Sometimes I feel depressed.
Readership of this blog is now divided into exactly two categories: people who understand exactly what I just said, and people who don’t (lucky you).
Like today, and about every third day for the last few weeks, I have just felt “blah,” and sluggishly tired, unmotivated and illogically unexcitable. When I’m feeling like this, I use fewer exclamation marks and smiley faces in my texts, and wear my least favorite t-shirts while dragging around the house. So as not to alarm anyone – this, for me, is not extreme depression. It is mainly annoying, and tiring, and I’m sick of feeling like I shouldn’t talk about it. So I am. I think it’s one of the healthiest things I can do.
My funk/depression tends to come on when I have a ton in my life to be happy about and thankful for. And for no particular reason, though I am determined to keep guessing. Hormones, weather changes, and lack of vegetables are the frontrunners today.
Personally, I tend to use the phrase “in a funk” to describe these feelings that come unannounced and uninvited, often in the midst of an otherwise good week/year/month. But I think that’s mainly because it just sounds safer, with the stigma attached to “depression” and all. I went through a bad bout of these feelings about 9 months ago, which my therapist and I agreed was probably hormonal (I was weaning off of breastfeeding).
Today, while lying in bed at 4 in the afternoon with a blotchy dried out face, the 1100th episode of Grey’s Anatomy on pause, and Lena Dunham’s memoir (which IS kind of depressing…frontrunner #4?) – I had this thought:
“I try so hard to come across as so put together, and I have a hunch that a lot of people have that general impression of me, and of my life. But really, sometimes all I want is someone I can call and say, ‘I feel like shit right now.’” But just the thought of calling someone and saying that, followed by no logical explanation always sounds way too exhausting to my already exhausted self, so I never do. But maybe I should sometime. I would want people in my life to feel like I could handle – even welcome – that call from them.
I am aware that my last post here was about channeling Martha Stewart via baskets and striving for the perfectly organized home, which may make this depression diatribe seem a bit out of left field.
One thing I’ve learned about depression, is it’s REAL. It’s valid. It deserves respect, and understanding, and patience. You can have a great life – even be at a particularly great place and point in time IN your life – and it can just hit you, out of nowhere. Like a really unexpected foul ball that leaves a kid in the stands with a black eye.
So I’m choosing to write about it, in hopes that maybe I’ll open a little window for someone else to feel a little less ashamed or confused or shunned from appropriate public chatter, when they too are “in a funk.”
Here are 5 things that help me move past the numbing, heavy waves when they strike:
- A change of scenery. Some of the best advice I’ve received about how to get “unstuck” from a mood is this: If you’re lying down, get up. If you’re inside, go outside. If the curtains are drawn, open a window and let the sunlight in. It’s amazing how little changes of scenery can shake us up, in a good way. Seriously you guys, try it even if you don’t think it could possibly make a difference.
- Eat healthier food – I think eating like crap or realizing you’ve perhaps neglected an entire food group like vegetables, for days, can help turn things around. OR –
- Eat whatever the hell you want. Aaron recently brought me back a box of fudge from a work trip he was on. He was relieved that I liked the gift, and told me that one of his co-workers had mentioned maybe I would prefer a toy for Anderson, or something more wife-ly, other than…fudge. They couldn’t have been more wrong. Solidified butter and chocolate is a salve for the mildly depressed. Just don’t forget to have Brussels sprouts for dessert (yes, I really ate those things in that order. Red wine was the tie that bound).
- Ask someone to touch you. OK this sounds weird, especially if that someone is a stranger on the bus instead of your significant other (Revise accordingly based on your immediate surroundings). I read today that a good solid lingering hug has been proven to be a natural antidepressant. Snuggling, massage, having your partner play with your hair – it’s good, under-rated stuff. We should all do it more.
- Talk about it (or in my case, write about it). Many, many people feel some degree of situational and/or random depression. I already feel better simply stating the obvious and knowing, it too, will pass. I’m not writing this so that friends of mine will follow up with a private text asking if I’m OK. I am, and I will be, especially after more fudge.
I’m writing this because I’ve spent at least as much time feeling like this as I’ve spent feeling giddy about home organizational systems, and I simply thought my funk deserved an honorable mention as an uninvited, yet real and valid, part of my life – and perhaps it’s a part of yours, too.
Like that bazillionth Grey’s Anatomy episode said today, “The carousel never stops turning.” Tomorrow is another day, and I’m betting it’s a better one. We’re all in this together and we all have these hidden, unflattering parts of us that make up our moments, and our lives, whether we want them to or not. I continue to be surprised that the more I just take the leap and talk about or write about hard stuff – there is always an overwhelming majority of people who say, “I’ve been there, too.”