Apropos of absolutely nothing, I'm experimenting with a coping strategy.1 I ran into it at MetaFilter. I asked the person who posted it via private message whether they wanted to be named specifically, whether they wanted it quoted directly or paraphrased, etc., and they said use it however, it's not even mine.2 So.
It's not exactly a "follow these steps and be saved" kind of strategy. It's not even a "here's how to turn everything back around after a setback" strategy. It's more "here is what you can do when you feel like you can't do anything, as a way of (maybe) building some momentum that will (eventually) enable you to (begin to) turn things around."
Improve things. This is not necessarily grandiose like "clean everything in the entire house" or "start a national movement to change public opinion," though I suppose if you feel up to something like that then go ahead. It's more like, clean the bowl that's sitting in the kitchen sink. Make your bed. Do that minor format tweak to your blog that you've been meaning to do for the last six months. You don't have to make it perfect, you don't even have to finish. Just make something better than it was. If dusting all four shelves of the bookshelf seems like too much, tell yourself that doing just one of them is fine. (It is fine.) A lot of self-care sort of winds up in this category, too: remember that you will need to eat things sometimes even if you don't feel hungry,3 that you'll need to rest even if you can't actually sleep, that you still need to take your meds if you can't imagine feeling any more miserable without them, and so forth.
Appreciate things. Again, this need not be "get dressed and drive to the nearest state park so you can walk along the beach and become inspired by the beauty of nature / vastness of the night sky / calming sound of the waves." All you have to do is find something about the world that is pleasant, and take a moment to acknowledge that. Are your holiday cacti blooming? Well, that's something. Do you have a pair of scissors lying around with handles that are a pretty shade of blue? Well, blue is a nice color; let's take a second to focus on that. Do you live with someone who has a nice laugh? Did that home-improvement project from six months ago turn out well? Are you capable of doing an internet search for "cute kitten video?" Can you wear that t-shirt that fits you just right today (even if you can't get it together to shower; even if the shirt isn't clean)? Is the room at a comfortable temperature? Doesn't that bookshelf (or that one shelf on the bookshelf) look nicer now that you've dusted it? Etc.
Connect with other people. You don't have to run for office, march in the streets, or volunteer at the food bank if you aren't up to doing those things, but you know somebody who would sympathize with you. Or there's someone out there who needs your sympathy. Or just spend time with your roommate / spouse / relatives4 / pets. (Pro tip: pets are also good for Appreciating.) I've found this one the hardest, because when it comes right down to it, I'm not actually in regular contact with very many people, and a good chunk of the people I am in contact with . . . wouldn't be good people to talk to, for this particular situation.
Protect something or someone. Make a donation to a charity that does work you respect. Get out the old rubbing alcohol and wipe down that cactus that has mealybugs again. When that coworker starts disrespecting that other coworker in your presence, maybe say something this time, or make up any excuse to get the victim out of the situation ("hey, X, can you show me how to change the copier toner again? It's not working for me."). Give your dog his heartworm medicine. Call your kid's school principal and tell him what you think about the lack of an anti-bullying program in the school.
If everything I've just said still feels like it's more than you can handle right now, and/or if you're having thoughts of suicide,5 you may be suffering from acute depression. I can't make you do anything, obviously, but I would encourage you to seek help. If you are in immediate suicidal crisis and in the U.S., you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255; they will connect you with a crisis center in your area that provides immediate, confidential emotional support, and can help you get other resources you need after that.
If you're not in an immediate crisis, but still want help and don't know where to start, the National Helpline (1-800-662-4357) run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can refer you to someone in your area who can help with mental or substance abuse problems. The Helpline does not provide immediate emergency counseling over the phone like the NSPL does, though.
If you're somehow not feeling paralyzed and hopeless, and you're not in immediate crisis . . . um, that's awesome for you, I guess.
And that's kinda all I've got. Posting was going to be erratic and not very interesting anyway, for mysterious reasons I may or may not ever explain to you, plus the plants are displeasing me lately so I'm not super motivated to write about them, and now . . . well, now, I've got all this scissor-looking-at to do. So, you know, set your expectations really low as far as frequency and quality in the near future.
2 It's apparently adapted/borrowed from two books by Steven Stosny, Love Without Hurt and Living and Loving After Betrayal.
3 I lost 6 pounds (2.7 kg) in the 72 hours between Tuesday morning and Friday morning. I make myself eat, because I know I need to, but I don't enjoy it, and afterward I always kind of wish I hadn't. Still alive, though, so . . . so far, so good, I guess.
4 Not valid for all families, obviously.
5 I will cop to the occasional fleeting "well, all things considered, I guess death might not be so terrible." I don't think this counts as having actual suicidal impulses, since I'm not actually contemplating ways to make that happen, just looking for a