Boy do I feel nervous publishing this…
I’ve talked about depression before on my blog, but that was years ago and, honestly, so much has changed since then.
For a long time depression has been something I’ve kept under wraps, but not matter how much I would try to pretend it didn’t exist, it very much was still there.
Recently, I’ve worked really hard on my coping strategies, and I’m pleased to say I well and truly feel like I have what I need to kick it’s butt each time it rears it’s ugly head. Now, that’s not to say I’ve ‘beaten’ it, I most definitely haven’t, but I’m not afraid of it anymore.
I’m pretty much Boo in that scene in Monsters Inc. when she tells Randall where to go
Kicking depression in the butt
So I guess now is the time to explain exactly why I feel like I’ve really kicked it, and how I’ve learnt to acknowledge and manage my depression instead of trying to ignore it (which, trust me, makes it 100000x worse).
Number 1. I told a close friend ‘I’m not ok’ – This is a big one for me. Some days I’ll wake up and my mood, much like the Pound Sterling on the morning of the Brexit results, has plummeted to an astonishing low. It’s hard to describe what this feels like, but for me it’s pretty much like carrying round a dead weight of emotions. Last time I found myself tearing up on my commute to work (for no reason, I was just trying to read Glamour for christ’s sake) and having a full-blown panic attack when I saw a man on the tube who looked like someone I knew at Uni (honestly, WHY).
Normally, when this happens I find it terrifying and scramble to cover it up, avoiding eye contact with everyone and putting on the best ‘game face’ I can muster. This time, I text my friend and simply said ‘You know what, I’m not ok today’. I can’t put into words how much this empowered me, for years I’ve kept my struggle to myself, which was a terrible idea. I’m lucky enough to have incredibly supportive friends, and opening up to them about how I’m feeling is the best decision I’ve ever made. It might be hard (sometimes I feel like Professor Quirrel with a gross Voldemort face on the back of my head whispering ‘don’t dooo it, keep it to yourself, they’ll all abandon you if you tell them’) but it’s helping me to get better and cope better, which is the most important thing.
Number 2. I’m listening to my inner good fairy – I’ve spent TOO LONG listening to the nasty voices in my head, I think it’s time to let the nice ones have a say. When my mood plummets it’s easy to listen to all of the ‘self hate’ but now I’m making a more conscious decision to block them out and listen to the ones that might actually be able to help.
I’m treating my sub-conscious like my new best friend and she’s fab. I ask myself ‘hey girl, what do you need?’ and I give myself whatever I think is going to help to make me feel better. This usually consists of a Deliveroo order of Pizza Express (garlic bread with mozarella and an American Hot with Jalapeños is you must know) and binge watching Crazy Ex Girlfriend. If work is too much, I’ll take a walk to clear my head instead of trying to sit through it. They may be little things, but they definitely help the dark clouds to clear quicker.
Number 3. I’m practicing zero tolerance towards ‘depression enhancers’ – Sometimes, when I waste my evenings away scrolling through Facebook, I start to feel pretty shit. So guess what? I DELETED IT. For a couple of months I had zero social media on my phone (apart from Instagram and Twitter, which I use for work and can happily scroll through without starting to feel down) and honestly I felt so much lighter. Snapchat and Facebook are, in my opinion, the work of the FOMO DEVIL and I never come away from them in a positive mood, so as far as I’m concerned Facebook is out of my life (Snapchat is proving harder to let go of, I just love the filters and snapchatting my friends random stuff that makes me laugh TOO MUCH). My plan is to banish Facebook from my phone forever and do a clear out on my Snapchat, only keeping hold of the people who make me feel good.
The zero tolerance goes for people too. I’ve started to make a mental note of how each social situation makes me feel. If I’m repeatedly feeling rubbish after hanging out with someone, or a group of someones, they’re gone. It might sound harsh, but it’s really important I let go of people that sap my mood. In this circumstance I have to put myself first, and other people’s feelings second.
Accepting it’s not over
Now, this might all sound great, but I’m acutely aware that depression is most likely something that will come back to me again and again. Therefore, I’ve started thinking about some extra things I could do to help me cope when it does return. One of the big things I’m considering is therapy, I’ve started researching what is on offer with a view so hopefully start this year or next (I’m aware of how big a joke the wait times are, so I’m not expecting to speak to anyone soon).
Depression is the biggest bitch I know.
It has ruined so many relationships for me, but I am saying NO MORE. Away with you, you foul witch. I’m sure I have a lot more work to do, and I’ll continue to be challenged but I’m determined to keep living and even, shock horror, enjoy myself sometimes!
If you’ve made it to the end of this post, you deserve a firm handshake and a sincere thank you. It’s been a tough one to write so I can only image the ordeal you’ve been through trying to read it.