Blue Monday is typically the third Monday of January and is considered the most 'depressing day of the year'. But is 'Blue Monday' actually a thing? By saying we are 'so depressed' that Christmas is over, aren't we just trivialising depression?
Instead let's use the now-recognised day to create awareness and talk more about depression and mental health for those who have a daily battle and feel like they have no-one to turn to. The last few days I have seen many posts on social media offering a listening ear to anyone in need as well as asking people to share the post to show that there is always someone listening. Such a great point and an easy way to prove it - the power of social media is a wonderful thing!
Two years ago my 'Blue Monday' lasted for nearly 12 months and honestly it was the worst year of my life, for so long I couldn't see how it was going to get better. I didn't seek help for fear of being prescribed soul-numbing medication. I was already a shell of a person, how would that help me get back to 'normal'? I barely spoke to anyone for fear of being judged and also having to face up to what was actually going on in my head. For me, I was in a dark hole with no escape and inside I was screaming for help, but on the outside no sound was coming out. When I think back, I really wish I had been more open and talked to someone as it might have helped me sooner. But when you are having a daily struggle with yourself, you don't want to be a burden to someone else and it is much easier to say 'I'm fine' than to ask for help.
This needs to change. No matter who you are or what you are going through, there is someone who will help you, someone who will listen. As people, our lives are worth so much more than just giving up. As hard as it seems today, keep going, keep looking forward.
If someone you know is having a hard time, dealing with depression or other mental illness - be there. They need support and reassurance. Be the listening ear even when they don't want to talk. Ask them how they really are when they tell you that they're 'fine'. Be patient. There won't be a miraculous recovery overnight, it takes time and depression is not something that can be cured, it is something which most people face every day of their lives. Making someone a cup of tea, saying 'good morning', giving someone a smile - little things that could mean the world to someone else. That might sound stupid, but the little things that bring back a sense of 'normality' and show that there is a support system for your friend, partner, family member, colleague; they can be life-changing for someone who can't see the good anymore.
If you are the one dealing with depression, anxiety, mental health - keep going, you can do this! Seek comfort in your family and friends. Talk to someone, even a stranger. Sometimes it's easier to bare your soul to someone you don't know. It might be an ongoing battle right now but it will get better. It's ok to ask for help and it's ok to say 'I'm not ok'. Try and stay positive. Start by thinking of one positive thing that happened each day, write it down and remember it. Like I said, it could be a cup of tea your colleague made for you, the 'good morning' you received from your friend or the smile from the stranger on the train. 'Everyday may not be good, but there is something good in every day' - this quote helped me a lot. And remember, tomorrow is always a new day.
Blue Monday is just one day of the year but for some people this is their everyday life. Let's offer a listening ear or a helping hand to those in need all year round. Let's get talking!