Your alarm starts screaming at 6:30 AM. It’s dark and cold outside and you do not want to get out of bed. Anyone who’s ever declared themselves “not a morning person” can understand, but depression can turn this morning annoyance into a full blown mental crisis before your feet ever hit your bedroom floor.
When you’re struggling with depression, a small situation like getting out of bed can feel like a very big deal. Like maybe even an insurmountable obstacle. You don’t have to suffer and struggle with yourself every single morning. You just need to shift your perception of the situation.
The key to finding peace with rolling out of bed is to realize that how you feel and what you want in this moment just don’t matter. I know this sounds like kind of a bummer at first, but this truth will set you free.
You have to learn the difference between what you want and what you really really want. When you’re depressed, you want to lie in bed, to check out, to disappear into the sheets. But you also want to feel better, to be bright, energetic, to be you again. To have hope, to not be depressed. YOU WANT to WANT TO get out of bed. Isn’t that what you want more than anything?
When your desires are conflicting, you get to choose which side to root for. You get to choose which side of yourself is more important, which side is the real you. Imagine that you get what you think you want, and you get to stay in bed today. You’re two hours late for work. You call in sick. Sleep through breakfast, maybe lunch. Do you feel good now, or worse? Was that really what you wanted?
Now imagine you get what you really really want, and take steps to feel alive, energetic, accomplished. You get to feel in control of yourself again, regardless of your mood or your impulses. How does that feel? It feels like a win.
You can’t control how you feel. If it were that simple, you wouldn’t be reading this. But realizing that it doesn’t matter how you feel right now lets you off the hook. You’re no longer betraying yourself by going to work. You’re being loyal to what you really really want in life, and ignoring what you want for those few minutes lying in bed. You can’t change those feelings, but you can disregard them. You can act in spite of them.
Not wanting to get out of bed is a low level superficial feeling produced by impulse. It doesn’t work in your best interest and it’s not serving you. Wanting to feel alive and happy, and to have control of yourself, is a deep desire produced by your spirit. That’s the real you. That’s where your loyalty should live.
When you wake up, practice saying to yourself, “I don’t want to get up. And that’s irrelevant right now. I know it doesn’t matter, because here I am sitting myself up anyway.” And then just sit up. Put yourself in control of your day from the very beginning. Set a tone of empowerment rather than victim-hood. Self-talk is so important to how you perceive your life and the world around you. Shifting to this empowering version of events can affect your whole day.
Feelings always have a place in your life, but they aren’t in charge, and they don’t get the final say about anything- especially if you struggle with depression and your feelings have gone a bit haywire. In tough situations, distancing yourself from your feelings and identifying the difference between what you want right now and what you really really want can snap you right out of a rut. It can get you out of bed. And it can start paving a road to better feelings and better situations.
DISCLAIMER: This website does not render medical advice. I am not a mental health professional. I share the methods that have worked for me and I truly hope they work for you, but I cannot guarantee any specific results.