Breaking the Cycle

When I last publicly spoke of depression, it was to tell the story of how I got through my darkest days so far – days where I questioned the purpose and reason for continuing my life and the days that followed.

Now, for the benefit of those who experience depression, it is time to address what I said at the end of that article:

“These days I occasionally suffer bouts of depression, but what would have once taken weeks to overcome now takes less than a day.

I cannot stress enough how much therapy, friends and family can make all the difference.

Talking to someone is everything. It means the world.

Today, life keeps going. I keep going.”

This is all true. Most of the time. Sometimes there are events in our lives that last anywhere between a few days and a few months that can drastically change our mood: being overworked, upcoming exams, death, loss of love or friendship, etc. In those times we can find ourselves reverting to old habits of cyclical thinking as the darkness of depression takes hold once more.

Again we find ourselves at a party unable to tear our mind from our worries, forcing ourselves to play our favourite game, or just generally looking at things without truly seeing them. We space out into our own world of “what ifs” and (seemingly justified) predictions of the future that closes like a bubble around our ambitions and normal lives.

“I wish I could end the article here, but I can’t.

In third year, I pushed away friends and instead embraced a relationship destined to fail. Over its course I came to feel unwanted, lost my sense of autonomy and the river of emotions that I had walked away from the previous year came rushing back.”

What I found that worked back then and what I find to work best today – though admittedly much more difficult than it sounds – is breaking the cycle of negative thoughts and the actions/activities that help reinforce them.

Breaking the cycle doesn’t have to mean making an ideological or lifestyle change. In fact, doing so will likely increase the depression as such a task to anyone would seem large and even insurmountable. A break in a cycle need not be drastic.

When I stopped dating my ex I broke the cycle by going out exploring. And no I don’t mean taking out the old bicycle to a trail and then hiking all day. I mean going to a café I had been meaning to try for ages. Yes, there were the friends who were there for me and sympathetic family members, but what always stays in my mind as the turning point out of that period of darkness was sitting down in that café for a waffle and just enjoying it. My mind on nothing else. If you have to pull your mind out of other thoughts then do so. If it happens again then pull your mind out again, and again, as many times as is necessary. Stay focused on what is in front of you – whether that thing is a delicious waffle, something you’re crocheting, or a friend with whom you’re chatting.

Do this once and you’ll feel a change. Perhaps it will be major, perhaps it will be minor, but it will be a change nonetheless. In some small seemingly meaningless way, you’ll have broken the cycle. Maybe just a bit, but it will act as a thread that you can pull little by little to get out of the darkness.

In time and with a little luck you’ll work your way up to enough breaks in the cycle that depression no longer acts as such a large buffer to your enjoyment of life. The light will be able to shine again even in the darkest corners.

But you have to start. Today. Now. Right this second. You’re already reading this article so maybe your way of breaking the cycle is reading, maybe it’s something else.

It can be simple. It should be simple, by your standards. Simple is easy, it isn’t insurmountable. Like the start to anything it has the potential to lead to something big. And in this case that big thing is a reliable method for you to break the cycle of depression; whenever, wherever and however it may take hold.

Disclaimer: while this is what worked for me and many others I have spoken to there is always a chance it may not work for you. If the problem of depression persists or worsens you should contact professional help.

Good2Talk (students) – 1-866-925-5454

Suicide Hotline (Canada) – 1-800-784-2433

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (USA) – 1-800-273-8255

Feature image: Pexels
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This place will become your home

Dine: Glassroots

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I won’t lie -– when I lived in London I came here almost weekly and it is easily my favourite restaurant in London. What started off as an assignment for the Gazette quickly became a weekly ritual and a second home.

Between the weekly rotating menu, the incredible wait staff, kitchen, and owners, the homey and intimate atmosphere, the locally sourced decor, and much more (I could go on for ages), everything comes together in a perfect medley. Within but a year of opening they’ve won numerous London restaurant awards. Growing up in Toronto I’ve been exposed to a lot of quality food, but even their top ranks seldom come close to Glassroots’ unique and ambitious design.

Drink: Milos’ Craft Beer Emporium

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Its rare to find a pub in London that has exemplary food and drink, friendly service, and a relatively quiet atmosphere. Nine times our of ten, Milos’ has it all. The staff can excitedly describe their best and most popular brews of the day (or the brew of your choice) and welcome familiar customers.

As far as drink concerned, there is a rotating menu of over 30 craft beers on tap (plus wines, bottles, and mixed drinks). But the fun doesn’t stop there; their food menu is to die for. Milos’ is an ideal spot for lunch or dinner as well – I recommend trying the cheese (and charcuterie) board.

Indulge: Marky’s Creperie

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Jenny Jay // The Western Gazette

Personally, I cannot say enough good things about the owner, Milica Markovic. I found myself ordering from here more often than I’ll admit. My go-tos were always Fruity Haze Nut and Omelet but the rest are amazing as well.

While ordering in gets you the good taste, it severely misses out on the excellent atmosphere of the location. One wall is chalk full of affirmations that somehow manage to dwarf in comparison to Markovic’s brilliant attitude – an attitude that rubs off on the students working there. Perhaps the most magical part of Marky’s isn’t just the attention you get, but witnessing other regulars who have been coming for years interact with the owner – every bit of which is like seeing two long lost friends reunite. Perhaps if you stay around long enough you’ll join those ranks too.