Find a place inside where there’s joy. And the joy will burn out the pain. – Joseph Campbell
I’m struggling tonight with some depression. I guess big life changes do that to me, and my future plans changed dramatically about six weeks ago with a break up. I keep getting frustrated with myself for not being over it, for still being sad, and I keep trying to be super positive about the future.
And writing this makes me feel super vulnerable and weak, but I’m putting it out there anyway.
You see, logically, I know that the future is going to be great. I’m theoretically excited about where I’m headed. But, today, that excitement didn’t penetrate anything. I felt depressed and tired and worthless.
I struggled with serious depression for a long time. I was on medication – and nothing really helped. I think the medication actually made it worse. Over time, though, I was fortunate enough that I learned to and was able to manage my depression most of the time. I feel joy almost every day, and I’m happy about living.
Days like today always scare me. I’m afraid the depression won’t go away. That it’s back for good.
But I know that’s not true.
It will go away. I will have a better day tomorrow or the next day. I just have to ride this out.
Of course, I’m sick again so that doesn’t help. It’s my third cold this year – and it’s only April – so I’m sort of pissed off about that. Well, a kind of numb pissed off, the way all emotions translate when I get like this. Nothing that’s too extreme penetrates. It’s such a weird feeling like I’m wrapped in a heavy blanket from head to toe that weighs me down and muffles the world.
The terrible thing about feeling this way is that I never know how long it will last. It feels like nothing is ever going to be alright because I’m not good enough. The voice in my head says that I’m always sick, I’m not good at anything, I contribute nothing to the world. Logic doesn’t work. Talking makes me feel like even more of a loser because I feel like I’m whining. And I just want to disappear, cease to exist.
Then I feel like a coward because my life is great. I have nothing to complain about. I’m so lucky to have friends and family who love me even if I don’t always understand why. I have a place to live, a job, food, and so on and so on. I am grateful for all of these things.
But I’m still miserable.
And people telling me that someone else would love my life doesn’t help.
Telling myself about people who have nothing doesn’t help.
It makes me feel worse, selfish for not being happy when I do have a good life.
But I have learned that sometimes I just have to let myself feel miserable with the understanding that it won’t last forever. I think part of the problem with being depressed is the voice in my head constantly telling me to snap out of it. The problem with that voice is that it just adds more pressure to feel good, to be happy.
IT IS OKAY TO FEEL BAD.
Why don’t we say that more? Why do we place so much importance on always being happy and positive and cheery? We’re human beings with emotions, and emotions don’t always respond to logic, no matter how great that would be.
I won’t give up, though. I’ll keep looking for the joy. It’s there. It’s just buried for now. And, hopefully, tomorrow will be the day that I feel better, that I find the joy, and I’ll be happy and positive and cheery and ready to take on the world.
One day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time, one second at a time, one breath at a time – whatever it takes to make time manageable and know that everything will be okay.