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You’re lying in bed at home. It’s time to get up. It’s been time to get up for hours. You just can’t quite get yourself to do it. Your body feels heavy and you have no energy. You’re so tired despite sleeping the last 12 hours.
You finally pull yourself out of bed. You look in your empty cupboards. You just haven’t felt like going to the grocery store. Looking at the rotting food in your fridge turns your stomach. You didn’t really feel like eating anyways. You head to the couch and lie down.
The phone rings. It’s a friend. You watch it ring thinking, “I don’t have anything to say. I can’t pretend everything’s fine. S/he’s not gonna want to talk to me once s/he hears how down I am anyways.” You don’t answer and eventually it stops ringing.
You turn on the TV and watch without really watching. You stare at the images on the screen in a daze. Why does it have to be like this? Why can’t anything ever go right? When is it going to get better?
You check the clock. It’s 2:00 AM. You haven’t slept a wink. You’re barely sleeping. It feels more like lying down. Your mind just won’t stop.
Now it’s 5:00. You have to get up for work in a couple of hours.
Finally, you drag yourself out of bed exshausted. You chow down on breakfast–lots and lots of breakfast. You’re eating all sorts of crap. You know you’re putting on weight. Sometimes you despise yourself for it but other times you just don’t care. What’s the point of trying to look good anyways?
You get ready for work. It takes a lot longer than it should because you’re distracted–really distracted–but you don’t really know why. You’re not really thinking of that much. It’s more like zoning out. There’s a heaviness that you just can’t shake.
You lock yourself out of your car after you get to work and cry. Why does everything have to be so bad?
You’re late. You’ve been late for work a lot these days. Even when you’re there you know you’re productivity has tanked. You’re forgetting to do things that used to come really easily. You’re starting all sorts of things and not finishing much and if you do finish them, they’re not done at the standard you’re used to. You snap at people and instantly feel horrible.
After work you force yourself to go with some co-workers for a drink. You paste a smile on your face and pretend you’re following the conversation. You wonder if they can see that you’re dying a slow, agonizing death inside. You can’t even remember what life was like before.
Your mom calls. You try to pretend everything is alright. You used to talk to her about the depression but it just worried her and you ended up feeling guilty.
Depression can seem like you’re engulfed in a deep, dark hole with no way out. But there are some things you can do that may help you feel better:
Reach out. Be honest with the people in your life. Pick people who you think are good allies and ask for their help. That could include a therapist. Talking with a professional can be helpful. You don’t have to worry about burdening her or him and s/he may have some effective ways of helping you develop or strengthen your psychological resources to move forward with your life. Talk with your doctor. S/he may be a good support as you move past sadness.
Take care of your body. Try to eat three healthy meals a day–even if you don’t feel like it. Try to get 8-9 hours of sleep a night. If you can’t sleep, you may want to talk with your doctor about sleeping pills. Make yourself get out of bed even when you don’t want to and get dressed in nice clothes. Exercise. Get out for a walk even if you don’t feel like it. Moving your body can make a difference.
Face what’s troubling you: If the sadness you’re feeling is caused by something that’s happened in your life, face it and try to deal with it. Make some changes in your life so that it’s going more the way you want it to.
I’m not suggesting that moving past depression is easy. It can be really hard. But living with depression in the long run is much harder. Making the decision to do something about it is a really important step in getting out of that deep, dark hole.