On feeling down – depression

I’m writing this during the winter early in 2021, during a pandemic. There are a lot of reasons to feel down, but that is not quite the answer.

*** If you are feeling depressed, please seek professional medical help. I’ve tried it and it works, eventually ***

I can think of a lot of reasons to be down

  • The expectation of friends, never being able to fulfil them
  • Feeling in pain for much of the time
  • Nausea and vomiting from migraines and RA medication
  • The impossibility of being in a job that I love, which happens to be killing me
  • Things I am avoiding doing
  • Worry about the future
  • Guilt about the past
  • Current political and social trends

Well I could go on, but all the above things don’t add up to depression for me, they create stress, frustration and often the energy to get on top of them but not depression.

My experience of depression is when everything, even small things seem insurmountable, there is no end in sight where things might improve, there is no point in trying and there is no hope.

I’m not feeling like that as I write this, but I have been there and I have friends who are there at the moment. I am hovering on the edge though. I can feel myself :

  • catastrophising – when you take any small irritation to the logical end, then further into fear and hate, and sometimes beyond. This is a bad place. It almost seems fun at the time, it really is not, and I am now very good at stopping myself
  • avoidance – not answering emails, phone calls. Hiding from friends and family because conversations will not go well.
  • Doom scrolling – read twitter, Facebook, BBC news. Find threads that you know will make you sad, but gleefully read all the bad stuff from trolls
  • finding things to buy on eBay or Amazon that you’ll probably never use
  • loop listening you music that takes you down

This is a great place to consider what would help to bring me back out. How can I help someone who is already down there.

  • I know this sounds a bit wishy-washy, but it works for me. I have a thought experiment. I’ve been given £100,000 and I have to spend it on other people. Which friends need it most ? What would they really like but cannot afford ?
  • Try to remember a time when you were really happy. Who you were with, what you were doing, see if these memories make you smile, or even cry.
  • If you feel brave, then think of the worse case scenario. If you job is *so* terrible, then just leave. Would that be so much worse ? Can you afford it ? Have a quick look at recruitment sites
  • Be with friends. Quiet friends who will give you space to talk. Friends who have been there and have survived
  • Avoid people who are consistently negative, they are dangerous when you are feeling down

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