You know that person in your life that you just have to deal with because they never really go away? And, I truly mean, DEAL with them…
The person that drives you a little crazy. Maybe a LOT of crazy…
The person that makes you question your actions, decisions, and beliefs.
The person that is always ready to finish your sentence before you’re done speaking.
The person who is constantly reminding you that they are there – even when you don’t want to see them.
The person who is always ready to slam you onto the ground when you are not paying attention – or you finally take down your guard.
That’s how my depression works, anyway.
I wanted to title this blog about ways that I “cope” with my depression. But sometimes, I don’t really feel like I am coping. I definitely feel like I am “dealing” with my depression.
In my delightful spirit of overthinking things, let me share with you the definition of these words:
You see, dealing implies that the situation is more of a game. My battle with depression is never the same. Some days are harder than others.
Often days, I feel like I am making a pact with my depression. I am trying to make a compromise or accommodation for my mood and thoughts.
I am, after all, a work in progress, my darling!
So, what do I do when my depression is really freaking bad? Well, yesterday was a BAD day for me.
What does a bad day look like for me?
- My eyes are heavy.
- I am so tired that I can barely function.
- I am sick to my stomach.
- I feel like someone is standing on top of me – pushing me to the ground.
- I think of really deep, dark thoughts and situations and cry uncontrollably.
- I have no motivation.
- I am closed off and want to be left alone.
- I want to run away to a city where NO ONE knows me.
So, how do DEAL with a day like that? Here are (3) things that I do, nearly every single time, to ride through a bad day:
- I give myself permission to feel this way. In the past, I would feel guilt or shame for my depression. I would have this voice saying, “YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO BE SAD! You have a nice house. You have a loving son. You have a husband who supports your triathlon and coffee addictions. You have the BEST dog in the world. You have a job that you LOVE. GET OVER YOURSELF, ASHLEY.” That’s exactly how it went. But here is the real deal, honey. Depression doesn’t care what you do. Depression doesn’t care who loves you. Depression doesn’t care what house you live in. Depression doesn’t work that way. Depression is a chemical imbalance in your brain. Just like a diabetic patient who needs insulin to function and thrive, a person with depression needs intervention (via exercise, food, therapy, and/or medicine to function and thrive). So, I don’t let that guilt or shame win. I give myself permission to ride out these debilitating emotions, and then move onto step 2 and step 3 when I am ready.
- I don’t do shit. Yesterday, I had a LOT of work to do. I have a LOT of chapters to write to finish my book. I have a house that needs a LOT of cleaning. But yesterday, none of that was happening. I went to lunch by myself. I ate sushi in a corner by myself. Instead of going to work at a coffee shop, I walked my happy little ass over to the nail salon. I picked out the brightest orange color you’ve ever seen for my nails. I had a lovely manicure. Then, I decided to keep taking my time and got a pedicure. This dude gave me a hot stone massage and the absolute BEST foot massage of my life. I was afraid I was about to start making pleasure noises in that chair! HA! Then, I went home and laid on the couch with my dog until I had a spray tan. Then, I picked up Cooper and we watched movies until Justin came home to help pick up the slack. He cooked during while I laid in bed with horrible nausea. I ate butter bread for dinner and watched some scary shark movie with Cooper until I felt well enough to work on my client projects at 9 pm at night. NONE of what I just described is a typical day for me. But depression doesn’t care about typical or certain – so I gave myself time to deal with those emotions and the pain of depression.
- I force myself to tell people that I am in a dark place. This is the hardest one, and usually the last way I deal with my depression. This is typically easier for me when someone gives me their undivided attention and doesn’t give up on me. My default is to hide and run away when I am fighting depression. But, instead, I am learning through my therapy to speak up about when I am in a dark place. I told about (3) people yesterday that was in a bad, dark place. They ALL stopped everything and helped talk me through it all. They didn’t judge me because I didn’t have a “good reason” to feel that way. They didn’t tell me to “suck it up” and move on. They didn’t tell me I was acting ridiculous. They didn’t tell me anything hurtful or harmful to moving forward. Depression will tell you that you are alone in your pain and hurt. But you, my love, are NOT alone. You are surrounded by people who love you and want the best for you. But, it’s up to you to speak your truth and share your pain. NOTHING great is ever done alone. I’ve learned that the hard way, honey.
Everyone deals, or copes, with depression differently. I wish I could drop from the sky, wrap my arms around you, and squeeze you with a giant hug on your hard days. I’ve heard the benefits of a hug can last up to 2 full days! But honey, you have to learn to process your depression – or mental or physical health issue – in the way that works BEST for you.
So, give yourself permission to process what you’re feeling.
Those are (3) ways that I face this monster of depression. You are enough, my love, even on the hard days. You did enough at your house. You did enough at work. You gave enough to people you love. So make sure you give yourself enough, too.