Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Quick Reminder of How Depression Works

It's easy for those with depression to look at their lives and be certain that they're only depressed because something in their life is going wrong. That soon that circumstance will be removed and everything will automatically be OK again.

For me, it used to be, "Well, it'll be different when I'm in a relationship."

Then, "Well, it'll be different when I get my arthritis under control."

Then, "Well, it'll be different when I have a teaching job and can use my degree."

And now all those things have happened, and the depression still lurks.

In the back of my mind, I know that circumstances lining up won't automatically "fix" depression. I know that that's not how it works for me. Because depression isn't just being sad that something's wrong, it's a whole different ball game. It can be even easier for people on the outside of depression looking in to think that kind of thing, like I just need to get over bad circumstances or find a way to fix things.

That kind of thinking can be gross when you're dealing with depression and there actually are major things going wrong in your life, but it can also be gross when you're depressed and there is seemingly no reason for it.

That's where I've been the last couple weeks. There's nothing wrong with my life right now. I love where I am and who I'm with and what I get to do. I am extremely fortunate. And yet I've spent chunks of each weekend this month sitting on my bed just crying because everything in my mind was terrible and there was no reason for it.

And then the part of my brain that tries to be rational tried to sternly lecture myself out of my depression: "Why are you depressed? Stop it. Everything's fine."

But as we all know (or should know if we don't), you cannot out-rationalize depression. Fortunately, once you remember depression is not rational, that can take some of the pressure off. You don't have to start blaming yourself for feeling bad for no reason. That's what depression does. That's one thing that separates depression from regular sadness. So you may not be able to stop feeling depressed or stop feeling sad, but maybe it'll be easier to remind yourself, "Depression is being stupid and lying to you right now, you have a lot to be thankful for whether you realize it or not right now."

That was one of the reasons I started my Reasons to Dance Twitter account (which I wrote about on Monday). Because it may not fix anything, but the depression has to fight just a little harder to tell me that my life is pointless when I have all these reasons to celebrate on the screen in front of me, and anything that makes life tougher for my depression is OK with me.

So... there's no real end to this blog. Just a reminder that depression isn't rational, and that you don't have to justify your feelings to yourself if you're feeling depressed.

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