Trying to understand depression and how it should be managed or overcome is something that comes up a lot. I realized that we all face our own version of it, triggered by different pasts and having unique sources of comfort. I just wanted to share some thoughts about what my version of depression looks like.
Between Jobs and Milestones
I am currently at home, having been laid off from a job and working towards starting a business that has yet to see validating success. Getting knocked down emotionally during this phase is extra difficult. Sometimes a busy life and the structure of a work environment just numbs the mind and time passes more easily. I am responsible myself for maintaining some structure in my life. On my down days, I slack off (happening a lot more often than it should), slow down and feel better. But the aftermath feels really bad because that is just procrastination and not needed down time after a while.
The Little Things
I am generally an emotional roller coaster. It takes little things to get me feeling very upbeat and then to knock me really far down too. Already feeling down just amplifies the negative side of this. A little rejection feels like life is failing or it is easy to cry over literally spilt milk.
Anger, Crankiness, Frustration, Sadness, Hopelessness
There are so many emotions that manifest themselves in a phase of depression. Depending on what is happening, perhaps events, hormones, or subconscious thoughts can trigger reaction – whatever pushes them I feel all of these in turn.
Faking a Sick Day
A friend of mine recently told me that she lied and took a sick day because she was feeling really down. She felt like she really needed it but felt guilty about taking it. I firmly spoke against the idea. Feeling mentally down and unable to function is a type of “sick” and a legitimate reason for a sick day. Recuperating from this is not always as concrete as “stay home, eat tylenol and take lots of fluids”. My doctor did say before trying anything else, first try to do whatever you can to make yourself happy (within reason). That treatment and self care is important.
It is incredibly difficult to focus and get things done. Writing this post was a long process and focusing was indeed difficult. But I figured it was better to share something choppy about what was going through my head rather than not doing anything at all.
I cannot really talk about it.
It is hard to talk about and I usually start with vague comments which are not enough for the people around me to decipher. Lately, I started to test out voicing that when I was not feeling great, acknowledging at least that PMS was bringing me down and perhaps a bit more. I reverted to that when I felt like people were pushing me too hard. Some people gave me space but others were persistent in finding out more and offering solutions. When it comes to myself, I am one of the persistent kind of people for those around me, which I know is not something one is alway ready to take on.
But I am a happy person?
I did a survey among a few of my friends. Simple as the question “Are you happy?” And the answer without too much thought, “yes” or “no” – no explanations. The responses varied but I heard “no” more often than I would have liked. When I asked myself the same question, the answer was yes. I would say I am happy though I am currently in a phase where that confuses me.
On the Spectrum
I know that my level of depression is not that bad. There are people out there who suffer much much worse of it. Even if you know that, acknowledge the onset of depression as significant and something to be worked at. Because left to its own, it can grow but instead we can do something about it. And even in a mild form, its effect on your life can be damaging, especially in the long term. It can affect relationships, productivity, accomplishments, energy level, other aspects of mental health, physical health, motivation levels, and your overall quality of life.
What Do I Need
I need to give myself a sense of purpose, some strong discipline, and keep my days busy. These are the things I must remember and hold on to, so that I don’t forget who I am and want to really be, as I pass through these phases. Just taking it one moment at a time works best. Being present in the moment is critical for 1) not letting depression take over my life and priorities, and 2) prevents overthinking and loading up on the worries of the past and the future. I could do a better job of actually being present. I am trying to accomplish this with my journaling initiative, now maintained for more than 30 days!
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