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Highs and Lows are a Part of Life – It’s Okay to Feel Down Sometimes

Crying Woman

“It’s okay to not be okay.” ~Unknown

I’ve been depressed before in my life; very depressed.

When I was at my worst (more than once), it felt as though I was locked in a dark cave with no visible way out. Every way I turned led me to another cold rock wall that stopped me from moving ahead.

And then the exhaustion… how can you make it out alive when you don’t even have the energy to find a way out? I would curl up in a ball in my little cave and sleep for hours, so as not to face what felt like an impossible challenge. Yes, I’ve been there.

What about now, though? I eventually crawled my way out of that cave, but it took a few years.

I decided I didn’t want the antidepressants anymore. Although I wholeheartedly believe that medication might be the right answer for some people, I knew it didn’t work well for me (I tried quite a few).

I had to find my way by eating healthier and by taking care of my body, mind, and soul. It was not easy, but I know now that I’ll never go to that place again.

However, I’ve found that some days can still feel quite low. For a while this bothered me, and I would wonder if I was slipping backward into the mouth of my cave again. Yet I’ve known that my life has vastly improved from the days of my battle with depression.

I don’t say this lightly, because this is not something that can be measured with a test like cancer can. I know it by the way I smile, the positive thoughts I now have, and the health I feel.

Self-help books were my therapy. Integrative Nutrition school helped me find all of the nutrition education I wanted and more. I had help in many ways; I researched the heck out of positive psychology.

So what’s up with these down days?! Here’s my take: I think that everyone has down days and it’s completely normal.

I think that society has us programmed to believe that we’re not supposed to ever feel low, or be sad, or lose our cool. You know what I think? I think that’s totally wrong.

Sometimes we’re stressed out. Sometimes we lose a bet. Sometimes we get screwed over. Sometimes we lose a friend to alcoholism. Sometimes we get scared. Sometimes we make a tiny amount of money for way too many hours put into a project. Sometimes we run into the glass wall at the bank as we’re attempting to exit the building. (Who designed those, by the way?)

My point is this: it’s okay to feel low sometimes.

I recently took up mountain biking, and it has been quite the challenge. I live in the foothills of Colorado, so the big uphills are just as easy to find as the long downhills.

On my most recent ride I was struggling up a particularly difficult section and I was cussing inside my own head.

I was mad, plainly because it sucked. I forgot every piece of Zen biking wisdom I had learned over the last few months and I berated myself for my weaknesses as my lungs expanded for more oxygen that they would not receive.

As this section mellowed out, I continued my climb and found a peace of some kind as my legs slowly brought me up a few more miles of incline. Then it was time to descend.

Coming down is a different kind of challenge, but this time I was able to find a groove and enjoy the ride. I couldn’t stop myself from smiling, and the chipmunks might even tell you that I laughed around a couple of corners.

That was when it clicked for me. The struggle was worth it. The cussing had led to the laughter. Life has its ups and downs, and sometimes they’re extreme. The lows were not only just okay; they were necessary.

Like I said, I’ve been to that point of major depression—and that’s different. I needed much more help than just talking myself out of it.

But for those times that you’re just feeling low, no matter what anyone tells you, no matter how wrong you may feel it to be, know that it’s okay to feel down sometimes.

You’re not a terrible person for it. Just don’t let yourself get stuck there. Remember to open your eyes up wide and notice the laughter just as often as you notice the tears.

Above all else, love the lows. Thank them and be grateful for them; see how they help you grow. You’re right where you need to be, as we all are.

Crying woman image via Shutterstock

About Andrea Holt

Andrea Holt is a certified Holistic Health Coach. Using her own personal battle through severe depression, her passion lies in helping others find ways to improve their mood naturally and for life; through lifestyle changes, nutrition, and positive psychology. Residing in Colorado with her daughter, she enjoys the outdoors, yoga, crossfit, writing, and soul-searching. Visit her at happybrainmovement.com and on Facebook.

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  • Daniela

    At least if I were as pretty as this girl things would be slightly better…I have no eyelashes or brows from a condition called trichotillomania. I’ve had this since I was six and am almost 45. I can’t imagine being so beautiful and not living with rejection and so much insecurity (all while trying to hide it and act normal).

  • “It’s okay to not be okay.” I like that quote. My doctor says having down days and feeling bad about those down days does not mean you are weak. It means you are alive and are aware of your emotions.

