Forgive yourself. – By @Mr_Shankly

Forgive yourself.

Dear Scabber, I’ve committed that most human of sins.

I’ve not listened to my own advice.

2 months ago (or 2 hours, in Corona-Time), upon entering lockdown, I wrote the following:

“Stretch. Dance. Meditate. Be mindful. Do body scans. Make playlists with songs that make you feel happy. Calm. Read those books you forgot about or didn’t have time for. Take the time to deeply connect with your loved ones. Don’t forget to breathe. Deeply. Use social media sparingly and wisely. Turn on notifications of accounts that give you strength. That educate you. That inspire you. Mute Piers Morgan. Go inwards. Feel your emotions. Sit with them. Don’t judge them. Don’t block them. Spend time writing about them, about you, your life. What you love. If you feel like it, your traumas. The things you still have to shine light on within yourself, in order to move on. Your dreams. Your goals. What do you want from this life? Take more care of yourself. Take time to go through the routines you normally go through for self-care. Take care of your surroundings. The space you live in. Make it more calm. More beautiful. More worth living in. Take the time to learn to cook new recipes. Write. Philosophise. Ask yourself deep questions that you normally don’t have time for. How can we make the most out of our time here? How can we make the world a better place from now on? Do these things because you deserve it.”

I started off with the best of intentions. I really did. And kept it up. Until a few days ago. In those couple of days, I’ve taken less care of myself than I deserve. 

Not in terms of what I’m doing; I’m still exercising and cooking and watching and reading. But I’m not switching off. Being kind to myself.

Maybe we’re becoming less forgiving of ourselves as this interminable lockdown begins to ease and some semblance of normality forms around us.

But I’m treating those activities that I should be using to renew and replenish to instead ponder and thick and re-think and re-re-think. Like my subconscious has said ‘right, that’s enough of that, I’m throwing my brain power behind more ‘useful’ things again’. 

And it’s left me feeling very flat.

So instead, where I was going to write a blog exploring cognitive biases and what they mean for advertising (zzzz), it seems fitting (or darkly ironic, you pick) on the first day of Mental Health Awareness Week that I use this blog to put into words my take on that invisible intruder that 1-in-4 of us will wrestle at some point in our lives: depression. 

Here goes.

It’s being defeated by the complexities of the day before you’ve opened your eyes in the morning.

It’s wanting to escape but knowing you’d have to bring yourself with you.

It’s thinking this would help but suddenly finding it self-aggrandising and wanky.

It’s wondering how on earth all these people have got it together when it’s taken all your strength to get out the house, and STILL, your legs feel like lead.

It’s not being quite sure whether the song you’ve just put on is about to make you laugh or cry.

It’s learning to trust yourself again.

It’s sitting in a sunlit park and sobbing into a scarf.

It’s when signing in with the first letter of your surname and day of birth at the doctor’s surgery feels like answering the final question on Who Wants to Be A Millionaire. And that question is inexplicably written in Russian.

It’s glimpsing in someone’s eyes what they see in you. And not letting that go.

Ok that feels a bit better. But if you take anything from this, please listen to how you’re feeling and be kind. And I’ll promise to try and do the same.

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