The title of this blog post is reference to one of the best books I’ve read on depression: I Had A Black Dog; it’s short, to the point, and pretty much sums up exactly how I’ve felt when I’ve been depressed: It is exactly like having a Black Dog you wish would just piss off, but continues to linger around.
Depression. You either get it or you don’t – not literally get it – just understand it.
People who don’t ‘get it’ are constantly saying things like “it’s all in your head” and “everyone feels a bit down sometimes, it’s just how life is”, and while both statements are true neither are helpful.
Sure it is literally all ‘in my head‘, the thing is though, it’s MY head, and I know the difference between feeling a bit shit, and being depressed.
Down I can live with; it’s easy to pick myself out of down, I can look at failblog (or any of those other faceplam type sites for that matter) and it will make me laugh, I can also usually figure out straight away why I’m feeling a little shit.
Feeling depressed is something completely different though: everything is dark, everything just seems like a huge task, most of the time there isn’t a ‘real‘ reason for feeling so low, and the things that usually make me happy, or pick me up? Meh, I just can’t be bothered.
Depression for me, for lack of better wording is like being stuck in Groundhog day; everything is the same, and while having routine is a good thing as it helps me function, there is this underlying feeling that I’m merely existing, not really living and that gets real old real fast.
I’ve been feeling pretty depressed lately, probably the worst I have in a while. I’ve been going through extremes of wanting to cry all the time (at nothing in particular, and it seems even the littlest thing can set me off) and getting incredibly ragey at everything – no matter how small (like when the pizza delivery place forgot that I had asked to have the pineapple removed). When I get like this it’s really important that I remember the things that are going great in my life, as well as put steps in to place that will help me get out of the headspace I’m stuck.
For me Those are:
Talking to someone
Not everyone ‘gets it’, so it has taken a while to find someone I feel comfortable talking to. Luckily my mum has started working in the mental health sector and understands depression a lot more than she used to, I have found the most amazing counsellor (down side to that is that he is about an hour away and I hardly ever get to take the time off work to see him).
Sometimes doing this can be a mammoth task, and it seems like there is nothing worth being thankful for. If I try hard enough though, I can usually always find something to be grateful about (having food while people are starving, a roof over my head, internet access – it’s all about the little things).
Doing things for me
Sometimes it’s okay to be a little bit selfish, to say ‘no’ to doing things for other people and do things for myself (because I’m worth it). It’s times like this that I really need it.
The ‘up’ from buying things only lasts a little while, but I end up with something pretty in the end at least.
But most of all
Knowing I’ve been there before, knowing I’ve gotten out of it, and knowing that there are people around me who love me and want to make sure that I’m okay.