“I didn’t want my picture taken because I was going to cry. I didn’t know why I was going to cry, but I knew that if anybody spoke to me or looked at me too closely the tears would fly out of my eyes and the sobs would fly out of my throat and I’d cry for a week. I could feel the tears brimming and sloshing in me like water in a glass that is unsteady and too full.” ~Sylvia Plath
For years depression was something I just lived with. Eventually, depression was dealing with me. Like any other disease that goes untreated, it nearly killed me. I have learned a lot about myself since first getting professional help. I have discovered how to listen to my mind and what it is saying instead of always trying to turn it off.
I am not a fan of lists. They seem restrictive and sometimes oversimplify the most complex situations. But I made one for myself and thought I would share it with my blogging family. I hope it helps someone else avoid getting lost inside depression.
1) CERTAIN MUSIC – The one thing I do when I get depressed is gravitate towards music about sadness, loneliness, heartbreak, betrayal, and brokenness. I would relate to the words and feel less alone. Music was my escape. I would put on my headphones and lie in my closet floor and try to forget the world. My mind would be momentarily silent and I would live inside someone else’s depression.
I have learned there is a difference between listening to a few sad songs and living on them. For instance, at one point, I had my headphones stuck in my ears nearly every waking moment simply to drain out my own thoughts. Not only was I avoiding my problems, I was missing out on important dialog with family and friends. Listening to sad music non-stop kept me stuck in my cycle of depression; feeding it.
Now I am careful what kind of music I listen to and for how long. Music is a great mood lifter, adjuster, enhancer, and suppressant but like medicine you need the right dose to have the desired effect.
A happy song 🙂
2) WITHDRAWING – I want to shut everyone out. I mentally straight jacket my mind from communicating with friends when depressed. Blogging has been a perfect place to just be me (good, bad, and ugly). People who want to read can and those who don’t want to can move along. I don’t feel like I am laying the responsibility of my depression on someone else and burdening them. Blogging gives me that sense of community I need when all I want to do is disconnect and hide.
3) BEING LAZY – I try to continue with my normal routine. So much to do; so little time. When depressed I want to sleep but I often feel worse because I wasn’t productive. I feel more behind and more worthless. I know from experience I will just feel worse if I let depression convince me I just need to sleep.
However, sleep is important. When I was at my most depressed I would sleep at odd times and often times had trouble sleeping because my mind was too active. I would lie in bed trying to sleep, convinced I was too tired to live, and I would think about all the things I needed to do. Once I started getting back to a normal sleeping schedule things got better.
4) POOR EATING – Three things can happen when I am depressed. If I am very depressed I won’t eat. I will fix dinner for my family and convince myself I am too tired, too fat, or too sad to eat. I can go a few days like this. Usually, the next phase is worse. I will convince myself I don’t matter, who cares what I look like, and screw the world I will eat what I want to (normally anything in my path). Overeating always leads to being more depressed and I will then slip into the third phase and usually starve a short time then cave and eat something easily accessible. Fast food trips increase in the last two phases.
5) SOCIAL MEDIA – I am OCD besides being susceptible to depression, so social media is a double edged sword for me. Sometimes social media is what causes my depression. There are so many amazing and talented people I am honored to know, and yet at times I find I am comparing myself to them. I convince myself I am just plain. Nothing special. Knowing when to take a break from social media is the key. I am not including blogging as social media though, some things I am just too addicted to.
6) DRINKING– For about a year I drank socially. Sometimes I would drink too much. Ha, I was only kidding myself. I drank to feel better. I drank to avoid emotions. I drank for the “I don’t give a poop” perspective. I drank for the courage. I would drink and then I would feel bad. Alcohol is a depressant; it uses up serotonin and dopamine our brains use to regulate our mood. So yep, it is a no brainer to stay away from alcohol.
7) CERTAIN PEOPLE – People who have hurt me in the past seem to pop into my mind and take over. I don’t know why. Recently, I find I avoid emotional connections because my mind uses these heartaches against me when I am depressed. What did I do wrong? Why can’t they love me for me? Am I so bad they are better off avoiding me? I could feel pages with my inner dialog and in many ways I have. I have over 1,000 posts on my blog to prove it. At least, while depressed it does me good to avoid certain people and even places for that matter.
The list above is only my opinion, my insight. Sometimes, it just helps us to write and blogging gives our writing a second purpose.
May all our tears be from laughter.
“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.” ~ David Foster Wallace