This is a difficult post for me to write. I don’t open up about this topic very often, and I don’t think I have on here when I was actually going through it but I felt like I should now.
My depression is returning. Or has returned. There are certain signs I have been noticing but hadn’t honestly linked together to put a name on it until a few days ago when I was sitting on the side of my bed thinking of all the ways it would be easier to just give up. All the reasons I should give up because I’m this or that. The completely overwhelming list of things I need to fix about myself and my life. And about the few people in my life who probably wouldn’t be bothered that much by my absence.
And honestly, it sounded like a good idea. Not “take action” kind of good, thankfully, but a pretty solid solution at the time.
I try to find positive things in the muck and mess of my life when I can and one good thing is that, possibly because I’ve been feeling good for a while prior, I’ve gotten a better understanding of how depression shows up for me.
For example, my most favorite “symptom” is that I’ve been eating more. Because what makes you feel better about yourself than gaining weight and feeling gross? I eat when I’m hungry and when I’m not hungry….heavy, “comfort” foods are what I crave. Late at night, right before bedtime I find myself wanting to run out for fast food or stuff myself on snacks in the kitchen.
This is probably obvious, but I haven’t been as happy. So not laughing as much, or as hard. It’s like I’m me, but muted.
Stopped listening to music unless I’m feeling “up”. Guys, I’m a vehicular concertina. (Why yes, I did create that title just for me.) I mean, if my car is moving I’m in concert mode singing at the top of my lungs….often with a spiffy dance routine as an added bonus. If I’m not singing or dancing, something is wrong. And though I’m only noticing it now, something has been wrong for a few weeks now.
Instead I’ve been listening to books on tape. And by “listening” I mean it’s playing and I’m zoning out. Thinking about it, that’s possibly “normal” behavior for me because I pay attention to nothing.
Aquariums. The past few days I’ve been obsessed with aquariums. My Youtube recommend section is filled with fish people and their tanks. Bettas….people with giant aquariums in their homes….relaxation videos of sea life with elevator music playing. It sounds mind-numbingly drab, but that’s most likely the point.
Noise. I am normally someone who enjoys quiet. While I haven’t been listening to music, I have been keeping some form of background noise going at all times. Possibly trying to occupy my mind, I’m not sure.
In a way I guess I’ve been treating myself without consciously choosing to do so. I find it somewhat comforting to think I have been inadvertently seeking out things that calm and soothe me. I picture my subconscious as a “person” who has been taking care of the funky feeling conscious me and I quite like the idea of being cared for. Even if I’m having to do it myself.
So, after I had that dark moment sitting on the side of my bed and realized where my mind was, I took a few steps I think were important in order to help myself.
First, I texted my best friend. I almost didn’t do this because 1) I don’t like to need help, and 2) I don’t like to show my weaknesses, and 3) I didn’t want to bother her with my issues again. But I did and I’m glad. She immediately called me and listened to the couple of things I was currently upset about and then she said, “No big deal. You’re going to do this. You’re going to get rid of this. You’re going to take care of that.”
My friend is a no nonsense, take charge kind of person who took the problems my mind was becoming overwhelmed by and broke them down into tasks that would resolve the issue, and just like that I started to feel a little better.
Though having a new, manageable plan did help me to feel better, I decided to go ahead and set up an appointment with a professional who can help me with ways to cope with my depression and anxiety.
Of course, I’ll keep you posted with that progress but in the meantime I will give some thoughts I have had over the past week regarding depression.
Everyone needs help sometime. Asking for help when you need it is not weak. It is not shameful.
It is strong, it is smart, and it is necessary.
Are there people out there who won’t understand your struggle? Absolutely. Personally I have trouble understanding people who have a desire to jump out of a perfectly good plane so you know, we all have our limitations. However, hear me when I tell you someone else’s inability to understand you does not diminish your situation.
There are a few who won’t get it, there are tons who do. Find those people who do.
Be kind and patient with yourself.
Usually if I feel like a situation is getting a little heavy for me I will do something to get my mind off of it. That could include anything from getting a pedicure to going off for the weekend, depending on the weight of the situation and my pocketbook.
That also includes some things I listed above. Like water. I’ll sometimes go down to the park in my town that is by the river and stare at the water for a while. Or obsess about aquariums on Youtube.
What I don’t do is beat myself up. Now that I understand I struggle with depression at times and that’s a real thing, I understand there is no “just cheer up” or “just get over it”. I understand I’m sensitive and some things are difficult for me.
This too shall pass.
Please, please, please know that situations change. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Better days are ahead.
I can assure you that giving up is not the answer. There are people who love and care about you and whether you feel like it right now or not, they would be devastated if you weren’t here.
Show people you love them.
This is more of a tip for everyone, and a lot bigger than just this little section, but it’s on my mind today. I shared a conversation with someone this week who said, “It’s crazy because when you are not around they brag on you all the time. I don’t know why they don’t act like that to you.”
I don’t understand why hiding that we love people became a thing. Well….in fact I do….because loving people can be hard. And painful. But wouldn’t this world be a much better place if we showed love, empathy, and compassion instead of judgement, superiority, and hate?
If you knew when interacting with someone that the way you treated them could make them feel better about themselves, would you want to make a little more effort? If you knew the person in front of you felt unloved and unworthy, would you reach out a hand to comfort?
It’s not just you out there. I’m talking to myself here too, because I am the world’s worst about having an attitude at times and being guarded with most people. Probably most of us could stand to do a little better.