Here’s a piece of advice you won’t hear from your therapist: One day your depression will start to lift. In the meantime, don’t run yourself ragged trying to make yourself feel better.
I got that from a brilliant friend who’d suffered postpartum depression. While I’m sure she meant it to be taken with a grain of salt, I think it’s a really important perspective.
As a (formerly anyway) ambitious, problem oriented person, I often see my depression as a problem that I can figure out and eventually solve. This approach has helped me learn. I spend less time glued to my bed now because I call for help and I plan ahead to keep myself occupied. I read more and sleep less because I’ve noticed that that those things help.
But, as you can imagine, my default approach also leads to a huge amount of frustration and disappointment, because I’m taking responsibility for things I can’t control. There’s nothing like blaming myself for a bad day to bring on more bad days.
I’m not for abdicating to this disease, but I really appreciate the calmness that comes with my friend’s perspective. Feel like shit? Don’t worry about it – you’re depressed. Ride it out. Maybe you’ll feel better tomorrow.
There’s nothing like thinking about lost time to drop you into a tailspin of negative feelings.
I suffered a couple really shitty events about three years ago – before I was diagnosed with depression. I knew then that I wasn’t the best at “bouncing” (yeah right, try crawling) back, and I remember wishing I could sleep through the next three months.
I knew that was optimistic, but I never imagined that three years later I’d still be reeling.
Then you’re diagnosed and you realize that it hasn’t been three years. It’s been a lot more than that.
Depression makes it hard to accept that lost time. You know what else makes it hard to accept? The fact that losing whole years REALLY SUCKS. It’s sad and it’s disorienting and it’s completely irreparable.
When I’m doing alright, I know those years weren’t lost. I met and fell in love with a brand new baby cousin during those years. I moved back to my hometown, which I love. I really helped a couple friends when they needed it most. I didn’t lose those years; I spent them, well even. But I also spent a lot of that time really, really sad, and that’s a shitty hand to be dealt. It’s not the worst hand, but it’s a shitty hand.
You know how it goes. There’s not a lot to be done about it.
In large part, depression got those three years, and more. I’m going to do my fucking best to get the next three years. And more.