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The First Step to Getting Out of a 'Depression Funk'

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The overwhelming feeling of the winter blues is in full-force. Some may even say it’s seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Over the past few months, I have pulled way back from social media, from my writing and from the social scene. I know it may not seem it to those who follow me, but I have been struggling in a major way. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I have been depressed, lethargic, angry at times, moody, tired and an emotional mess.

Yes, I have cancer and continue to take daily chemo. Yes, I have lupus, and my flares have been extremely tiring. But it has been more than that. I don’t want to get out of bed, I don’t want to be social, I don’t want to write and share my feelings, I don’t want to be judged for my social media presence. I just don’t.

Well now that that’s off my chest, let’s chat about how I want to fix this and recognize there is a problem and I know I am not alone. I have always said I love living in New England. The change of the seasons, the beautiful landscapes, the temperature change. Everyone has been commenting on the mild winter we have experienced, and they are right. But the lack of sunshine and exorbitant amount of gloomy days has this gal spinning like a hamster in its wheel. The same gloominess and lack of energy day in and day out , the same mundane schedule, the same grey skies and political who-ha (yes, I am now making up words) plastered all over the news.

How do we pull ourselves out of this funk and get off the hamster wheel? Maybe it’s knowing we are not alone, maybe it’s recognizing the problem and asking for help, maybe it’s both. As I have struggled, I also have taken inventory of my emotions and the “whys.”

Why am I feeling this way? Why am I struggling to share my feelings? Why is the sky grey and no longer blue? (Sounds like a bad country song.) The answer has been right in front of me and I failed to accept I was burnt out. Completely and utterly burnt out!

In the past five years of running Fabulously Fighting, I have created over 750 website posts. From articles, to recipes, to interviews and so much more. 750!  That is a lot of work, time, effort and emotional expenditure. The problem began when I would look at my weekly numbers and feel discouraged. I would look at the stats of followers and beat myself up over the low following. I played a bad game with myself worrying about who I was touching and making a difference. Instead of allowing myself to be completely enthralled with loving my work and let the rest fall into place, I belittled myself because of a silly graph of demographics and numbers. I completely lost sight of the big picture.

Just as I have lost sight of the big picture when it comes to SAD. Depression is tough, even on those of us who have multiple ailments. When you struggle daily, it’s hard to put into words the feelings that come along with depression and sadness. But we must recognize everything alive blooms again. That includes us. We may have hibernated for a while, but we are just about to blossom again. Shed the old and renew ourselves with a better outlook. Life is all about transformation, sometimes we just get caught on the wheel a little too long.

Listen, I am not saying this will be a light switch and everything old will be new again. It takes a while for the trees and flowers to bloom, just as it takes time to recognize when we have been spinning on our wheel for way too long. I wish I had a magic wand to wave around and make the world a bit less scary. To end world hunger, to find a cure for cancer, to heal the sick and wrap you in a blanket of peace. But all I can do is understand and tell you, you are not alone. None of us are. We just have to make that first step in asking for help and accept the gift of friendship. Knowing we are worthy of the love we so freely give to others.

My first step was speaking to a few friends the past few days, who get it and understand. Step two was writing this article and dusting off my typing fingers. The next step is to accept where I am, continue to have conversations with people who lift me up and return to running Fabulously Fighting with the love, honesty and integrity it was built on.

So, my Fabulous Fighters, do something different today, think something different today, get off the hamster wheel and push back on life a little. Stretch yourself and allow others to help. We truly are in this together.

Original photo by author

Originally published: March 3, 2020
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