When Depression Becomes 'Comfortable'
Thinking of the word “comfort” often brings a sense of peace. It makes me feel at home. I don’t like to leave the moments when I feel comforted. Does anyone? There are many things that bring me comfort, such as writing and talking with loved ones. There are many people who bring me comfort such as my husband, my family and my closest friends. Who or what brings you comfort?
Comfort is a very positive aspect of living. It also brings a lot of other feelings along with it, such as feeling protected or loved. I put comfort, protection and love all in the same category. However, have you ever been mislead by comfort? I have, and it took me quite awhile to realize it. Side note: this post isn’t about the cliche of stepping out of your comfort zone — I am talking about a different aspect to comfort.
For me, when depression gets low and has been around for some time, it starts to feel like home. I’m not saying this just because most crying spells usually happen at home, but because depression began to bring me comfort. It brought comfort I thought I wanted and needed. I remember waking up mornings and the first thing I thought of was when I would be able to come back home and be alone. I looked forward to being alone because I could cry as much as I wanted. I also then began to look forward to crying. Crying spells began to feel so familiar that it gave me anxiety when I wasn’t crying. If you’re reading this and you don’t have depression, this may sound confusing, weird or pathetic… I get it. Now that I am not in that kind of place anymore, it seems confusing to me too. However, I wanted to bring up this confusing dilemma because it was once my reality. I’m sure it has been someone else’s reality too.
This depressive comfort is almost the opposite of anxiety because there is nothing comforting for me about anxiety (besides when it’s not present). I’m not sure if I could ever even have misleading comfort from anxiety because of all the physical symptoms it brings along with it. The hyperventilating, sweating, shaking, etc. is like a mini hell for me. Depression, not so much.
When I’m feeling depressed, I love to sleep. It’s one of my favorite things. I’m not saying I love to take naps, because I do and so do a lot of other people. What I’m talking about is sleeping my days away, so I didn’t have to feel or think. I spent days waking up going to work and then coming back home to sleep until I went to work the next day. It was like taking never-ending naps… I was spending the majority of my time in sweats. It felt beautiful! Days started to turn into weeks living this way. I enjoyed living this way because I felt comforted by my bed, protected from my negative thoughts by sleeping. I thought this was the perfect solution to not feel so crummy anymore.
I didn’t start to realize I was being mislead until I started to vocalize it to my husband and to my therapist. I told them I felt at home when I was feeling depressed. I was fine sleeping the majority of my time. I felt the best when I was crying. If you haven’t figured it out by now, these are all major red flags. The only way I realized this was talking to someone else about how I was truly feeling and thinking. This was a reality check for me. A very necessary one.
Getting out of this depressive comfort wasn’t easy because it felt like I was taking away a positive from my life. I felt like I was taking away that comfort, love and protection. Who would ever want to willingly do that? However, this comfort, love and protection I was receiving did not have good intentions. It didn’t have my best interest in mind… even though it was my mind! Comfort, love and protection are only a positive if it is coming from a source with good intentions. So make sure the comfort you are getting is comfort you actually need. You may want that misleading comfort, but in the long run it will just keep tearing you down!
Please try to recognize when you’re being mislead by depressive comfort. Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts aloud because once you speak them, it takes away power from those thoughts!
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Thinkstock photo via marzacz.