I’ve had almost a full week of Doom, Gloom and Utter Depression. I pulled out of it for an hour or two here and there, but mostly I’ve been right down in it. Unfortunately this is not a rare occurrence for me. I’ve struggled with anxiety/depression for as long as I can remember. So, of course, my “story” is that I struggle with anxiety/depression… I’m going to work on changing that story, but not today. Today I want to write to the Me who is enmeshed in Doom, Gloom and Utter Depression.
Doomy, Gloomy and Utterly Depressed? Read this!!
Oh sweet pea, I’m sorry you’re having a Hard Time. If you’re reading this you’re probably just starting to feel the slide into the muck, or, maybe you are all the way in it. I know it is hard and scary and exhausting and makes you feel hollow and horrible and that is before you start beating yourself up about feeling that way.
Here are some things to remember:
- No matter how horrible this feels today, it isn’t going to last forever. I promise. It just doesn’t work that way. You will pull out of this and come out on the other side where things look a bit brighter.
- Beating yourself up for having these feelings seems “appropriate” (“Other people don’t have this problem, what is wrong with me? Snap out of it!”) but totally isn’t. Would you attack someone else who is struggling with depression/anxiety/whatever? No, you wouldn’t. Try to give yourself an ounce of the compassion that you give others.
- Sometimes this stuff is really just bio-chemical and sometimes it is really, truly emotional and it helps when you figure out what exactly is going on this time. Because if it is just bio-chemical, you could look at whether something has changed in your medications/sleep schedule/environment that could be causing this Hard Time. If it is truly emotional, though, no amount of medication/sleep/alcohol/sex/reading/internet use is going to “fix” anything. You’re going to need to feel the feelings (I know, I know, it sucks….) before things will start to get better.
- It is important to feel your feelings without judging yourself for having them. What good does that do? Really, drop the judgement and feel the feelings. You have permission.
- If you still don’t think you have permission to feel your feelings, no matter what they are, then try giving yourself written permission – maybe on a popsicle stick or sticky note.
- If you are isolating (and I know you pretty well, so I’m guessing you are isolating yourself) consider not doing that. Who could you hang out with safely? Who do you know who wouldn’t judge you, tell you to snap out of it, make you explain yourself or be super perky? Find that person.
- Honey, are you avoiding some Big, Bad Awful Thing that you Don’t Want To Do and/or Even Think About Because It Is Too Big Bad and Awful? (And beating yourself up for avoiding it?) (Thereby making it Even Worse?) This would not be unprecedented…If you think this might be what is going on, you might want to try to write about it, draw it in all of it’s ugliness and awfulness so you can get a handle on it, try to break it down into itty-bitty bite-sized pieces, imagine how you will feel when it is done already (!) and off your mind. Things are rarely as Big, Bad and Awful as they seem to be.
- Remember this is Now, not Then. What is different about Now?
These things sometime work to make things feel less awful:
- Seek out sunshine (are you taking your Vitamin D?)
- Listen to music that makes you happy.
- Cry. Aggressively.
- Watch the Jessica videos (“I Like My Stuff!” and “You ok, you fine”)
- Take a bubble bath.
- Go for a walk. Yes, I’m suggesting that you leave the house….
- Get the mail.
- Call your sassy, virgo sister.
- Scream and yell and cuss for a few minutes.
- Write. I know you don’t feel like writing, write anyway. Dude, it always helps.
- Do laundry.
- Take yourself to a movie.
- Read some Hafiz.
- Locate and consume chocolate.
- Take a nap. For real.
- Do just one thing.
And, Kim, remember that it is okay. It really is. Everything is part of everything else, nothing is wasted.
Sooooooooooooooo, as I wrote this I realized that I have a multitude of things going on this week that might explain my Doom, Gloom and Utter Depression. First, physical stuff: Hormone Hell + no anti-depressant for 4 days + not sleeping. Always a recipe for disaster. Emotionally: well, Mom is out of town, so I’m alone in my house which is both awesome and sad because it makes me think of a time when she won’t ever be around. And I’m avoiding at least two Big Bad Awful Things that I really need to address, but can’t even bring myself to name here. And my son is going to college soon….? And Mom’s good friend Joan died. Which is sad for all the regular reasons but also horrifying because Joan had cancer, then she went into remission, then this winter she got a brain tumor, had surgery, felt better and now she has passed away. It’s all a little too close to home. And Mom is so, so sad…. So, yes, I’m SAD, dammit! And Mom has her MRI next week and I’m SCARED, dammit. I’m afraid to make any plans whatsoever because I don’t know what is going to happen — either she has more brain mets and has to have Gamma Knife again (and then what?) or she doesn’t and she either gets into a Clinical Trial (long-shot) or goes back to chemotherapy (which makes her feel like shit.) And, of course, there is the little issue of what I’m doing with my life….? Oh, and our lease will be up here soon and we haven’t decided whether we are moving, so, basically, everything is up in the air. And I hate moving. Anyway. It’s a lot.
I’m going on a mission for chocolate.