perspective

Riding It Out

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.