Depressed for Success

by Stephanie
(California)

I am currently at the beginning of a new project. I've been dealing with clinical depression since I was 11. Meds are not enough, but I have seen how they are necessary for many people - currently that includes myself just to stay on the level and not sink into a black hole. I may need to take meds for the rest of my life, I may not. But that is beside the point. The point is that I am a woman who as of the moment feels pretty low, alright, down right low at least 40% of my day (but that's better than 99% - gotta keep things in perspective). Don't get me wrong, feeling crappy vs. super-mega-uber crappy still fells crappy, but it's important to note where you are each day so you can set reasonable goals of what you CAN accomplish that day as to what you EXPECT to accomplish.

What my new goal is, is to prove that I can still make a positive difference in my life and others in the midst of feeling depressed. I know that in the midst of "feeling" weak and unimportant and useless, the "fact" is that I am one of the strongest people I know. I've heard this from others and I know it myself if I look back at all the barriers I have been able to break through and hear that tiny whisper in the back of my head that I so often ignore. People who have depression are often very strong because they have to push themselves so hard just to get through the average persons day. That takes tenacity. I'm 33, and I'm just coming to be able to actually believe what I'm writing. None of this came to me overnight. This is a huge shift in perspective for me, because I've lived my life often feeling helpless, unlovable, and a disappointment to others - all very typical feelings when you're dealing with depression.

The first shift that needs to be made is the idea that you have to "fight" or "battle" depression. The first step is to ACCEPT that your depressed and ALLOW yourself to be o.k. with it. This is ridiculously difficult because what it seems like I'm saying is "give in" to the depression. That is NOT remotely close to what I am saying. When you're depressed you often hate the fact that you're feeling that way and hate yourself for not being able to feel differently, and that only makes you spiral down more. Depression is an emotion, and if you allow yourself to not punish yourself for having an emotion that doesn't feel good, sometimes it can be easier to ride out. It is completely understandable that our first instinct is to try and stop the feeling, but if you stop and realize - it's just a feeling, and let It feels counter-intuitive, but try it a few times before you knock it. Not all of my advice will help everyone, these are things I share because they are what I know have worked for me.

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