Mental health and wellbeing matters: getting through a dark day

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This time in our mental health column: a few words on the struggles of a difficult day, and trying to find our way through them.

Hello, and a very warm welcome to the spot on the site where, every week, we chat about things that may be affecting us, or people around us. Our thinking isn’t particular radical here, and we’re aware that not everything we write will be a fat lot of use to everyone. The aim instead is that somewhere, over the series of pieces, there’ll be at least something that’s a little bit of use to you.

This week, I want to have a chat about something as apparently simple as getting through a dark day. I say this appreciating that dark days are very different to each of us. Some of us have a high number of them, for others, they’re an occasional blip. But we all go through them, and here are just a few thoughts on getting to the other side of one.

Like many of you, I’ve gone through peaks and troughs in life, and it took me a long time to accept that, for want of a better way of putting it, there are some days that I’m just not going to win. That as much as I fight and try and find the positives, sometimes a day just goes against you, and you’re powerless to stop it. I try as best I can to accept that now. It’s not always the case that things are better after a night’s sleep – and sometimes just getting that sleep is a challenge – but I do see it as a sort of finish line on a bad day to get to bed.

I try too to break my routine on the tough days. If my head isn’t in a great place, or I’m awash with worry, I try not to do everything I’d do in a given day. It might be I just go for a walk, or – in times when there aren’t massive queues at petrol stations – a drive in the country. Anything to stop me going down familiar tunnels. I try and detach from screens a bit too.

I do try, where possible, to talk to someone too, although that’s not always as easy as it sounds. But sometimes, just sending a message, or dropping someone a quick call, has its benefits. I do worry that not everyone wants to hear from me when I’m far from my best, but on the whole, I think there’s a general human acceptance that some things are just crap sometimes.

I do think there are periods of life – and I don’t say this glibly – where keeping going feels like a tremendous goal in itself. The best any of us can do is go one day at a time, and to take things at that pace. If you’re struggling to find light with any regularity, do just say a hello in the comments, as everyone is welcome to. It’s real human beings down there. The worst we’re going to do is give a shit.

You look after yourselves everybody. This column will be back next week.

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