Wednesday, April 6, 2011

...It Gets Better...

It’s no secret at this point that I have had my dealings with depression.

I have been quietly sad, just past miserable, and more times than I should admit to, completely suicidal.

It comes in many forms and various intensities at intervals that can be random or like clockwork. Sometimes it scurries by like a squirrel on a wire, and sometimes it looms like lazy bonobo hanging from your shoulders.

The first time I realized that there was something about myself that I didn’t like or that wasn’t quite right, I was about four or five. I was in school and for no reason at all I felt overwhelmed with sadness and hatred. I think I hated myself for being sad for no reason, but I’m not sure.
It would be another few years before I would figure out that I could be so overcome with these feelings that the next train of thought would put me under the train.

I know how paralyzing depression can be, but I’m still here, leaping about.

As I grow and learn, I find more and more in fact, that I’ve become rather an expert at it.
Depression is a high art for the finely skilled, and I am gifted.

So if you feel like you’re at the lowest of your lows and you’re on the verge of making a very final decision, please read this unofficial guide to Suicide before you proceed. I’m sure you’ll find this list of “do’s and don’t’s helpful.

There’s rules to this game…and we will not be the losers.

DO feel depressed. This seems obvious, but what I mean is, it is okay to feel sad. Even to feel really, really “I-will-never-be-happy-again” sad. I think society still tries to teach us that negative emotions are bad, and we should never have them and if we do have them, we should be medicated to cover them up. But if something sucks, it’s okay to feel bummed about it. If someone tells you to “cheer up,” or “it could be worse” or “you’re too blessed to be stressed” feel free to tell them to shut the hell up. Then give them the finger. (Consider it yoga for your hands- - and exercise is good for depression)

DO make an appointment.. At some point even a pig leaves the mud. You can’t wallow in your pity forever. So make an appointment for the doctor, dentist, a hair dresser or any place where someone will be watching the clock and awaiting your arrival. Why? Because it will force you to change your routine and get out and about. Those are very small things that make a very big difference when you’re depressed.

DO be your own instigator. Sometimes people are mean. They call you names or push you around. Or tape your during a private moment so they can exploit you later. Those people are assholes. And their asshole-ness has nothing to do with you; you didn’t cause it and you can’t cure it, so don’t let their problem become your problem. Don’t give anyone the satisfaction of being the source of your misery. You can be miserable all by yourself.

DO be understanding. We all find ourselves facing horrible situations from time to time. Sometimes they seem impossible, but nothing is impossible. Every problem has a solution and it’s okay if you can’t figure out the solution right then. Ask for help, or try again later, but there is always another option.

DO keep a calendar. You might notice a pattern and be able to attach your depression to a time or event. At one point, Thanksgiving would trigger something so awful in me, I wanted to crawl into the oven with the turkey. Once I realized this, every year just before thanksgiving I would remind myself “it’s coming, it’s going to suck, but then it’s going to pass.” Sometimes I still feel a little down around that time of year, but not enough to want to roast myself.

DO take a break from things- no tv, radio, or internet. And even choose your reading material carefully. Anything can make a bad time worse. Likewise if you have entertainment that you can count on to make you feel better, then now would be a good time to whip it out

DO be reasonable. Alcohol, drugs and other substances intended to dull the pain don’t work. And there is recent evidence to show that smoking marijuana while depressed can lead to long term psychosis. You’re already sad, do you want to be crazy, too? Avoid the self destructive behaviors and bad habits.

DO speak your mind. Talk to someone about what you’re feeling. It could be someone you trust or a total stranger. I’ve found that you don’t have to be Catholic to go into a confessional. I’ve also learned the priest doesn’t have to be there either. Just walk in, say your peace and leave. Sometimes all you need is to get the bad thoughts out of your head to be rid of them for good. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to talk about what’s happening with you. You are not alone

So this is a list of do’s and don’t’s and so far its’ been all do’s. And that’s because there’s only one don’t.

DON’T ever, ever, ever, ever, ever harm yourself. I know when you’re in the middle of your spin it seems like it will go on forever and there’s no way out. But I promise you it won’t go on forever and there is a way out. and you may be like me, and have different times in your life when it comes back, and it might come back very strong and very aggressive, but you are stronger than your pain.

Should you need it: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This is a 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Hotline. (Military veterans, press#1). Please call before you do anything you can’t undo.
And know that you are loved.

Musical notes in my head right now:
I found my old Tootsie Roll bank the other day and this commercial has been stuck in my head ever since.
Tootsie Roll commercial

I ‘loved me some’ New Edition when I was growing up. I still go back and listen to it when I need a lift.
New Edition – Delicious

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