In these times it always seems that the best thing to do is just lie down (perhaps stay in bed; or maybe just on the ground, wherever one happens to be at the time).
Of course for a modern man or woman this course of action is generally indefensible (bills, rent, a powerful need to eat sometime in each month all submit a draining action on the funds of the individual. These needs more or less necessitate some kind of job – the nature of which is a more or less direct anathema to lying quietly in the corner)
At these times one is (generally) aware of what is happening. However, the very nature of the beast makes resistance very difficult. Often, self-talk will become viciously negative and self-deprecating. One may feel that in this state – moving through the world though s/he may be – one’s presence is unnecessary, or bringing everyone down, or outright causing irritation or even anger. And this may, in fact, be true! But the point here is that it is difficult or even impossible to tell accurately. Loving and supporting friends and family – those who would most like to help, who would be the most coveted people under normal circumstance – may be pushed away. The individual may feel that their situation is hopeless, or perhaps the condition may manifest a near-universal sense of irritation.
So afflicted, the individual may snap at folk (well-meaning or not) or become silent, surly, avoidant, or even aggressive. Often these outbursts immediately bring on a sense of regret, shame, guilt; which, in turn, feeds into the feeling that the sufferer is selfishly ‘inflicting’ themselves upon others.
This cruel spiral can continue unabated quite effectively. Feeling low, flat, bad- this makes one feel like they should stay away from others (so as not to be a downer, or simply because one prefers to be alone). Doing so, however, makes one feel lonely or forgotten. Not doing so causes the above guilt. Truly this is the essence of depression – often (without outside intervention) it is simply a no-win situation.
Frequently the episode can be made worse by the shame and guilt at failing to ‘just get over it’. While sometimes it is definitely possible to buck up and carry on, this isn’t often the case. It isn’t due to a lack of willpower or support but simply due to the self-defeating nature of the thought processes involved.
In essence depression is an insidious illness, by nature rapidly eroding the very techniques one would normally use to defeat a bad mood (self-confidence, conviction, cheerfulness, sense of purpose). An episode can quickly get out of control. It can be very frustrating for friends, family and loved ones as they feel powerless to help – or are treated as an annoyance – or the individual may be trying so hard to ‘be normal’ that the concern and support is ignored. Even the knowledge that this is all occurring creates a feedback loop of negative thoughts and affect.
It is beyond the scope of this publication to present specific treatment. All the author can offer is his own meandering experience – but the importance of speaking to someone, should you feel anything like as described above, cannot be overstated. Do some research, if you can. Tell yourself (constantly) that it’s not something normal, to get over, but an illness which can be treated. Literature agrees that the best combination is often medication and therapy. Try to remember that you are not a total piece of shit and that someone cares about you (no matter how much our brain tries to tell you that it’s not true).
Take the little victories; celebrate every success, no matter how trivial. Tell yourself over and over, that you can get through it. You’ll feel like you’re lying, but keep it up. Human minds are fundamentally pretty dumb. They believe what they’re told (even if it’s them doing the telling). Resist the urge to be depressed by how easily influenced your thinkin’-organ can be.
I know that if you, dear reader, are feeling this way right now, there is a slim to zero chance that any of this will help at all. All I can say is: you are not the problem. Your stupid, treacherous brain is the problem. It has an illness – an illness for which treatments do exist, with what can be almost miraculous results.
Finally, remember, no matter what, no matter who: you are never, ever, alone.