I want to explore and talk about this in more detail sometime soon, but I feel like I spend an inordinate portion of my life feeling down. I know varying degrees of mental illness is prominent within our society. We have celebrities committing suicide. We have, unfortunately all too often, mass shootings where the shooter sometimes leaves behind their deranged ramblings. And on any given day, you have someone walking down the street crazily yelling at themselves. It is certainly a societal problem that, thankfully (hopefully?), seems to be getting more public attention and awareness.
In my own life, I imagine I suffer from what I can only best describe as depression. Fortunately my thoughts have never gone to dark places like suicide or bringing harm to others. However, and probably to my own disservice, I have never sought any treatment from a therapist or guidance from a qualified healthcare professional. Part of the reason (and these are probably more ‘excuses’ than ‘reasons’), is the onset of it hits me so randomly. I will say though, it is usually when I am alone with my thoughts that I seem to suffer from it the most. When I am at work, distracted, I am normal and fine.
That leads me to maybe my other ‘reason’ for not yet pursuing care – which is to say that I do not really know the etiology. I think there is a tendency to chalk it off to stress or occupational burn-out; and I maybe justify and downplay it by convincing myself that this is just how our world works. Everyone from the Starbucks barista to cardiac surgeon experiences work-related distress. Especially now, with the COVID-19 pandemic raging still, there is fatigue, isolation, job and financial insecurities, and so many other possible stimuli for us to feel sad.
Before we were social-distancing, quarantining, and economically locking down; before we were afraid come into contact with something a stranger may have touched minutes prior; I did have a regular gym/exercise routine in place. The endorphins and the other benefits that come with working out regularly certainly helped my general well-being back then. I know I experienced sadness back before COVID-19 came into our lives, but – like work – exercising was a wonderful, healthy distractor and really helped minimize the toll depression can take on someone’s quality of life.
“You say you’re ‘depressed’ — all I see is resilience. You are allowed to feel messed up and inside out. It doesn’t mean you’re defective — it just means you’re human.”― David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas
I will be honest, I seriously doubt the melancholy mood I find myself in from time-to-time meets the criteria for ‘clinical’ depression. I doubt depression can be so easily turned on and off by being at work or getting in a good exercise routine. I certainly do not want to offend anyone going through much more serious bouts of this disorder, and of course, wish them all the best to manage it. I constantly look for things that help manage my own mental anguish. I want to try meditation and conditioned breathing exercises, a healthier diet, and (once COVID subsides) a more regular vacation schedule. I also notice I am easily overwhelmed, and have been making more of a conscious effort to slow down, stay in the moment, and try to appreciate what is in front of me.
In those rare moments of happiness and peace that my mind affords me, I take a step back and appreciate how truly blessed and fortunate I am. Perhaps the worst part of talking about depression is my sense of guilt about it. I have truly been given a wonderful life. I am surrounded by a loving, beautiful family. I work in a profession I absolutely love and with co-workers I adore. My family and friends are all in good health. So when that greyness starts to set in, and that absence of emotion begins to haunt me, it is hard for me to describe or explain when so many blessings have been bestowed upon me.
I am no expert on this matter. As with all my posts, I try and articulate what I go through with as few grammatical errors as I possibly can. I did come upon a website/blog I would recommend: https://www.blurtitout.org/ that goes over depression in great detail and has many resources for support.
I want to wish everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving 2020! Thank you for visiting my blog. If you have personal struggles and stories you would like to share, by all means, reach out. Have a blessed day!