What Not To Do by @dyslexicwriter
This is such a powerful message. I want to say to everyone out there-there is hope, focus on your self-care, like in an airplane – put your oxygen mask on first…know that there is help
What Not To Do About Depression:
I feel like I’m taking a bit of a risk here, especially with my career. But I also feel like this is something that I need to write about. So here goes nothing. Or everything.
For the last two years, depression has had a profound effect on my life and my family’s. And I’ve never really spoken up about it.
But I am now.
After years of overworking, the loss of both my parents, the stress of my son’s four open heart surgeries, and my wife’s chronic pain, I found myself in a void. A pretty deep void.
I’m sure each person’s combination of chaos is different, and many people have been through much worse, but these are the circumstances that set me off in a way I was totally unprepared for.
I’m not telling you this so you feel bad for me. I’m telling you so you know what NOT to do if depression is trying to rear its evil head in your life.
The truth is, I did everything wrong.
I didn’t stay in check with my own mental state. I stopped doing the things I enjoyed. I shut myself off from the world. I told myself that I’d just push through it. I didn’t ask for help.
In hindsight, those were some hefty mistakes.
Because depression is sneaky.
It creeps up on you like a shadow moving across a room at the end of the day. At first, it’s almost comforting. Comforting to sleep, to shut out the world, to pretend it will all be okay tomorrow.
Little do you realize that a sort of personal purgatory is taking shape in your mind. And once you do, it’s too late.
The shadow is no more. There is only darkness.
If you’ve ever experienced the deep, dark recesses of the disease, you know I’m not exaggerating. And I’m not talking about feeling like shit about yourself for a few days or a spell of seasonal depression.
This stuff is way more potent.
It distorts reality. It convinces you of untruths. It makes living seem unbearable. And makes living with you unbearable.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I never understood or believed the severity of the disease until I experienced it myself. Which inevitably means I’ve brushed people off who were suffering at some point in my life, not taking what they were going through as serious as I should have.
Looking back, I can only think how ignorant and arrogant my perception of depression was before my own.
This is why I feel it’s important to share what I have learned. I call them Depression Don’ts. They may be helpful. At least I hope they are.
1. Don’t live in your head.
If you do, you are only feeding it, making it stronger. And odds are it’s stronger than you. Because it’s the part of you that is able to work much harder right now. In fact, it loves working overtime, all the time — twisting facts, creating elaborate lies and detailing worse-case scenarios.
2. Don’t think things will just work themselves out.
They might, but once again the odds are against you. Sure, at some point something might change without doing much of anything, but this is a risky way to proceed. If you’re wrong, you could be dead wrong.
3. Don’t say “I’ll just push through this.”
If it’s severe enough, you won’t. You might postpone the impeding shitstorm for a short time, but not forever. It’ll patiently wait if not properly addressed. Hell, it’s always waiting even if you have done everything to address it. It will push back harder at some point. Not being ready for when it does, could be a dangerous lesson. A bit like bringing a knife to a gunfight.
4. Don’t try to get though it by yourself.
Because you can’t. Trust me, you can’t. Ask for help. And ask for it often. There is no shame in asking for help. I repeat, there is no shame in asking for help. The moment you ask for help it’s like the depression knows you’re getting more people on your side and the real fight is on. You can almost feel it cower. So assemble your army.
As I said, I did everything wrong. I did the opposite of the above. But if anyone can benefit from my Don’ts, then I’ve done something right.
One last thing I’d like to add…
Even though my struggle with depression has been long and complicated, my main takeaway on how to better deal with it is rather simple.
If you know you’re struggling, really struggling, you need to talk about it.
You need to talk about it as much as you can. It’s tough and uncomfortable as hell, but it’s what you have to do.
It’s what we all have to do.
We all have to talk about depression a lot more.
Because the more we talk about it, the more we strip away the stigma around it.
Making it far less common for someone’s spouse, best friend, or coworker to say, “I didn’t know that he/she was going through all that” after it was too late.
My last Don’t…
5. Don’t keep it in. Please talk about it.
For the complete: https://medium.com/@dyslexicwriter/what-not-to-do-about-depression
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