Depression is a very deceptive disease. You could be having the time of your life on Tuesday, but come Wednesday morning, “the darkness” comes over you. Who do you tell? What do you do? You were the life of the party last night, who is going to believe you that there is anything wrong with you today? Two weeks ago I began to experience the darkness. I have come to a point in my life where I can actually feel my mood changing. It’s just a certain feeling that comes over me, and I think to myself, “It’s coming. I am about to crash”. First thing I do is warn my husband. He needs to know that any mood swings or possibly confusing behavior is not due to something he has done.
So, it’s here. What’s next? Get out of bed? No. Take a shower? No. Get something done? No.
Feel guilty about every single bad thing you have ever done in your life, and add on to that the fact that the house needs to be cleaned and the dishes need to be done, so you are worthless? Check.
Honestly, that is exactly how I feel. The guilt hovers over me and takes control over all of my thoughts. I try very hard to tell myself that until this passes, the “to do” lists will have to be much smaller. Today, I will somehow at some point take a shower. I have all day, right?
It’s too much, I can’t do that today. I just need to stay in this bed right now. I promise, I’ll do it tomorrow. I am bargaining with my guilt.
As a person who has gone through this for more than 20 years, I find it more and more difficult to reach out and say, today is a bad day, please help. I ought to be a pro, but I find that people begin to develop their own opinions and stereotypes as to why I am acting this way. “She is so selfish, she is just trying to get attention.” Or my favorite, “She’s just lazy”. Yes, please direct all of your attention this way. Let’s tell everyone how I haven’t left the house in weeks, and I can barely take a shower every 4 days. That’s not humiliating at all.
We’ve all been taught coping mechanisms for situations such as this, but do they actually work? In my experience, there is a 50/50 shot that watching a funny movie, or lighting my favorite candle are going to be the solution to all of my problems. I’ve heard it all before, but people just need to understand that there will be days in a depressed person’s life that they cannot just snap out of it, or lighten up.
When the darkness does find its way into your life, brace yourself for what is to come, but try something new. Try to be optimistic. Don’t obsess over how bad you are feeling. Whatever you do, don’t try to make yourself an 8 page to do list hoping that accomplishing it will make you feel better.
ONE TASK. That is all. As your mood starts to lift, make it 2, and so on. Take a moment to stop and feel.
Be in that moment and tell yourself, out loud if you have to, “I feel OK right now” or “I am so sad”. These feelings are OK for you to experience.
If I leave you with nothing else this time around, let me leave you with this. It’s going to be OK. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, or what anyone has to say about you. It will be OK. One step at a time.