Research shared by the World Health Organization indicates rates of depression are on the rise. I don’t doubt it. I’d bet we all know more people than we think who are dealing or have dealt with depression. Perhaps you have. Maybe your teen has. I have.
Today’s post offers a few ponderings on depression. I offer a caveat as well: One person’s experience with depression may be very different than another’s, and there is no one way to approach it, view it, manage it, recover, etc. I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV. From scraping the bottom of the barrel and making my way back to health, I offer thoughts on what I’ve learned along the way. As with any thoughts on depression or other health-related matters, take what serves and leave the rest. And do what feels right for you.
I couldn’t just change what I ate. What I was eating with not helpful to me by and large (and fed into tumbling into and staying in the depressive state), though changing things felt too hard. Trying to make myself change what I ate was coming from a push/fight energy. I couldn’t just change my thoughts and “pull myself up by my bootstraps” — that, too, felt too hard.
I needed to start in a place that felt safer. I needed to start to let some emotions out. Until I let them out, I couldn’t learn to deal with/manage them. I also needed to find a thought that felt safe and not too far away, though that was in a bit of a healthier direction. “Everyone is a hot mess sometimes” fit the bill. That and “Life is messy” — neither told me I needed to be anywhere different than I was. And until I quit fighting where I was, I wasn’t going to be able to be somewhere else, change anything up, tweak what wasn’t working. Start on the path to healing.
If you are supporting someone, be the model. Put real food in front of them. Give hugs if they’re open to being hugged. Try to feel inside of you the idea that they are exactly where they need to be — because it’s where they are. And they are not broken or failing. They are human-ing. And they are in the midst of some big learning. The more you can feel and see this for them, the more they are likely to see it to.
Depression didn’t happen out of the blue. It was a choice of sorts, a choice to not listen to myself. And that’s not to say it was intentional or to blame myself. It’s to see that the decision to listen exclusively to those outside of myself ended up not serving me well. And it led to/fed into a downward cycle. (What we hear around us is words/ideas/thoughts/possibilities — things we can take in if we want, though don’t have to — our reality is built on what we take in.) And in having a choice, I could choose something different, if I wanted to, once I realized I didn’t like it where I was.
A death of sorts is in believing one doesn’t have choice. It feels bad to us not because we don’t actually have a choice but because somewhere inside of us knows we always have choices available. And to believe otherwise rubs that knowing part raw because we always have choices, options, possibilities — when we’re looking/open.
If something isn’t working for you, makes you want to scream, leaves you feeling poorly about yourself and helpless/hopeless, feels like it requires an undue amount of effort — quit doing it. Seriously. Quit doing it.
You may need to start with medication. Or not. You may want to try therapy. Or not. You may not feel capable of making a decision. It’s okay. Start wherever you can, whatever feels a teeny tiny bit open. Just a hair. A hair is more than plenty.
You are not failing and you can’t fail. There are no Fs at life.