Okay, so let’s get this out of the way first. I’ve never been thoroughly, clinically, mind-numbingly depressed. But I have been down . . . way, way down. And I know that once you see that darkness coming, you quickly learn to fear it, and you quickly become complacent and passive. It’s almost impossible not to let it consume you. I also know very well that it’s not something you ‘shrug off’ or just ‘get over’ – but there are some steps i find very helpful when I contract ‘the blues’ so to speak.
I know that’s harder than it sounds, and it’s impossible even for thoroughly un-depressed people sometimes. But you don’t need to run a marathon or even jog around the block. Just jog in place for ten seconds or shadow box for half a minute. Once that blood gets going, it reminds you that you are still, indeed, alive, and perhaps even that you like it that way.
Second, and more importantly, get out! Whether you live in a huge castle or a tiny cardboard box, it’s too tiny and cramped for just you and your mind. Your mind, especially when feeling down, is the loneliest place on earth, and when you are alone in a room, your mind extends to that room. Hunkering down might feel like a good idea but it will rarely make things better. Go for a walk around the neighborhood and see that the world is full of weird beings. For some, being reminded that others are happy might be a let down, but I’d rather feel like I’m the only one feeling this way, rather than know everyone else is feeling just like me.
Third, and this is even more important, talk to someone. Anyone. Not people who’d bring you down, of course, but just people! You don’t need to ask for help – see my final point below – but just hearing another voice makes you remember that you are not alone. I have a very good friend that I’m like 93% sure is a sociopath. He couldn’t care less about my well-being – or how I’m feeling. That’s why he’s the best person to talk to in these situations for me. He doesn’t want me to mope, or share – he just wants to have fun. And he always manages to pull me along, even though it’s slow going sometimes.
Fourth, and most important of all: If you are depressed, for real. Proper depressed. (Screw the terminology: If you feel utterly like shit, like nothing is worth it and that the world is a black hole) GET. HELP! Professional help is never that far away, and there are always someone nearby who actually cares about you. Even if you’re all alone in a new town. Your neighbor might be that person, even though you’ve never been introduced. Even though I never talk to most of the people living around me, I’m quite sure they’d all help me out in an emergency. (And the world being about to swallow you whole is a fucking emergency!)
That’s all folks. These are just some lonely shower-thoughts I wanted to share, seeing as it’s -17 degrees Celsius outside and black as night, my wife is away and our house is empty and forlorn. (There’s a cat here somewhere though)
I’m not an expert, not even a layman, but I do get close to the blackness sometimes . . . we all do. Sometimes it’s worth remembering that.