Feeling depressed can pretty much suck, but it does not have to ruin your life. I have been running, hanging out with my kids, and for the most part, keeping busy with projects this past week. But right when you think everything is going smoothly it starts to creep up on me without explanation.
Over the years I have taught myself to feel the signs when depression might be taking hold. It has not been easy but it has been life-changing because when you have a deep understanding of yourself, you can then work to minimize those deep feelings in general. I can feel it coming and hope that either nobody notices and I manage it or else it will drag me down into the depths of nothingness. One lesson I’ve learned is that you cannot make depression just go away.
Waking up today I felt “off” and I wanted to share with you my experiences in hopes that you learn from my 20+ years of managing my depression. It could help you to better understand your issues along with learning ways of dealing with it in general.
First…when waking up this morning I could not get myself to go for a run. I have run the last two days as running/exercise is key when dealing with depression. Getting the blood running, fresh air, body movement all help eclipse those dark feelings. I had some coffee and am now writing this blog post with hopes that a little bit later I can push myself out the door. Once I do I have to remember how good I feel after running with the release of endorphins and accomplishment. What seems to be the easiest thing in the world, putting on shoes and getting out the door, can feel like a wall you have to climb over. I instead need to break through that wall to succeed.
Second, after days upon days of reading my Apple News along with scanning Twitter, all those negative stories build up over time and then can push me to the other side. This morning’s updates on Trump’s usual antics and riots in Minneapolis plus COVID, it just becomes a small volcano that overflows slowly oozing down the outside of my brain. Why can’t society just be at peace? Why does there have to be a conflict between races, politics whatever? It just becomes too much and I have to turn all of it off. Blocking out the bad can be a simple way of turning yourself around quickly.
Third, I’m currently living in a city environment that I do not really enjoy anymore. I would love to be in the mountains with clean air and space from other people. But after my divorce, where I would like to live and raise our kids and where my Ex wants to live are two different places. Unfortunately, she wins with her choices and as co-parents, I am not leaving my kids behind. But there times I have to escape my day to day surroundings taking myself someplace that makes me feel at peace which then calms everything.
The fourth and final thing causing these dark feelings is that my birthday is on the horizon. I want to embrace my age and what I’ve accomplished along with what I will accomplish in the future. I’m also missing my girlfriend right now and the idea of relaxing quietly somewhere with a nice glass of wine celebrating my birthday is silently projecting in my mind. Those feelings of having to wait are dragging me down but I know I have to keep pushing towards the weekend. Sometimes projecting too far ahead will make me feel depressed in the present. I have to temper those expectations taking it one day at a time.
You see depression is hard not just on ourselves but for others around us too. Knowing the signs before they start to really drag you down is key to minimizing the effects on your mind and body. I know I cannot make it go away but I have to use both physical and mental methods to minimize the depression or else it will take me down a hole that will take days to recover.
Know that you are not along when dealing with depression. It is ok to admit this illness to those you love and care about letting them understand that you are working to recover. I will overcome and if you feel this way I hope that you work on finding those signs that provide awareness so that you can Act and not have to React.