I have depression. Or at least sometimes I do. For the most part I have gotten really good at ignoring it and pretending that I am powering through life, so much so that most people would never guess that I am often crippled with anxiety and need to spend entire afternoons in bed because that feels safe. Lately even that hasn’t felt so safe and on Tuesday I emailed my counselor and texted my mom. Depression was refusing to be ignored any longer and I knew I needed backup.
I usually use Facebook as a way of detaching from real life and distracting myself from my depression. I unfollowed all of my friends and have my entire news feed flooding with positivity from Abraham Hicks, Louise Hay, Deepok Chopra and a few lesser known but highly inspirational people who post mantras, quotes and encouragement on a regular basis. When I need a break from myself I scroll through until I feel better. The general theme of all of these memes and bits of wisdom is to focus on the good feeling thoughts. Find the happiness in any moment and stay there.
The problem with depression is it lies. It tells you that your friend didn’t text you back right away because she doesn’t really like you. The guy you’re seeing is making up excuses not to be available. You are messing up your children because you can’t just be normal and of course all of these things are happening because you are ugly and useless. Once depression gets some momentum, it begins to seem as if the world would be a better place without you and there really isn’t any happiness to be found in that moment. There isn’t a mantra on earth that will unravel that pain.
*Pause to say that if you are having the slightest thoughts towards suicide, even a fleeting “it would be so much easier if I was gone” passing through your brain, please open another browser window and Google suicide hotlines in your area. Right now.
I used to give my depression a power boost by adding guilt to the mix.
My children are healthy. I should be happy.
I live in one of the safest and most beautiful places on earth. I should be happy.
I have food, clothing and shelter. I should be happy.
I have what so many others only dream of so why the fuck can I not just be happy?!?!
As you can probably imagine, this type of thinking is like giving depression steroids. It’s now bigger and stronger than ever and prone to Hulk like outbursts of roid rage. Well done, Sharon. You’re feeding the beast instead of doing all of the loving, self care things you know you are supposed to. You spend half your time reading blogs and articles on how to battle depression and when the time comes, what do you do? You creep behind enemy lines and feed the depression that is trying to destroy you. Traitor. Clearly you are ugly and useless and the world would be a better place without you. *Lather, rinse, repeat*
It’s ok to fall apart. It’s ok to surrender to your sadness and spend some time curled up on your couch, surrounded by used tissues and all of your regrets. It’s ok if the shiny mantras about how beautiful life is make you want to vomit. Maybe today your mantra is “This will pass”.