I, like many people, will get depressed. Everyone has good days and bad days, that’s life. String together a few bad days in a row, throw in extra anxiety and a string of bad days can begin to spiral. One bad day starts to fuel the next. I lose sight of the good things and the world gets a little bluer, a little duller. The things I should get done pile up leading to feeling overwhelmed and none of them get done making me feel worse.
Things become less important. Answering the phone when a friend calls feels like a chore. The question
“How are you?” becomes harder for me to answer with the socially expected “I’m Good.” Other people’s problems feel petty next to mine and other people’s joy hurts even more. I feel like can I deal with less so I do less, move less. I am comfortable in one chair, under one blanket, eating one food. It’s not that the world is closing in; I am closing out the rest of the world.
As I get deeper into a depression, the last pieces that are left are my routines. The habits that I do every day. The ones I have done since I was young. Getting up in the morning, breakfast, shower, brush teeth, work or school, home, TV, computer, read, sleep. The routine keeps me going. If the spiral continues even the habits take longer. Breakfast is dropped because it takes to much effort. Staying clean seems unessential. The more thinking that goes into something the less likely it is to get done.
Eventually all I am left with is sleep, TV, no prep food, and teeth brushing. I actually start to brush my teeth more. When I get the energy to go to the bathroom I’ll sit, whether number one or two, longer than I need to, I then brush my teeth. Maybe it’s the blurring of time or the stillness of watching hours of television simulating sleep. Or maybe it’s because brushing my teeth is the oldest habit instilled in me. Every night since I was two involved going to the bathroom, brushing my teeth then going to bed. That freshly brushed teeth feeling is associated with my own time. Reading books that sparked my imagination until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Turning out the lights and falling asleep dreaming about the things I read. It is these old routines that stick with me even through depression for me.
I’ve found the term “Bouts of Depression” very fitting. I have to fight depression to get out of it. It takes effort, what depression saps me from the most. The downward spiral that is my depression requires me to turn around and make the effort to climb back up. I must stop looking down toward the darkness turn towards the self that I want to be. I must realize how far I have gone down that spiral before I can head back up. Like any journey those first few steps are the hardest.
I have learned skills that have helped me get back to being myself. I wish when I was young that I had those skills. That I had gotten the help I could have made a difference back then. I will share in an upcoming post the tricks I use to help fight my depression.
If you are depressed, overwhelmed with life, struggling with big decisions or the world in general there are places and people that want to help you. You are never alone. Some ways to get help
List of places to go for help for many things
Minnesota Crisis Line 612-379-6363 or 866-379-6363
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255
Text “Listen” to 741-741