Depression is a horrible thing to experience.
I’m not talking about just “having a bad day.” That sucks too but it’s not as all consuming and terrifying as depression.
As someone who has struggled with depression I wanted to take some time to provide whatever insight or help I can to you if you find yourself surrounded by the dark heavy clouds of depression.
The reason I’m writing this now is because last night I got a glimpse back into that dark world of depression. It’s been years since I’ve lived with constant, debilitating depression but every now and then I get a taste of it again and it reminds me about how bad it was.
So back to last night…
I found myself in my bedroom, under the covers, door shut, lights off and noise maker on at 8:00 p.m. We had just got back from going out to eat and my family was still up and having a good time. My sister was visiting from out of town and so it was weird that I would go hide in my bedroom to go be alone and sad.
But I did. I just wanted to run away. My wife asked what was going on and I could tell if I talked for more than 30 seconds it would start a fight. Not because I was mad at her but because I was so depressed. I was just in a horrible mood.
I said something stupid to her like, “I’m just in a bad mood, OK? Am I not allowed to be in a bad mood?”
She left me alone and I retreated to the bedroom to sulk and meditate on every negative thing in my life.
I thought about not having enough money, about living in such a cold, rainy place, about how hard it has been for us to buy our first house, about how hard it is to get work done now that we’re living out in the country where internet is slow. And on and on.
I’d like to say I suddenly remembered all the good books and teachings I’ve heard over the years about positivity and gratitude. But I didn’t.
I just got sucked into this dark vortex and the more I felt sad the more power it had to pull me down deeper. I cried a little and wanted to cry more but I felt like I couldn’t even do that right. “I even suck at crying,” I thought. Man, what a loser.
But here I am, 12 hours later and I’m sitting at my favorite coffee shop feeling like today may be a good day.
However, I also sense that depression is lurking just around the corner. It’s like he’s sitting there with a sinister smile saying, “That’s ok, I’ll just wait until later today when you realize your life still sucks and then we can cuddle again on your bed.”
So right now I have a choice. I can choose to resist negative thoughts about me and my life. I can choose to smile at people even if I feel like a phony. I can choose to exercise and eat healthy today even if I don’t feel like it. And most of all, I can choose to be around people.
And I’m thankful for having the power to choose. Because last night, when I felt overwhelmed by depression, I didn’t feel like I had a choice. It was like those dark, sad emotions were no match for any thoughts or decisions.
It was probably a lie.
For example, if I decided to go be around people, or go for a walk or read something positive, I may have snapped out of it. But depression told me none of that crap would work. But I think he was lying.
Anyway, all I know is that today is a new day. I woke up at 5:30 a.m. even though I didn’t feel like it so I could go do CrossFit. After I worked out and showered I felt better. And now that I’ve had breakfast and coffee life seems even more promising.
But I’m on alert. I’m making a conscious effort today to think about what I’m thinking about. I can’t afford to play around with any negative thoughts or emotions because I’m concerned depression will seize the opportunity and take me down.
So if you’re reading this and you’re trying to find your way out of a dark hole I just want you to know three things:
- Tomorrow is a new day. No matter how bad it gets today you get a new slate tomorrow.
- Don’t entertain negative thoughts as much as possible.
- If you feel overwhelmed by depression don’t try to “think your way out of it.” Instead just do something different. Like go around people, call someone, go for a walk, exercise, etc. Basically do everything I should have done last night. 🙂
I hope this helps.