Coping with depression: leaving the house

When I am really low and depressed, I don’t want to leave the house. I want to curl up in a ball and hibernate in my cocoon: my bed. I feel safe there. But the trouble is, the longer I shut myself off from the world, the worse I feel. At the moment, I haven’t left the house for 3 days. And I feel in a very dark place. So today, I am going to leave the house. 

The last time I left the house I had a crisis that resulted in me phoning the Samaritans. I felt exposed and vulnerable and very worried about what my brain was willing me to do. So I can understand why I’ve kept myself home for three days: fear. As much as depression shouts “I want to die”, Kate shouts back “No I don’t! I want my life back!” If I stay home any longer, it won’t matter that I’m afraid of being outside of my safety zone, because I can feel the depression gripping me tighter. So I will leave the house today and here’s why:

  • My cocoon is not safe – hiding from the world is not mentally healthy behaviour. 
  • Leaving the house and getting fresh air is uplifting. 
  • Being outside gives me other things to focus on so my thoughts are less insular. 
  • I will feel like my day isn’t wasted.
  • I won’t feel trapped by my own brain.

The last 2 days, I’ve showered, dressed and put make up on but then not felt able to leave the house. So this morning I’m making it much easier. I’m about to sling some joggers and wellies on and Boo and I are going to walk up to the woods to find muddy puddles. I don’t need to worry about using the car. I don’t need to worry about being seen and having to talk to people or feeling judged. Boo will have a great time which always lifts my mood. 

So, yes, for me, leaving the house is really important in fighting depression. But I’ve been setting the bar too high thinking I could manage big family days out. A short walk sounds manageable and I’m looking forward to it. Fingers crossed it will help the storm cloud dissipate a little too … 

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