One concept you will find popping up in the wellness community is that of affirmations and I think this is something that can be applied to the way we feel when we are struggling with our SAD.
The concept behind affirmations is that if we tell ourselves we are going to fail we are more likely to. In thinking we are not capable of doing something we weaken our resolve, it’s like we have failed before we even start. And if we’ve already failed, why even try?
When we are in the depths of SAD it is hard to see how we can ever cope with things and we have a tendency to use phrases like “I can’t cope”, “I simply can’t handle this”, or “I feel terrible”. I have found that using these phrases makes me feel worse.
Let me tell you a short story about how I came to understand this. It’s not related to SAD but bear with me.
Years ago my dear grandmother had a stroke. I adored her and seeing her struggling was breaking my heart. She lost her speech and she went from a bright, intelligent woman who would always engage in deep debate to a quiet, broken woman who couldn’t even ask for a cup of tea.
I would visit her in the hospital and come home talking myself into a sobbing mess repeating those words “I can’t cope”. As I came out the other side of one of those sobbing moments I realised that every time I told myself I couldn’t cope I felt worse; repeating it over and over always led to me fall apart. From that moment I told myself I would turn it around every time I found myself repeating those words. And you know what? It worked!
As soon as I felt the “I can’t cope” rise I would say out loud “No, I can handle this. Whatever happens I will cope”. From that moment I started to deal with the situation. My heart still broke every time I saw her but it didn’t destroy me in the process.
When it comes to dealing with those dark wet days we can do the same thing. When we are faced with something that seems impossible we can become our own cheerleader. Rather than defeating ourselves from the outset we can remind ourselves that up to this point we have a 100% survival rate (I love that concept!) and that whatever happens, no matter how bad we feel, we can do this.
I know it’s hard. I know it feels impossible to feel that strong when we just want to crawl into a corner. You don’t have to believe it to start with. Just say the words, pretend you mean them. You will find that the more you do this the more true it will feel.
You’ve got this, I have every faith in you!