  • Talya Price

    I have been deeply depressed the past few months. Anyone who has read any of my comments here will definitely agree to that. It is okay to feel low sometimes but what if everyday you feel low? I have not felt pure joy in a very long time. And I am beginning to hate my life now.

  • Amy

    She is probably a model in the photograph. Hugs Daniela we are only human.

  • Zhang Caesar

    hi,i think we are the same situation,dont know how to self help,are u better now?

  • Jeevan/Mirthu/Gupt

    “My doctor says having down days and feeling bad about those down days
    does not mean you are weak. It means you are alive and are aware of your
    emotions.” Not sure if I ever thought of it that way before…THANK U for sharing that WISDOM! 🙂

  • Talya Price

    I am not any better than I was yesterday. I am still unemployed (despite the fact that I am actively looking for work) and I am alone. And I do not think that any of my so-called friends really understand how I feel.

  • Gina

    If you are looking for extra money with average of 50-300 bucks a day for doing basic work over internet at your home for 3-4 h every day then check this out…

  • Mike Cottam

    Hi Andrea

    What a great post and thanks for sharing your experiences. I totally agree that the lows should be appreciated and enjoyed, because its from the lows that experience the highs.

    Its like having to endure the darkness before a beautiful sunrise!

    I will definitely appreciate the darker times even more after reading this.

    Mike

  • Thanks Andrea for a well told story from the soul.

    I too have dealt with depression and experience the ups and downs, highs and lows that our day-to-day throws at us. I totally agree, that there cannot be ups unless we experience downs. It’s all relative, after all. How can we know the difference between the two if there is no knowing what they are?

    I also feel that tackling my depression through my wellness and psychology helped immensely, and these are now two topics that I advocate in my teachings. Overall, I feel my depression was fueled by a yearning for purpose. I desperately wanted a greater reason for waking up each day that was more than collecting a paycheck. The problem was, I was caught up in the expectation from society that it was normal. Being unhappy, forever dreaming of a better life, and accepting mediocracy was the new norm, and I didn’t want to accept it.

    What I’m trying to get at is that life doesn’t need to be the way it is. For sure, there are highs and lows in any journey, however if life is more down than up, then it’s time to question why, and to really ask “why am I putting up with it”?

    We all possess power to change our lives, it starts with deciding to take action and make change. That’s where the highs are – just out of reach and awaiting those courageous enough to leap.

    Great writing. Keep up the good work.

    Jason

  • Layla

    When I gave up what I can only describe as disordered eating, I rediscovered all these undesirable feelings I’d covered up. It’s taken a while (still is taking time) to try to figure out how to cope without resorting to unhealthy food, and how much to expect happiness-wise. At first, I felt a bit depressed and assumed it was normal: I was so used to being artificially happy all the time, and it’s time to get used to this new “normal” and learn to cope with it. That lasted for a long few months, and I didn’t realize this wasn’t the way things were supposed to be when you have to cope on your own rather than with cookie dough, but now (almost two years later) I am starting to get the hang of being happy sometimes and unhappy other times and I’ve signed up for counseling so I’m going to ask if there’s a way to tell whether you’re expecting too much or not enough happiness.

  • Daniela

    Thank you 🙂

  • sia

    talya how are you doing now? I am in a similar situation too.. taking one day at a time.. i just wanted to wish you a happy Christmas and New year.

  • Anthonie McGowan

    This is inspiring. I’ve recently been depressed, I feel quite terrible and stuck. However I think it’s for a valid reason. My family has had some very terrible problems but I think we are beginning to get through them…in the begining of these problems I was fine. It was kind of weird how calm I was. I was so busy protecting my daughter from the problems at hand, that I didn’t have time to be scared, sad, or angry. But now that it’s starting to get better and I have time to feel, all my emotions are coming out. I get waves of depression and anxiety attacks. I know in my heart of hearts it’s ok, but sometimes I get an overwhelming feeling that I’m getting stuck in it and there’s no hope. I have also recently admitted to my self that I have akeats had trouble sharing my feelings and being openly affectionate. So I have a lot of feelings bottled up, and I’m scared for future problems and future anxiety/depression. It’s nice to read things like this and I would love it to hear from the author or anyone else that has positive input. I’d be happy to share my story to get real input. I am trying the positive thinking process. I refuse to take pills when I know that we have the power to make the changes with our own minds. I just need some positive support. I need to hear success stories, and I want to know its ok. I’m incredibly determined and have dedication once I see a path. If anyone is up for talking to me and sharing some success or positive thoughts, I would be incredibly gretful.