Everyone treats depression like it is a bad thing, and something we should fight to fix, or get over.
There is societal shame in admitting that we are held in the arms of depression and it won’t let us go.
But… what if we just accepted our depression. What if we were open about it?
Having lived now with chronic low level depression and dips into deep levels, over the last 10 years- I can tell you that the years it was worst, were the early years of dealing with it when I felt shame and guilt for, and on top of- being tired, and weepy and not wanting to do much.It was worst when I hid it from people and still tried to act like everything was A-OK.
What if depression is our body telling us to slow the fuck down?
What if we just honored our body’s signals and we just slowed down a bit?
Be it due to past deep hurts we need to grieve, or burnout from a stressful life situation… or, brain chemistry we can’t control stuck on low burn in our body…
What if, rather than feeling guilty and trying to keep up- Trying to heavily medicate our depression and our shame and guilt away- We just accepted that we are depressed, and opened up about it and just figured out how to navigate life better while we are depressed?
People are all over fat shaming and encourage being “body positive” these days… Well. It’s time to call out depression shaming and encourage some Depression Embracing!
- What if, between the crying days, we nurtured ourselves and looked for small tiny ways to have some joy, anyway?
- What if we chose to drop the guilt and the shame and stopped getting upset with ourselves just because after a relatively good day, we have yet another weepy day? Why do we minimize the importance of the good day, just because we had another bad day?
- What if we start drinking our morning smoothie, or lemon water from a wine glass every day? Seems small, maybe even silly! But if you feel fancy doing that… why not?
- What if while taking a bath, we just don’t care if we cry in the tub the whole time?
- What if… for at least 20 seconds as we laid in the tub while depressed and crying, we noticed that split second of feeling good, and we said hello to it- rather than feel guilty for crying through it, and not feeling that more often?
5 7 things you can do to accept your depression, drop the fucking guilt and feel less shitty day to day.
1. First, realize you are not the only depressed person in the world.
I am not telling you this in a negative way. I want you to know that you are not alone. There are a shit tonne of us out here, depressed just like you are-Living life.
We are buying our groceries, and taking the kids to soccer, and standing in front of you in the bank. We might even be having a good day and be the one laughing with our friend while we eat lunch together. We are a silent club, and no one really knows the other club members…but know that you are not alone.
When we are depressed it can feel like we are drowning in a lonely sea of happy (& fucking judgmental) people who have all the answers. We think this so much that we convince ourselves that everyone we see looking at us, is judging us. But, I can tell you this… at least some of those people are depressed too, and looking at you, thinking the exact same thing you are thinking about them!
So, remind yourself of that, and the anxiety will start to lessen as you realize that depression lies to us to keep us down.
2. “What you need to do is, is just…” “What do you have to be depressed about?” “Don’t you know there are other people who have it much worse than you!” “Just exercise more” “Focus on being happy and you will be!” Sound familiar?
Yeah!… fuck that shit, right?
Those seemingly happy and judgmental assholes in our lives who are vocal about our depression to us… they are usually telling us this stuff out of ignorant genuine concern. Often it just makes us feel like we are being blamed for our depression, like we are choosing this shitty way of life. But, understand that it’s coming from a good place, even if they sound like a totally heartless bastard.
I can tell you, they do not know just how much of an asshole they sound like. Telling you these things makes them feel better, even if it makes you feel like shit. These people around us usually are feeling helpless too and they don’t know how to help us. Remember this, and cut them some slack, and don’t feel worse for their shitty advice.
If it comes down to it, tell them how their “helpful” advice makes you feel, and tell them to shove it up their ass. Plain and simple.
3. You cannot control depression any more than a person can control getting the flu and puking and shitting all over themselves on the bathroom floor. But, while you are depressed you can do things to make it less hard on you while you are going through it- just like people with the flu do things to make being sick with the flu less difficult.
If we can comfort the flu….we can comfort depression!
Like the flu, you gotta ride the bad days out. Rest more. Back out of the plan with “I’m feeling under the weather today, I just need to rest” It’s not a lie, don’t feel guilty for it.
Take regular naps. If you work shift work, schedule no more than 2 days in a row and rest on the in between days. It takes a lot of energy to do day to day stuff when your brain chemistry is working against you.
4.Do things to bring the depression up to a manageable level.
Cut the sugary crap foods that fast feed your brain short lived energy, and then seek more a short time later.It is a vicious cycle that does NOTHING good for a depressed system. Try going LCHF and supporting your hormones and brain chemistry the best you can. I know it sounds like BS…I would not have believed it myself if i had not seen remarkable improvements in my own depression and Anxiety since I went LCHF 4 years ago. What once kept me on the couch in my housecoat all day staring at the weather network…is now just a mild meh I can manage to talk myself through most of the time. Movement/light exercise, Vit D, Vit B’s and real healthy foods will help lift depression.
See a Doctor and get medication if it is necessary
Don’t feel shame or guilt for needing a medication to get you through the hardest depressions. Even if the medication only lifts you up into the grey from the dark black depressive hole…You are accepting your depression now and you know that medication is not a magic pill- It is not going to cure you. But, it will help you navigate the bad days better, until you can manage them with better coping skills on your own later, and that’s a good thing.
Please know… If you are feeling suicidal… that requires immediate attention and you should not feel shame for needing it!
Unlike the flu like depression- Suicidal thoughts is the “I fell out of the boat, and I’m drowning with a brick tied on my foot, and I need a life jacket and a lifeguard to save me RIGHT NOW” depression. Put the life jacket on!
5. Talk to a therapist on an ongoing basis. Not to FIX or cure your depression, but to have a non judgmental person to talk it out with. Get shit off your chest to keep the guilt and shame low during your depression. It’s hard enough to get out of bed everyday with depression. Feeling like a shitty person on top of it is no help.
If you can’t see a therapist, find a support group. Perhaps an in person one your doctor can set up for you, or hey… online even! There are lot of FB groups for depression that are private and you will see that you are not alone, and even find others who understand exactly how you feel.
6. Create something every day! Even if you don’t feel like it. Pick up a paintbrush, a pencil, even a crayon. Play a video game, play a musical instrument, color in a coloring book. Do something that gave you joy in the past and just do a little of it everyday. Find one good moment in your day everyday and write it down in a journal.
Don’t think you’re suddenly going to be happy… you’re not. You are distracting the depression for a few minutes and looking to feel that split second of joy- even if that is all you feel. one.split.second.
Say hello to that split second of joy, and be ok with it. like trying to tame a cute chipmunk in your back yard… be patient and feed your joy… eventually, a little at a time, it will show up for longer periods of time.
7. Give yourself some credit, will ya?!
You live with depression, and you find ways every day to get the things done that need doing! That is pretty fucking amazing!
So, pamper yourself a little now and again, and feel proud of the fact that you are doing it!
Those happy people who breeze through a day like it’s nothing…. that’s not an accomplishment… it’s just easy breezy shit.
Doing that same stuff they do everyday, and doing it while depressed makes you a pretty-fucking- awesome person!
So… I’ll ask you again.
What if you just accepted your depression?!
The Jaded Optimist is a Canadian living with chronic depression, accepting it and choosing happiness anyway for the last 10 years. You can read more on her blog www.alifeungrained.ca
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