I've been shaming myself into gratitude since there is suffering far greater than mine here, there and everywhere.
I've been listening to a lot of anthemic pop music.
I've been finding too much hidden meaning in movies like Mockinjay and How to Train Your Dragon 2.
I've been knitting. A lot. For a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
I've been watching too much TV and, having caught up, am seeking out new broadcast addictions.
I've cried and tried to cry.
I've browsed the extra 40% off sale page of the Sundance website frequently.
I've done the same with the Anthropologie website, but they only have 25% off sale items and, even in depression, I am plagued by my practicality.
Boden's sale page is next. (I'm actually looking at it right now whenever I can't think of what to write next.)
I'm exercising regularly because it has been said that helps. It does, briefly until I am done.
I play Candy Crush. A lot. For a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
I search job listings.
I frequent Groupon's travel deals.
I stay up too late.
I've stopped filing my nails.
I practice envy and resentment.
I add to my debt. (Usually by way of Sundance, and, momentarily, Boden)
I confide in my dog. A lot. For a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
Why am I depressed? There is no fabulous or obvious reason. Unhappy at work, failure to achieve most of my dreams, lousy parenting, brain chemistry, winter, no marketable skills, no money for this awesome whimsical Boden skirt. Take your pick. It is a decidedly mundane and whiny depression and I am not doing the one thing I should be-therapy.
It's a tricky thing to start therapy when you are depressed. It makes sense and should appeal to my aforementioned practicality, but it actually feels on par with establishing breathable air on Mars or getting my kids to understand the correlation between stiff gummy toothpaste and the act of leaving the cap haphazardly to one side of the tube of Crest. Here is the Mt. Everest I see before me:
To start Therapy I have to first find a therapist. How do I do that? Ask for references from a friend I don't mind telling that I need to be in therapy on the off chance that their recommendation is actually in network(see Boden dilemma above). Or maybe I can search my health insurance's website, make a list and start making calls. Being depressed it takes several days to work up the courage to call an office and talk to a disinterested but trained in empathy intake administrator to explain my reasons for seeking out a therapist all the while sounding like I don't need one because I fear judgement from this stranger. After one call, filled with pride and exhaustion, I reward myself with a cinnamon roll and feel confident I have made enough of an effort and can now forgo any future search or follow-through. I might even make it to an initial appointment in a weird basement office filled with shelves of action figures used for play therapy and role play, only to be further exhausted by not finding the right therapist for me, plunging me into a deeper depression. And then, a week or two later I begin again with the next name on the provider list. It may, in fact take many calls of forced nonchalance and visits to a variety of eclectic offices before I find the therapist for me, and the prospect of that kind of mental health EHarmony is daunting to the point of being defeating.
What I really need to do is start therapy when I feel good. It takes hope to start therapy, and depression and hope are not quirky friends who bring new sitcom-like understanding to the term opposites attract. It stands to reason then that I should seek out therapy during bouts of confidence, just like I should buy jumper cables before my battery dies. So, will I help myself and get into therapy? Yes. but that's not why I write this.
I write this because depression whether it feels justified or petty, whether it is triggered by tragedy or no milk for your cereal is not insignificant, wrong or a sign of weakness. Denying it because you do not feel worthy of or entitled to it does not make it go away. Shame or pride will not conquer it. Treating it seems impossible and scary and an open invitation for stigma. Because, the truth is, we don't want to need help. We've all retained a touch of that stubborn toddler defiance that repeats "No, me do it," time and time again. If I broke my leg though, I probably wouldn't wait to see if it would go away with time. If I had heart disease I might not just tell myself to get over it.
I am not writing to reveal anything new about depression or too shock you with the suffering I feel. Mine is a garden variety depression. And I still feel pathetic and arrogant for presuming I have it. I do not really believe I will make any strides in normalizing or de-stigmatizing depression. But I want to stop pretending everything's okay even though by outward appearances it is. It's not just that I am depressed, I have depression. I'm hoping experts will help with it. I am not asking for you to feel anything about my talking about it. I am not hoping you will solve it for me. I'm just saying out loud(ish) That I have it. Because saying it gives me a sense of purpose and accomplishment...
And gives me the confidence to accomplish more.
Right after I add this kicky Boden top to my wish list.