Don’t be protective of your depression

I wanted to put the your in the title in quotation marks (but I just find then so damn ugly) because the depression isn’t yours, it doesn’t belong to you, it’s happening to you.

If you spend enough time on the depressosphere of the internet you’ll see memes pushing back against the idea, and the people supposedly telling you, that depression can be cured by mediation or kale or going to the gym. And I fully get it, I’ve written a dozen posts about how when I was suicidal everyone’s advice just seemed to be saying well stop.

You can’t put up a wall though. Not with you on the depressed side and everyone else on the doesn’t-get-it side. That’s going to hurt everybody.

But furthermore don’t stick up for depression, it’s not your friend. I know you feel like it’s been there for you and with you and always will be but you’re just anthropomorphizing a construct of your emotions. That’s weird. You’re being weird.

Thirdly, don’t assume that depression is a cause, it might be a symptom. Changing your diet might seem like too small a thing to deal with the worthlessness of the universe and how ugly everyone thinks you are but that’s your ego making a big deal out of itself. Because what is depression? A imbalance of neurotransmitters. What effects neurotransmitter? What you eat, how you move, and what you think. I just finished Michael Pollan’s book on psychedelic therapy and it shows that psilocybin can have major effects on people with treatment resistant depression (meaning they tried 2 other therapies with no results and please don’t run out and do a bunch of mushrooms I’m just making the point that change is possible from the brain outward).

I know that lifestyle changes don’t cure depression, nothing does, for me it’s almost the exact same fight everyday but you do have to fight. You get very little momentum and it dissipates very quickly but you can gain ground and get your life back. You just have to try, you have to stop not-trying. Once the black clouds part enough to see a way forward – whether it’s during some therapy or during a 10K – you can keep moving that way even when the clouds roll back.

Please, Please don’t think when the clouds roll back that it means the sun was never there.

Tim Ferris’ TEDTalk about his history of depression really showed me that world isn’t divided into those who struggle and those who flourish or even periods of struggle and periods of flourishing. You can struggle-flourish. You can flurggle.

But be wary of sharing memes and building a sense of group belonging around your depression. It may be comforting and cathartic in the short term but it will cause you to show off and amp up your display and defense of your depression because it gets a reaction from the community, it deepens your connection.

Focus on joining a community – just really passively online, you don’t have to go nuts – of people who are doing the things that might help. Exercise, yoga, clean eating, and yeah some discussions of mental illness just not ones that pat you on the back for having it. Fill your YouTube and Instagram with that and you’ll start noticing the world is a bigger, happier place than you were giving it credit for and you can be a part of it. Don’t push yourself, no pressure, just notice the thoughts when they come.

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Singer/songwriter, jerk.

Posted in Depression & Suicide
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