Hello From the Inside of a Depressive Episode
Hello from inside the dark, oppressive bowels of a depressive episode.
It’s where the tears come easily, but the energy and motivation do not.
It’s where everything, even the air, is heavy – but not in a comforting, weighted blanket kind of way. More like being slowly suffocated… but so slowly that panicking wouldn’t make sense quite yet.
It’s where there’s not enough eye cream and makeup to hide how tired you feel, even after a full night’s sleep… because, let’s face it, sleep doesn’t help this kind of tired.
It’s where minor things feel major and major things barely register.
It’s where the lies you tell yourself are easier to believe, and none of them are nice.
It’s where it’s easy to give up on the things you were excited about two days ago, because your brain chemistry did a 180 in that time and everything just looks different now. More gray. Less promising.
It’s also where you answer honestly when someone you trust asks if you are OK.
It’s where you make appointments in order to keep yourself accountable to do the things that are crucial to your self-care.
It’s where you practice self-awareness enough to call yourself out when you’re isolating — and wow, do you love to isolate when you’re in this place.
It’s where you dig out the self-care kit you’ve kept by your bed or in the bag you carry to work and you use it.
It’s where you talk yourself out of being overwhelmed by the ridiculously long “to-do” list and find the things that will specifically help someone else. Accomplishing something for someone else feels good, and there’s nothing wrong with using that as the motivation.
It’s where you find a way to keep doing what you do because other people depend on you, and to let them down if you had even an ounce of strength left just isn’t in your wiring — even on your worst day.
It’s where you lower your impossibly high standards for a time so that you can conserve your energy — and your sanity, not to mention the negative self-talk that wants you to believe you’re just the worst because of what hasn’t been accomplished.
It’s where you make a list of things and people and places and experiences you’re grateful for.
It’s where you make another list of the things you’re looking forward to tomorrow, next week, next month.
It’s where you offer grace to yourself.
It’s where you offer grace to others.
It’s where you breathe. And cry. And pray. And hope. And dig deep. And fight for every painful heartbeat because this depressive episode is just that: an episode. It is a season, and it will eventually end. The sun will come back up, and it will be glorious. There will be a day when everything doesn’t hurt and you don’t feel sad every second. I know it because I’ve lived it, and I know that this won’t last forever. And if you’re in a similar place, know that yours won’t last either. We’ve got a life to live, and better days are on the horizon.
Follow this journey on If I Knew Not Midnight
If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.
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Unsplash photo via Callie Morgan