Today is Mental Health Day. It would be swell if I got to deal with my mental health once a year. For me, and anyone else who struggles, every day is mental health day. Often “good” days can be tainted with a sense of wondering when the shit will hit the fan. The “bad” days are wondering if the shit ever stops hitting the fan.
Not one to miss out on being hip, trendy, with it, and having my finger on the pulse, I am experiencing one of the worst bouts of depression I have had in I don’t know how long.
I am basically existing between hiking and sleeping in an attempt to cope. Yesterday’s visit to Donner was followed with me going to bed at 5. I do not “look” depressed. No one does. If I “look” like anything, I randomly straightened my hair because chicks apparently have to do shit to their hair when they’re going through shit. It’s a thing.
The kids still need a mom, the house still needs cleaning, and I feel like every simple act is some kind of Herculean battle of wills. When depression is a problem, everything else starts too. Anxiety goes through the roof, intrusive thoughts are constant, and OCD becomes convinced if my exterior life is tidy, the shitstorm inside will get straightened up too.
Some things I’ve learned over the years:
-It is okay to not be okay. It is not okay to pretend you’re okay.
-Depression is a mood, it is not who you are.
-you didn’t “do” anything to make yourself depressed
-people who do not understand depression are some of the most well intentioned detriments to your sanity. If anyone suggests getting over it, there’s no reason to be sad, etc. extricate them from your life unapologetically until you feel like dealing with them.
-often, acts of service can help support you. Realistically, almost anything you do can be an act of service. Chasing service with gratitude helps.
-There’s no magical panacea to depression. It is one step in front of the other until you feel the sun again. Focus can be the North Star of getting out of this. Focusing on what you didn’t do will bring you more. Focusing on what you did do will also bring you more. You are your focus, depression is blurring your focus.
-The only person who knows how to take care of you is you, so listen. If you need help, ask. Your brain says not to, but your brain can be wrong. If you need proof, think of how many song lyrics you can remember versus the really important detail you weren’t supposed to forget.
-your brain also likes to tell you that you are alone and no one cares. Fine, let it be true, as long as you can remember that you’re never alone because you’re you and you’re experiencing depression, therefore you’re someone and you do care – even if it’s only to say this sucks and I hate it.
-it’s okay to shrink your world when you’re depressed. It’s okay to cancel plans. It’s okay to do what you need to do to care for yourself.
-it’s not okay to let others make you feel wrong or deficient. Those people do not belong in your life.
-it’s not okay to let others diminish your feelings into a “cry for help”. Cries for help are important and sometimes it’s all we got.
-suicidality, suicidal ideation, intrusive suicidal thoughts are uncomfortable norms that come
With depression. If, however, you are not feeling safe, if you are asking if you need help, the answer is always yes, you need help.
-You are you. Perfectly unique and wholly perfection. Depression is part of you as much as any aspect you like about yourself. Depression tends to bring introspection, empathy, and compassion. Often deep insights into wisdom and nature are found in the dark. Don’t reject yourself or your depression. It’s as much a part of you as your right arm.
-depression is the mind asking for help, respite, and healing.
-Depression is an invitation to heal. So many exist without questioning their inner monologues, the unconscious motivations and triggers that frame their lives. If you are – fortunate, yes fortunate, enough to realize the shallow, soulless, empty reality we are surrounded with, guided to consume our feelings away, then you do have an awareness and intuition that this life is not okay. You live in a deeper reality and you feel more. A blessing and a curse.
Last and most importantly:
Depression is the symptom of a sick society, not a sick you. You’re just not adjusting well, and you’re not supposed to. Your soul is speaking to you in the dark corner that has become your mind. Listen.
If you’re in a dark corridor, you’re not alone. I’m wandering around here too, straightening my hair and climbing mountains until I find myself again.