing on the side of a street in the pouring rain, readying myself to jump in front of a speeding car.
At that point in time, my life was a disaster. However, I managed to get through it, and come out the other side happier and healthier than I’d ever been. The tips below helped me do so, and if you follow them, I’m confident that you’ll be able to get through your own crisis too and come out thriving.
Know your reason to keep on fighting.
As someone who’s been richly blessed, I’ve always felt that it’s my duty to help those less fortunate than myself—and in the end, it was having this purpose that stopped me from jumping in front of one of those speeding cars. To quote a passage from my memoir:
Regardless of how depressed I feel right now, I thought, I know that I’ve been tremendously blessed: with a loving, supportive family; with First World privileges; and with the opportunity and the ability to do whatever I want to in life. Regardless of how I feel right now, I have had a lot bestowed upon me, and I have to use my good fortune to help others who aren’t as immensely privileged as I am. If I kill myself, [my charity] will disband. All the philanthropic work I’d planned on doing will never get done. I’d be abandoning all the people I have the capacity to help. And no matter how much pain I’m in I just can’t do that. To whom much is given, much is expected. I can’t kill myself. Not now, not ever.
My passionate desire to help other people gave me a reason to keep on fighting when I felt like giving up—and if you have a reason to keep on fighting, it’s amazing what you can actually get through.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
After I’d decided not to jump in front of a speeding car, I voluntarily checked myself into a psych ward. It was the best decision I’ve ever made, and I left feeling infinitely more stable than when I’d arrived.
Many people view asking for help as a sign of weakness, but that doesn’t make any sense. Quite simply, if you want to get through your crisis, it’s just the logical thing to do.
Do your best to maintain a positive attitude.
I’ve never met anyone who’s gotten through a crisis and come out flourishing the other side who didn’t have a positive attitude. The way I managed to maintain mine was by continuously reminding myself of all I had to be thankful for—such as the fact that I had access to professional help, and a great family who supported me no matter what.
Do your best to enjoy the little things.
If you can pepper your life with small daily pleasures—such as a walk in the park, your favorite flavored ice-cream, or your favorite television show—it can make your crisis much more manageable, and remind you that there’s still beauty and enjoyment present in the world.
Learn everything you possibly can from your crisis.
When you’re going through a crisis, it’s prudent to take the time to work out what you could do differently next time to try and prevent whatever you’re going through from happening again. If you do so, history’s much less likely to repeat itself.
Take things day by day.
Recovering from a crisis doesn’t happen overnight. Even after I’d gotten out of the psych ward, I had to invest a lot of time and effort in myself before I could call myself “happy” again—whether that was in the form of going to therapy, reading self-help books, or living an active, healthy lifestyle. In this way, finding happiness again after going through a crisis is a marathon, not a sprint. So instead of trying to achieve the impossible overnight, take baby steps each day so that before you go to bed, you can say to yourself, “today, I did something to recover from my crisis”.
If you can say that every night, then you will recover in time, and reunite with happiness on the way as well.
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If you enjoyed reading this post, you may also like Danny’s book titled “MY RECOVERY BLUEPRINT – How I overcame depression in three straightforward steps and how you can do the same.” Grab your copy from Amazon here.