Escapism is Not Self- Care

You just had the longest day you’ve ever had.

Your depression and anxiety seem to be teetering between bad and worse.

You woke up hoping that you would somehow turn on a happy switch and it’d be all better.

But today is even more lonely and exhausting than the last.

So on your way home you stop and buy ice cream. You get home and shower immediately because you just want the day to be over.

You rush to your bed, grab the ice cream and your phone and you start.

You start with one video on YouTube and now you’re more than an hour in. You switch apps to Instagram and start scrolling. But then there’s Snapchat. And you open Netflix, SoundCloud, Hulu, Kindle. Anything to get your mind off the things and out of your feels.

You sit alone in your room for hours staring at the screen or sitting silently in the dark.

You’ve escaped.

But you dont feel better. You aren’t taken care of.

You just feel numb.

Numb to yourself.

Numb to the world.

Numb to it all.

 

Depression Lives in Your Thoughts

You’re just sitting around minding your business when a thought pops into your head.

It’s intrusive and overbearing and nauseating.

It’s the last thing you want on your mind.

So you try to dispel the thought from your consciousness.

You beg and plead for it to go away. You try to turn it off by distracting yourself with an endless stream of shows and status updates, but there is no escaping it.

And after a while, you start to believe it.

You are worthless.

You are broken.

You are a piece of shit.

You are not good enough. And you never will be.

In fact, everyone is better off without you.

Those thoughts permeate your entire being, mulitplying with every second. Until that intrusive thought is not just a thought.

It’s now an undeniable fact that you hold dear. It’s what you believe about yourself.

It’s your depression taking hold of you, making it nearly impossible to fight back.

But we keep fighting anyway.  ❤

Rejection and Depression

Have you ever put yourself out there when everything inside you told you not to?

For someone special in ways that you can’t begin to describe. But in the the back of your head, you tell yourself it will never work.

You’re not good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough for them.

Even so, you muster up the courage to put your cards on the table, whispering to yourself that you have nothing left to lose.

As you prepare for the fall out and rejection, a little piece of you still grasp on to hope. Wishing that this time is different.

This time they’ll like you.

This time they’ll  choose you.

This time they’ll notice just how great you really are.

That last piece of hope eats at you as the hours and days pass without any sign that they care about you at all.

You try to tell yourself that you prepared for this. You knew it wasn’t going to happen anyway. And you feel stupid for ever letting that tiny shred of hope make its way into your mind.

The emotions that bombard you when you’re rejected slowly sneak up on you until they’re all you can feel.

Depression. Anger. Sadness. Regret. Numbness. Fear. Loneliness.

It’s not the thought of rejection that scares you. It’s that for a second, you actually believed you had a chance.

When All You Feel is Numb

By far, the worse thing about depression is the days where you feel numb.

You’re not really sad or upset or lonely. And even though the emotion is unexplainable, it demands to be felt.

The numbness takes over and your depression is more crippling than ever. You can’t move or speak or think because you know you’ll feel nothing.

You dont really care about anyone or anything. You’re short with your family and you ignore your friends.

Nothing anyone could say could make you feel anything. So you try to avoid everyone at all costs.

You try distraction after distraction: Netflix, YouTube, reading, writing. But you end up right where you started.

Numb. Falling deeper into the void.

Until eventually the numbness turns into guilt. And you feel shitty for ignoring the people around you. You feel awful that you can’t force yourself to care. And you hate yourself for not just being like everyone else.

So you force a smile, bury the numbness, and pretend to care. You cope for the sake of those around you.

Hoping that one day you’ll actually feel something.

 

When a doctor asks if you have a history of depression…

I went to a routine doctor visit a few days ago, and and they asked if I had a history of depression.

I wanted to say no and spare myself the pain of rehashing the details. Just pretend for a second that I dont still carry that weight with me. But, I answered honestly…

Do you have a history of depression? Yes.

Where you ever on medication? Yes.

Which ones? Prozac, which I took and Zooloft which I never got filled.

Why did you stop? It never helped.

So what helped? Therapy. Exercise. Avoidance.

So you’re mood is stable now? Uh, sure.

Do you have trouble sleeping? Every day.

Have you lost interest in things you like? Hmm, sounds like a trick question. I dont like anything.

Have you ever thought about hurting yourself?  Yep.

Have you ever attempted to? Uh, well…

What did you do? I treatened to kill myself with an earring because its all I had in my room. Then I said I would just starve myself.

Oh, what happened? They sent me to the hospital. And it was awful. Like strip search, lesbian roommate that tried to touch me, people telling me I’m crazy… awful.

Ah, I see. Did you get help? Yes, I saw what it did to my family and I vowed to never mention suicide again.  And I went therapy for 2 years. I worked to get better, every day.

So you’re not depressed anymore? No, I am. I’ve just kinda learned to live with it. I cope.

How do you cope? My life is great so I feel guilty every day about my depression. And that guilt drives me to appreciate the little things. It’s not that healthy, I guess. But it works.

What do you think will help your depression? Honestly, I dont know. I just want to love myself. I want to feel like I’m okay. I want to feel happiness, even if it’s just brief.

Do you want to see someone? No, not right now. I think I’m pretty stable.

……oh…okay? Okay.

 

 

You are not your thoughts.

Let me repeat that. You are not your thoughts.

Somewhere in history you became programmed to believe that everything you think and feel are representations of who you are.

But that’s just not true.

You can’t control what pops into your head.

You can’t control the thoughts of depression, anxiety, fear, jealousy, disappointment, anger, or sadness.

There is a reason why you don’t automatically say your thoughts aloud.

Because while your thoughts are yours, you are not your thoughts.

You are your actions. 

On Shitty Friends & Depression

Being depressed usually causes anti-social tendencies: unanswered texts, broken plans, and, worst of all, loss of friends.

The friends you had when you were introduced to depression are what I like to call first wave friends. A few might’ve hung around but most scattered when your normal happy self became the exception instead of the rule.

You see, depression can teach you a lot about friendship. Partly because it shows you what crappy friends are like, including yourself (yeah, sometimes you’re to blame). But it also gives you a new appreciation for having true friends you can turn to and confide in.

After going through your first encounter with depression and first wave of friends, you no longer want to settle for mediocre friendships: you want the best.

Somone you could call day or night.

Someone that can look at your face, see something’s wrong AND cares enough to ask.

Someone that empathizes.

Someone that listens.

Someone that loves.

Someone that calls you on your bullshit.

Someone who’s actions matches their words.

Someone that gives just as much as they take.

Anything less is not a friend.

Stop wasting time on friends that get swept up in the current. Here one day, gone the next.

You deserve better.

You’re the ocean and your friend the sand. When your depression washes over, together you’ll stand. And one day, when they need you, too. You’ll weather their storm as they did for you.

-(Rule)