One of the most frustrating aspect of living with depression and anxiety is that at times, my brain can get easily overwhelmed . Whether it’s managing negative thoughts or trying to process what’s going on around me, it doesn’t take much to get my brain going. However, when there’s so many thing going on, it can be easy for my to lose track of my thoughts – a common experience for people living with mental illness. So how does this happen, and what can we do about it?
There are many symptoms of depression that can be easily recognized or seen – feelings of worthlessness or hopeless, feeling tired and empty more than you normally would, losing interests in things you used to enjoy, etc. But one of the most important signs of depression that I learned (and I wouldn’t have considered until I did more research) is having trouble concentrating or remembering details.
Everyone gets scatter-brained now and again (there’s a lot going on in the world today!), but when you experience depression, your mind can become wrapped up in a million different things. If you’ve ever struggled with negative thoughts or feelings of hopelessness, you know how hard it is to concentrate on other things while that’s going on. How can you focus when your internal monologue is going on about how terrible you are?
The common end result of this struggle is that interacting with people can be difficult when you’re in this state. Over the years, I’ve learned some ways to manage this symptom of depression and to try and regain focus when I’ve lost it. I wish I could say that this was an easy trick or something that fit right into place. In reality, it look a renewed focus and creating a new mindset before I could notice a difference.
The first thing I did that helped me deal with this is acknowledging that it happens. That might sound silly, but part of the reason my depression symptoms can worsen from time to time is when I don’t act like they’re real and deny their existence. Naming things for what they are can go a long way toward mental wellness.
The next thing I worked on was recognizing when it happens. This is much easier said than done of course, but the more that I recognized how I’ve lost my train of thought, the more I could work on figuring out how to get back on track. The other aspect of this is that even if you don’t see it happen every time, noticing this even once in a while can go a long way toward building wellness.
My final bit of advice here is that it’s important to be patient with yourself when you lose your train of thought. Whether it feels like your brain won’t work or it’s running at a million miles an hour, experiencing symptoms of mental illness can be hard on your inner dialogue. But the more we emphasize patience, health and growth, the more we can focus on managing our symptoms and lessening their impact instead of trying to make them disappear overnight. And who knows, maybe one day you’ll barely notice them! Dare to dream, right?