Sick of depression? I hear ya. Trying to get through the year? Or are you just trying to get through the freaking day? Again, I hear ya.
36 years with depression for me and still going. It’s been exhausting. I remember a revue (satirical sketch show) at my school at the end of grade 12 where somebody imitated me. The guy said that I was tired all the time. Dead right. I was. At the time, I didn’t know why. I thought it was just teenage stress and growth.
Now I’m 48 and do you know what? I deserve to congratulate myself. For getting up each day since, despite the tiredness. For surviving. For doing many things. For not giving in. Okay, maybe I lost plenty of rounds over those years, but I’m very much still in the fight.
Fuck depression. I’m still here. I’m still standing. Yay me!
Maybe all of us depression survivors should praise ourselves more often. After all, when we do, it’s clear that our depression doesn’t like it one bit. Because it fights back hard, every time.
Shouldn’t we do the things that depression doesn’t want us to do?
Maybe there’s a message for us, and it isn’t the one we think. It’s not “Stay down” but “Keep getting up and congratulating yourself”. Less “Woe is me” and more “Wow is me”.
Instead of being overwhelmed by depression, how about we overwhelm it with love for ourselves?
How strong are we?
Those of us with depression don’t give ourselves enough credit. We are rock stars. We carry burdens that others never could. That takes enormous strength, not weakness.
When we praise ourselves, depression takes a big hit. Sure, it fights back and tries to convince us that it’s in charge. (Spoiler alert: it’s not; it lies. Don’t believe the lies.) But the self-love shows us our pathway forward. Every single one of us with depression has the same problem: we’ve lost our true selves. Finding ourselves again will go a long way to defeating depression. We have to keep staggering forward on this pathway, even when we get knocked off it by a gloom tornado.
The only way to do this is through love for ourselves.
Uncover the cause
I’ve worked so freaking hard these past two years to examine why I have depression; to expose the wound. I think I’ve finally found the root cause. And I was surprised to find that it wasn’t what I thought it was.
Opening this wound and confronting it has been so hard and has knocked me down viciously many times. Those down times weren’t just the typical depressive episodes like a lead, lifeless weight, although they included that. They provoked raw, even savage, emotions. I raged, I cried, I screamed like a maniac at the universe, and I wailed like a possessed person and pounded on the floor.
That means I definitely found it.
It hurt like hell. But still… yay me!
How about you?
Who else is in for really digging into the root cause? Remember to praise yourself at every step, every therapy session, every hug, every task you complete, every emotional release, every time you come out of a depressive episode. Don’t sit it in shame. You did stuff that others can’t even understand, let alone do. You’re a rock star.
Forgiving. This is the hardest part. Without forgiveness, the depressive episodes will continue. Forgiveness is about completing the grieving process. The “woe is me” phase (i.e. what happened to me, what was done to me) keeps recurring because depression keeps everything stuck in the stages of grief, with the end stage – forgiveness and acceptance – out of reach.
Guess what? Congratulating and praising yourself is part of forgiving.
Let’s do this, depression survivors. We’ll never get anywhere while we’re in the “Woe is me” phase. Yes, it’s exhausting to get up off the canvas and face more punches. (36 years with depression, remember? I know the exhaustion.) Just remember that you can still punch back. So rally your army of supporters and feed off their energy to get you started. Then see a professional to take the bandage off the real wound, clean it out, and praise the shit out of yourself for doing it.
We are stronger than anyone knows. We deserve some “Wow is me!” more than anyone else.