It’s a sunny day somewhere on a campsite in Italy and I am relaxing with some water, a bowl of fresh grapes and meanwhile listening to some music. This is my month, all mine, no work, but rebooting and regaining my energy. Here at this campsite it almost feels like a flashback. As if I am back on my bike and ready to saddle up tomorrow and take off to a new and unknown destination. There’s a book besides me on the table, half opened. A book about a young German adventurer who went for journey around the world with only 50 euros in his pocket. It is an inspiring story and in this relative quiet I am more perceptive to other things. It feels good to read such a story. Cycling, as you can understand will always be important to me, I feel as if I could leave again in a minute.
The last couple of days the feeling wanting to write blogs again is growing stronger. I am looking forward to it again, just like when I was on my cycling journey. Why?
Especially because it is helping me too. I feel more relieved when I write, I literally use it to get over stuff. I can read back what I have just written and that helps me to move on as well. I also want to start writing again because people increasingly ask me why I don’t write anymore. And I get questions about my blogs being inspiring, open and right on target, when will I start writing again? In the reactions I got after publishing my stories I noticed that many of my issues or problems or obstacles or however you want to call them were recognizable for many people and offered familiar circumstances for them. Many told me that they encountered the same situations in life. All in all, there are enough reasons to get behind the computer again and show myself like that again in the months to come.
The last year has been a personal rollercoaster. I got off my bike and started out in the Dolomites, fell in love with Italy and the mountains and decided to take another turn in my big adventure of life. Another step into the big unknown. It offered me so much new inspiration, different influences and especially those other surroundings. Being in such a new environment also gets you in touch with new, until then unknown persons. That doesn’t always happen easily, I know by now that wherever I am it is a good thing to connect to people and get to know them. It is essential for my way of life as well, I can cope being on my own, but I can really enjoy being amongst people too.
Another remarkable thing was that it brought me back in touch with some old acquaintances. Long live, applause to the technology. Mostly people my age, the same generation. And it was especially them because they needed me. Whether we like it or not, some of the most recurring subject of our conversations are stress and depressions. It is actually quite hard to find out how many people are fighting these symptoms. I get a lot of messages from old colleagues and old friends asking to visit me here in the Dolomites because they really want to escape for a little while. Or sometimes unfortunately because they were already burned out and weren’t able to go to work or do anything. It is shocking and very confronting, I know this is a problem, but then you hear all those people close to you that suffer from it too. That is difficult.
And weirdly enough it feels nice as well in a way. You might think what is he saying now? Yes, nice, nice for me to know that I’m not alone in this, I’m not the only one that is struggling with the way of living nowadays. Noticing that there are others that sometimes lose the purpose or focus of their lives. To me that also feels like I am most definitely not the only one. I reckon I have always been open about this and so this time I will write it down as clear and evident as I can. I too have days of waking up and thinking about a reason to get out of bed. Why will I do anything today? Days that are really hard and don’t offer me a way out of the tangle of my negative thoughts.
Depression? Is that it? To be honest I struggle with my feelings about 50% of the time and I can’t always find the sunny side of things and therefor live in a gray and dark world at those moments. Everything appears to close in on me, all incentives of modern day living, the influences of social media, false versus real. The influence of climate change and whether we are able to change anything about it is something I wonder about a lot. Or the way in which we live and how having a normal social life has become living alongside each other. Or the pressure of achieving everything we put upon ourselves and sometimes on others as well. Sometimes I really hurt and then I can slide into all kind of negative strains of thoughts. And nowadays I know and understand that I am not the only one.
If you’re expecting me to offer you a solution to your depressive feelings and how to deal with them in this blog then I really have to prepare you in order not to get disappointed, but I won’t be able to provide you with that solution. However, I can tell you how I do things and experience it all. I am able to get out of the negative string of thoughts and I have noticed that there’s something that I can do myself in order to get better. The problem isn’t solved that way. I am still trying to find a solution, a real one, that can make sure it won’t return. The most important thing is, I think, that we are not afraid to talk about it, thankfully that happens more often. Mental awareness is gaining a place in our lives and it is embraced in the process. The negative aspects as well. For now, the solution appears to be not to be ashamed about your feelings and not being afraid about talking about our mental state or resistance. I have noticed that when you can talk about it to each other and help each other in this process that this helps you to cope with it better. It has helped me a lot in the last few years and I’m sure it can be an important step into the right direction by just starting to talk about it.
One of Buddha’s quotes is; ‘no one saves us, we all save ourselves’. I think we should interpret this in another way. Just read it as being meant in the plural sense. We save each other! We help each other through the hard times and of course there’s some truth in eventually having to admit whether we’re going to save ourselves or will be saved by others. But why isn’t it possible for us to not be there for each other just a bit more? With that it is important to accept it, to accept that it might be a nuisance from time to time and fight it but continue from that state of acceptance.
I have accepted that it apparently belongs to me to have negative feelings from time to time. And believe me, that has already released so much of the pressure. I don’t fight it anymore and because I’m not trying so hard to suppress them and accept them for what they are I learn to understand them better and crazy as it may sound, this helps me deal with them. I can almost see the added value of them. I am smiling a little with writing this down. This almost sounds as if it is something really positive and yet that is true. I am no longer afraid to say out loud that since I accepted those negative feelings, they are less extreme and now that I’m thinking about it, they are less common as well.
So, don’t hide those feelings, give expansion to your emotions and feelings and talk about them, find people who understand the things that are happening and with whom you can talk about it. Take enough time and space for yourself. The space is something you claim too by starting to talk about it. Just do it, you have a right to that time and space.
And for me, who knows, maybe I’ll just be less feeling down half the time and I profit from feeling much better a great deal of the time. I continue working on not having it taking the lead, but just to participate, especially by thinking of myself as just fine, with or without the depressive feelings every now and then. This way I am telling myself the most important thing and that is that is okay not be okay every moment of every day.
So come on, don’t be afraid to tell everyone and accept it; it’s okay not to be okay!
Whenever you need someone to listen, a firm hike or maybe two, combined with talking about your experiences and sharing them, you’re most welcome!
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