- Mental Health
Sometimes, the clouds are unavoidable...
Depression and anxiety are polar opposites
Picture your mental health like a pendulum. On the one extreme, there's anxiety, where you can almost feel the heat coming off your brain for all the thoughts that are bouncing around. The energy level involved with anxiety is almost stunning, but you don't necessarily get a lot done because you're wondering what could possibly happen to throw you off your game plan.
On the other end of the spectrum is depression. You may not necessarily have anything terribly "wrong" with you or your life, but there's that stray thought or belief that comes through that will totally uproot you for days.
When you deal with anxiety and depression, you hope for those days when you're at a nice equilibrium, but that doesn't always happen and the storm could come before you realize exactly what's going to set you off.
I was there myself, just a couple of days ago, and I didn't fully expect it. You would think that you could control the thought, but all it takes is a few seconds for it to spin and then BOOM!
I got hit with the BOOM last night. I was walking around. That's it. I was tired, but that's nothing new. I try to be positive, but this was one time where I felt myself forcing the positivity.
What was wrong?
I had no idea.
That was the problem. There didn't have to be a problem for my depression to flare up, but there it was, and I was almost on the verge of tears as I was hit with it.
And it was that easy.
Forgiveness when you're depressed? HA!
One of the biggest issues with depression is that it becomes very difficult to forgive yourself. You think there's got to be something wrong with yourself, or if something is going well for yourself, you start wondering if there is going to be something that goes wrong and start anticipating what could happen.
You also don't realize that forgiveness is not required - although forgiving yourself is probably one of the best things you can do. Being depressed isn't a flaw; it's a genetic imbalance, whether you like it or not. You sit there wondering why you got stuck with being depressed when you have nothing to be depressed about, and then you start wondering why you're so messed up in the first place.
I've never understood why depression exists - and no, I'm not talking about simply being sad. Sadness can be fleeting, and sorrow can be even more profound, but depression can immobilize those with it for months. The most frightening experience I've ever had with depression was being so bone exhausted that I could not even get out of bed without a great deal of physical pain. I've never experienced anything like that since then.
Thankfully, I've been able to pull myself out of the occasional bout of depression that I've had descend on me, but each and every time it happens, I have to wrestle with it, and train myself to continue working through life when all I want to do is crash back into bed and pull the covers over my head.
Then I start kicking myself for even feeling that way - I've never been a quitter, and each time that feeling falls on me, I feel like doing exactly that. It's like everything goes a little gray when that feeling hits me, and I hate that.
I'm a Tigger personality - I don't let very much slow me down - and when I end up with that dark cloud hovering over my head, my bounce becomes a little lower, and that's so not Tigger.
Depression Ain't Pretty
How have you dealt?
What's been your strategy for coping with depression?
It may look obvious...but it may not.
I'm a lucky one
Thankfully, in my case, depression appears to be somewhat fleeting, so I'm able to work hard and get past it. Not so many other people are so lucky.
I'm not saying that everything is perfect, but I'm blessed with good friends who do ask me what's going on when I'm not behaving like myself. These are good people who have my back and while I'm sure sometimes it's a bit aggravating for them having to deal with me living with anxiety and depression and the many emotional ups and downs that can go with it, I'm very fortunate that they care enough to check in and make sure that everything's all right.
Depressed people don't always know what's wrong, and when depression kicks in the person can become entirely different, and that's the challenge. It's hard to remember to reach out when you're dealing with depression but you've got to keep reaching out to the people who've got your back and pull yourself up out of the darkness.
It may happen again, but depression is something that can be beaten, each and every time, so long as you keep reaching out and trying to talk about it. The clouds do eventually vanish, and it's your friends and family that will help you get there.