At first, I didn’t recognize these symptoms. I wasn’t tired — I still had energy. It wasn’t depression, perhaps stressed, not depressed because I didn’t feel hopeless. I just felt somewhat joyless and aimless. It turns out that I was ‘languishing’.
Because depression isn’t just about feeling hopeless, it’s a deep valley of ill-being filled with a miasma of despondence, drained, and worthlessness.
Languishing can be defined as a sense of slump or emptiness as if looking at your life through a foggy windshield. However, languishing isn’t a mental health disorder or disease but rather is a sign of possibly developing one in the near future.
Just like how a minor wound can turn into a lethal infection if left unattended. You are not mentally ill. However, you’re not a good picture of health either.
As scientists and healthcare workers are working day and night to treat and cure the physical symptoms of Covid, many people are struggling emotionally from the toll of the pandemic.
Name It To Defog Your Vision
Although we still have a lot to learn about languishing, what triggers it and how to cure it, naming it might be the first step to have a clear picture of your experience.
According to psychologists naming your emotions is one of the best strategies to keep them in control and prevent them from going berserk. Even according to a Harvard Business Review article, which was released last spring, giving a familiar vocabulary to our emotions, especially those of discomfort, helps us understand our experience and have a better grip on reality, which might feel like slipping away.
Go With The Flow, If Possible, Create One
“Flow” might just be the antidote to languishing. Flow can be described as an elusive state of absorption in a significant challenge or a momentary bond, where your sense of time, place, and self melts away.
The activity can be anything, delving into the realms of daydreaming, reading your favorite book, or binging on a Netflix or any other web series.
While finding new challenges, activities, enjoyable past-time experiences, and meaningful chores are possible remedies to languishing, it might be hard to find flow when you can’t focus. However, it’s not entirely impossible. Try noticing your little ‘wins’ like the tiny triumph of solving a Rubik’s cube or a puzzle.
Sometimes even a small step toward rediscovering some of the energy and enthusiasm that you’ve missed during all these months can be counted as ‘flow’.
We live in a world that normalizes physical health challenges but stigmatizes mental health challenges. And as we head into a new post-pandemic reality, it’s all the more necessary to rethink our understanding and values regarding mental health and well-being.
“Not depressed” doesn’t mean you’re doing well. “Not burned out” doesn’t mean you’re a fireball of energy and by acknowledging the fact that many of us are languishing, even as we speak, maybe just maybe we might be giving voice to quiet despair and lighting a path out of the void.
Image credits: Google images, Unsplash
Find the blogger at @sejalsejals38
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