When you suffer from anxiety and/or depression, some days you seem perfectly normal- you’re swimming along and everything is just fine. Other days, you feel like a fish out of water- a stranger in your own body, and your mind has you convinced that you’ll never breathe easy again.
You feel alone, disconnected, and like no one cares. On those days, it can be hard to even get out of bed in the morning because you’ve got nothing to look forward to and everything seems hopeless.
Some days are high anxiety days when your mind is like a speedboat in a hurricane and you can’t stop thinking about all the things you did wrong, what’s wrong with the world and how there may never be a happy day again.
I’d like to offer something that at first may seem a bit unusual and counterintuitive. But it can help a lot to make you feel better, get out of your head for a while, reconnect with people, and experience child-like joy.
This summer, in the Time of COVID, instead of wallowing in the uncertainty and fear, I decided to try new things in an attempt to feel normal again. I began to think of things I had never tried that weren’t expensive or dangerous or required a special talent or ability.
My dad loves to fish. In all these years, I have not once gone fishing with my dad. In fact, I hadn’t spoken to him or my mom much since March as I was busy with work and trying to get through the days of panic and pandemic.
One day I asked if I could go with him the next time he was headed out to Lake Erie with his rods and reels. He immediately said yes and seemed excited to share his passion for fishing with me.
That first fishing trip, in June, was a learning experience. I’m not good at fishing, I don’t particularly enjoy putting bait on hooks or the monotony when the fish aren’t biting. What I did enjoy so much was the serenity of Presque Isle, the solitude of the early morning, the sunrise, Tim Horton’s coffee, and most importantly: spending time with dad while he was in his happy place.
A Catch 22
Connecting with others is crucial for maintaining wellness, but sometimes it’s the last thing you want to do. Being around other people when you’re in a dark place is a challenge because you don’t want to put your bad vibes on other people.
That’s the tough part of being someone who is always aware of what others are feeling. You know how hard it is to be around people who are panicked or in fear or angry or depressed, you don’t want to put that on someone else. You don’t want to be a burden.
But you have to get out of that space somehow to keep on doing your good work. You have to get unstuck. The longer you stay in a dark place, the worse it gets.
Hooked on Sharing an Experience
Being with someone who is passionate about what they are doing, can ignite your own passion. Taking time to be with someone while they do what they love makes them feel valued and cared for. It’s fun to be like a kid and do something new and it gets you out of your head long enough to let go of the anxiety and fear.
You don’t have to worry so much about your negative state because the person you’re with is focused on having fun and teaching you about their favorite thing. People love to share their passion with others. People love it when others take an interest in them. Accompanying someone when they are in their happy place creates good vibes for them and you.
Drop a Line and “Sea” What Happens
Contact that person you haven’t seen in a while since the quarantine. The one you really miss. If you don’t know what they’re into, ask them. Then ask to go with them the next time they do that thing. When you go, approach the activity with a child-like sense of wonder. When doing new things, kids don’t feel pressure to do it right and everything new is by definition fun. Be like that.
Comment and share that experience with us. Do it!
Here is the video I made to go along with this post