- Mental Health
How to Make Your Depression Worse
A guide to taking your depression to the next level
I know. Why on earth write a guide about how to make depression worse? Don't worry. If you've come to this page searching for information about living with depression or treating depression, you might find something to help you. This is not an attempt at internet trolling. I've dealt with depression for a long time and it has cost me a lot of joy, a lot of time and in many cases a lot of money. I know how horrible it is and have a desire to tell people what I've learned. Reflecting back on it, I always knew exactly how to make my depression worse. I'd like to show you the ways that I've made my depression worse and maybe you can learn from my mistakes. I don't like the term self help but I suppose you could consider this an “anti-self help” guide.
Stay home and sleep all day
This was and still is at times one of my coping strategies. I'd wake up and it'd be time for work and I'd say, “Screw this man. I'm staying in bed all day and listening to The Smiths or The Cure.” Maybe I'd sleep at least 10 hours a day as the rest of the world was working. I wouldn't necessarily wake up feeling very rested and you can bet that I'd be up all night pondering what was wrong with me and wishing I felt better. The next day the cycle would restart itself. It's like working the graveyard shift in a convenience store where the only thing being sold is your own misery and there is no chance anyone will come to shop or even rob the place to break up the monotony.
It wasn't always possible to set my jaw and “tough it out” but more often than not I'd feel better as the day went on and I'd feel pretty good once I got home for the day. It was always hard to remind myself of these times though and I can't pretend I usually “toughed it out” with the hope I'd feel better. I can tell you exactly what staying home and sleeping all day did for me though. It cut me off from social interaction, natural light and put me in danger of losing my job with every day I missed. It can do the same for you.
Don't take your treatment seriously
There is no way around the fact that speaking with a therapist can be pretty damn uncomfortable and painful. Sometimes there were just things I knew my therapist was going to ask me about that I just didn't want to talk about. Maybe I'd been missing a lot of work and sleeping all day and just didn't want to admit to anyone that I'd suffered a relapse. I'd cancel the appointment and wait a long time to set up another one or not set one up at all.
Maybe I'd forget to take my medication, just decide to stop taking it or not be honest with my psychiatrist about whether my medication was working or if I was taking it in the first place.
If you take your treatment seriously even though it may not be pleasant or work right away, there is a chance you'll get better. It isn't a sure thing though. If you play it fast and loose with your treatment, you make not getting better pretty much a sure thing.
In the throes of a serious depression, the thought of dressing myself or even moving one leg as part of the process of getting out of bed was as tiring as a 5 mile run. In my experience with depression, I learned a couple of years ago that getting out and going running was a very potent anti-depressant. I can honestly say I never found myself feeling worse after a few miles on my feet. I would often find myself laying in bed or sitting at my computer trying to will myself to leave my house and go running. I would lose that battle most of the time. I'd just say, “Screw it. It's pointless. I won't be able to make it very far.”
No exercise means no release of mood lifting endorphins. It means no sense of accomplishment. It could also mean weight gain which could do wonders to make you feel worse. If you aren't quite to the next level with your depression, avoiding exercise as much as possible might just get you there pretty damn quick.
Keep a job that you hate
I hated my job. If I even had a hint of a sniffle, I'd stay home from work. It seemed pointless to me. I had no desire or ambition to move up from the position I had. I sure as hell didn't want to quit my job, go through the process of looking for a new one and then find another one that I hated just as much. I stayed put.
The key with this one is you've got to convince yourself that you're stuck. You must believe that there is no possible escape and things will remain as they are forever. You'll know that you're doing things right when you come home from 8 hours of work and you go right to sleep.
Be self absorbed
Stay in your own head. Wonder constantly about your purpose in life. Dwell on what others might be thinking of you. That's what I did. I didn't reach out to others. Being in my own head all the time kept me focused on the things that made me sad or insecure.
Bill Murray as Phil Connors in Groundhog Day finally broke the cycle of being stuck in the same day over and over again by reaching out to other people. Reaching out to others takes your mind off your own pain and your own insecurities. Don't be Phil Connors. Not if you want to make your depression worse.
Getting to the next level with your depression really isn't so hard but it does take commitment. How committed are you to misery?