I have never had depression but there are definitely moments in my life where I am slumped and feeling down is the size of my laundry pile and some of these times can last longer than others. My childhood was extremely happy, my teenage years although had moments was generally very happy and so was my twenties. I have had a good life, full of good things and good people. I have had moments during my life where I have had to face life and death with close family members and have struggled at certain times due to personal and family issues but I proudly claimed at some point in my twenties that I had never felt depressed.
As I have entered my thirties and am now almost through those, had children, been in a relationship for over 15 years and being the sort of person I am, I think a lot about life and death. I have wondered whether I think about it too much. It’s hard to know when everyone gets on with their day-to-day existence and doesn’t really talk about depressing issues such as getting old and dying. But I think about it a lot. And I have to admit that the last few years I have at certain points found myself feeling depressed. That heavy down feeling that you just can’t shrug, the feeling that it would be nice to just sit and cry for an hour or so, the beating yourself up over your faults and wishing you were different. I don’t think that what I feel is unusual or different really to anyone else. I am sure everyone feels like this, some more often than not, but we don’t really talk about those things too often as well, it’s just downright depressing to talk about! I think most people feel this all the time, I guess I just feel sometimes it’s nice to air it out and sometimes just talking about it makes me feel better.
Sometimes life throws curve balls and throws us off-balance. Things happen in our lives out of the ordinary that are big or major events. If something monumental happens, it usually throws me off-balance for a bit. It could be a day, a week or it could be a few months. I need time to go into myself and try to understand why I am feeling how I am and work through it. If I am sad, I need to work through the sadness, have a good cry or three, feel the anger and get angry. I try to work through my emotions so that hopefully I come to some sort of clearer picture of how I feel about it. I may not have resolved the situation or the outcome, but I sometimes feel better within myself about how I feel about it and how I have tried to work through it. Sometimes I can feel just as confused but I deal with it as it comes.
As I mentioned I do think about getting older and then not existing on the planet anymore. I have many friends who don’t care, accept it, say oh well we won’t know anyway, I will have lived my life, but I get this intense fear at the thought of not existing anymore. I get scared at the thought of never seeing my kids ever again and everything I have and know will cease to exist. I won’t be ME anymore. I know it’s silly because my friends are right, I won’t know, I’ll be dead but over the last few years as I have tried to work through it and tried to make peace with the issue, it can get me feeling scared and small in the world and a little unbalanced at the unknown. During these times it makes me think about how precious and special life is and all the moments we have and then I get down that I don’t enjoy them enough, don’t enjoy my kids enough, yell at them too much, don’t be patient enough. I think about how life is going so fast, wasn’t it just yesterday I was climbing trees and writing notes to my friends in class? In 20 years time, I will be 57 and that time is going to go so quickly.
I get down about the things I am angry about and probably shouldn’t be, I get down about saying something stupid and everyone thinking I am an idiot and run over my faults in my head and what an imperfect person I am. I pick myself to pieces and wonder if everyone sees the things I see. Will my kids appreciate all the things I tried to do for them, will they understand that when I was tough with them it was for the right reasons? Will they accept me for the person I am imperfections and all?
I think it is good to think through these things sometimes, hopefully not dwell on them too much but work through them none the less. Life is a crazy funny place and I am constantly amazed that we are even here and the world is what it is. I am not a religious person and I never will be and know I would never feel comforted in something that I don’t believe exists or is how we got here in the first place.
When I Feel Down these are things I try to do over the times I fee like this:
- I think that in most situations it is important to try to think through the thought process, deal with the emotions and allow yourself to feel sadness or anger for at least a period of time. Allow yourself to cry if you want to and get it out and then it’s time to work through it and move onwards and upwards
- Try and get out and go for a walk or a swim or a run. Being out in nature I find is a great form of relaxation. Bush walking and sitting somewhere quiet surrounded my trees, birds and possibly a stream or waterfall.
- Stop beating yourself up about things you can’t change. Often I critique myself and I have to tell myself that everyone has faults. No one is perfect, there are some things you can definitely try to improve on like patience but some things are just you and you have to look at all of you not just tiny pieces. I am overall proud of the person I am and how I treat people and I need to focus on the whole of me instead.
- Catch up with friends or people who make you happy. I was dead set miserable a few weeks ago and had fought with my husband to top it all off. We had friends coming over for lunch and I was concerned that I would find it hard to hide my state. The thing was as soon as they arrived and we got talking it took my mind off everything and we had a great day. Sometimes spending time with good people who make you happy is a great medicine.
- Play with a dog. I love dogs and they love people (well most of them). We had a dog for 15 years until he died last year and I miss him still so much. He was always up for a cuddle and would always curl up at my feet if I was alone. Sometimes when I would cry and be sad he would just let me lie with him and cuddle him. I miss that, animals are very intuitive and the best thing is you can tell them your problems and they will never tell a soul, well as far as I know.
- Set some goals for yourself. If there are some things that you want to change, well write them down and try for that week to stay focused on achieving those goals. I had one that in the mornings before school to try to be more patient with the kids especially with the getting dressed part. I now only have one morning before school with my kids and so many weeks I end up in tears driving to work because it was just a down right miserable morning. Sometimes they are right little shits, but there are times I could have behaved better too, tried a different approach and not struck out at something small. Stop trying to get 50 things done before you leave the house and focus on them and help try to make it a good morning. That morning for me is tomorrow. It doesn’t always work out that way but I can try.
- One of the best things I do is go and have a bloody good cry in the shower. Often I am just in a slump. I am not good to my kids or my family and I need to just be on my own and have a cry. Sometimes it does make me feel better and I can then at least get back to the kids and with the day ahead. But it feels like a safe, warm place most times and I can let the water and the tears wash down the plug hole and try to feel a little refreshed when I step out.
I am not saying in my post above that I have depression nor am I trying to compare to someone who does have depression. Depression is very serious and very different to many people and I don’t want to come across like I understand someone else’s dark corners or come across that this is an example of depression. I was merely reflecting my thoughts when I get down and ponder my life, the world and me as a person and how I try to work through those moments in my life.