Depression is literally the worst.
I used to think anxiety was. I went through a period of anxiety attacks and I literally thought I was losing my mind. I couldn't breathe and I cried uncontrollably. I felt ridiculous, especially as a therapist who was taught how to handle it all.
I managed to find my way through the anxiety, mostly with prayer, and felt so relieved when it was all over.
Then the depression set in.
Only I didn't realize it was settling in.
That's the funny thing about depression. It creeps.
I found my motivation, for doing literally anything, disappearing.
A sort of numbness started to cover me. Take root inside me.
I would lay around and watch Netflix or Hulu for hours. As in going through all 13 seasons of Grey's Anatomy in mere weeks.
I would dread going to work, because in my line of work, numbness isn't an option. I have to be alert and aware. I have to feel. I have to respond.
I honestly didn't understand what was happening. I have nothing in my life to be depressed over. I have the career I've always wanted, a husband I love and who loves me, and a great place to live. Sure, money could be better, but couldn't it always?
I think that's the thing that scares me most about depression. It happens without reason sometimes. It makes you not care about the things you love and fought so hard to have. It makes you want to just check out of life and stay in bed.
And because of these things, it makes it ten times harder to fight. How do you get out of the depression when your motivation is gone?
You can't pull yourself up by the boot straps when you don't even feel like putting the boots on.
I could sit here and tell you 10 different ways to cope with depression, but you could Google that.
I'll simply tell you what is helping me, and maybe you will find that it helps you too.
I have decided to live.
I know that sounds simple, but it's not. I have to make a conscious choice every single day to actually take part in my life, and not just be a bystander. Sometimes I have to make that choice multiple times a day.
I worked so hard to have the career that I have, and I refuse to let all that hard work pour itself into Netflix.
I pray for strength and help, because Lord knows I can't do it on my own.
I told my husband about it so I would have some accountability and encouragement. This was the scariest part, because what would he think about me? How would his feelings change? The answer: He still loves me fiercely and only wanted to help me.
I thrive in a structured and organized environment, so I began to plan out my days. I get up, make coffee and breakfast. Then I allow myself to lay in bed and read a book or watch Netflix/Hulu until 9:00am. I then get up and start getting ready for the day. I usually clean the house a little, and then get the heck out of there. I've learned that if I stay at home I am more likely to fall into the trap of depression.
So, I leave the house. I'll go to the library, or a coffee shop, or even my office. I find it easier to be productive there, which I have learned helps me feel better. If I have work, then I will go to work.
I won't lie, there are still days I stay in bed. Sometimes I actually need a break from trying so hard. But I only give myself that one day, then I'm back at it.
I am finding more and more that my happiness is returning. My passion for my work is sparking back to life. That numbness is slowly falling away, and my motivation is coming back.
I can't say right now what will help you. I would have to talk with you and get to know you to help you. Everyone is different, and what helped me might not help you.
But, I can say that we can figure it out. I am not hopeless and you are not helpless, because I am right here.
Borrow my hope for now and let's figure this thing out together. You deserve happiness, every single day.
We all do.