Thursday, July 26, 2012

On Depression


I left the house today. It's not the first time in weeks or anything. But it is the first time in days that I thought I should leave the house and look nice.

Partly, this is because all my fall-back clothes are dirty. But also, I wanted to look better. I put in my eyebrow gel and swiped on lipgloss. I wore a good bra and covered my tired eyes with giant sunglasses. I pulled on decent clothes that aren't too big for me and stepped into the light.

All I did was spend 40 minutes at the library, but it helped. It helped to be out of the house without errands and lists and a strict budget. It helped to look like I cared about more than chocolate, The Young & the Restless and naps at noon. It helped to feel a breeze on my skin that was under 100 degrees and to be among the world outside that keeps turning in my absence.

I have been having one of those weeks where everything feels heavy. Like life is too much for me. Cooking, bathing, thinking, moving, doing; all felt like too much. Sure, I've gotten some things done, but just the day-to-day basics. Nothing new or different or fun or fascinating. Sometimes, too often, all I can manage is what's easy. Whatever I've done a million times - even if it hurts me.

I had a moment earlier in the week. I was reading an article on happiness that talked about the importance of having a mission. It struck me (as stuff like this so often does, when I'm not expecting a revelation) that I've never really had any long-standing positive missions in life.

For decades my main goal has been "getting through this." Not living or exploring or growing, but making sure I don't succumb to my overwhelming negativity. Not jumping out the sixth floor window of my college residence hall room. Not taking the blades out of my razor and using them for something harder than shaving. Not staying in bed all day and crying.

This article also said that for happiness we need an atmosphere of growth. And when we have a mission we create that atmosphere for ourselves.

No wonder I'm still sad about so much. Still stuck and confused and wandering the Earth with my hands tied behind my back. If your only mission is to not die, that doesn't allow for much growth unless you reside (unfortunately) in a war zone.

So, now what? I feel a bit lighter today; oddly enough, only after writing a lot about depression. And, I've turned off the TV for hours to be alone with my thoughts. How can I flip my mission so that it's not about Not Dying, but Living? Really living. Feeling good or feeling bad in an atmosphere of growth. How?

13 comments:

Geek Girl said...

I am so sorry you are feeling down. Maybe you might think about doing something for someone else. Give you a purpose to get you out and help someone else in the process. Just a thought....

Citygirl said...

And it's a good idea. Back in May I started volunteering at a local foodbank. The only thing keeping me from doing it recently is the oppressive heat. I've gotten extremely sensitive to it as I've gotten older. 10 minutes outside, and I'm sick.

Susan Cooper said...

There is nothing worse then feeling like that. I agree with Cheryl, I have found that when I'm doing something for someone else. The world seems a better and bright place when I do. Feel better. Susan Cooper

Citygirl said...

Thanks, Susan :)

JeriWB said...

I've had a few days like those since making my big cross country move a year ago. Even when I don't feel like getting out of the house, I know it's for the best and I always feel better afterwards.

Joining a writer's critique group has been great for that. The hardest part has been going from being surrounded by tons of people during a day of teaching to not being around anyone during a day of writing. Still though, I wouldn't trade this chance to write for the world.

I even bought a book called The Depression Cure and it has some pretty good tips that don't involve taking medication.

Jeannette Paladino said...

Occasional depression is terrible. Clinical depression has to be even worse. You don't mention using any medications to help you through this bleak period. I firmly believe that depression is physical as well as mental and you need to cure both. I hope you're using every tool in your health arsenal to combat this. And I'm rooting for you.

Jeannette Paladino said...

Occasional depression is terrible. Clinical depression has to be even worse. You don't mention using any medications to help you through this bleak period. I firmly believe that depression is physical as well as mental and you need to cure both. I hope you're using every tool in your health arsenal to combat this. And I'm rooting for you.

Citygirl said...

Jeri: Just as I found a really cool writer's group last summer, the leader got a new job, quit and no one else took over. I've been trolling Meetup.com for groups but haven't had any luck yet.

Thanks for the book recommendation. They happen to have it at my library, so I've put it on hold for myself!

Jeannette:Thanks for your kind words. I was on an anti-depressant for years, but stopped it four summers ago when I was finally feeling better. Turns out that was really bad timing!

I have thought about going back on drugs, but I really hate the side effects. What I need more than anything is counseling. Since we're living on one income, I'm looking into some low-low-cost options!

Thanks for all the well-wishes, everyone. I do feel better now. Have great weekends!

Patricia Weber said...

Citygirl first, congratulations on getting outside. Being in touch in nature can lift almost anyone spirits. And for many of us, the library is as uplifting. I want to echo my friend Jeannette in a concern for your safety more than anything else.

Maybe search around the web for some group counseling which might offer some lower costs for you.

And as long as you find writing about some of this helpful, some of us will be rooting for you from right here.

Patricia Weber, LInkedIn Group BHB

Citygirl said...

Patricia: I don't know why, but I hadn't even considered group counseling. Thanks for the tip and your support. I really appreciate it!

Adeline Yuboco said...

I've been on that road as well, and I know that it's tough. What Patricia suggested is definitely a good move. Being around people who understand what you're going through and being patient with you will help you get through it. Don't look too far ahead, and take things one day at a time. We're here for you.

Adeline Yuboco said...

I second Patricia's suggestion. Being around people who understand what you're going through will definitely help a lot. It will be a safe environment where you can let everything out, which is always the first step to getting through this.

Citygirl said...

Adeline, thanks so much for visiting and offering support! I'm working on it and slowly (SLOWLY) getting through.

Luckily, with a bit of work I feel much better so far this week!

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