On Being Both Chronically Depressed and Self-Aware
Waking up and the first words out of your mouth being “I know this feeling; I have been here before” is both encouraging and painful at the same time. There is comfort in knowing that you have beat those dark thoughts once before, but despair that you didn’t quite kick them out begins to creep up.
It is like walking a tightrope where on one side you have proven to yourself that you can manage your chronic depression. However, on the other, the heaviness of knowing that you have a lifelong with depression makes you want to stay in bed a bit longer. As you think about the blessing and the curse, you are almost curious to see what side you will sway on.
On some days you will wear makeup and dress to an upbeat playlist. You will know to treat yourself to a meal you like or get a pretty table mat. You might even volunteer to work on a national self represented litigants project because you’re up for the challenge. On other days, however, nothing will matter. You won’t style your hair and taking a shower will be a debate. Although both times you will make it through the day, the dance between deciding to cheer up and let clouds hover can be exhausting.
With time, however, you learn to move past the feelings. Not always though; during those times you have to extend yourself some grace. If you cannot roll out of bed today, that’s quite fine. Only promise yourself and make sure you leave your bed tomorrow. Even the promise to do something different the next day is good enough; it is a decision not to let the illness run your life entirely. That awareness is what pushes people through.
Having the self-awareness work for you
Self-awareness means knowing the good and the bad about you. When depressed and hopelessness is the feeling of the day, it is easy to spend every waking hour thinking of what’s wrong with you and why your life is a waste. During such days, you have to rally an ally, and that is what’s good about you. Even though you don’t feel like, look at the mirror and complement how amazing your teeth are. Pause to acknowledge how organized you are. Remember how people think you are a fantastic friend.
Managing depression is a daily struggle, but with it comes choices that we can make. Though an illness, we are not entirely weakened to it. There are alternatives available; medication, talk therapy and self-care. Whatever combination used, remember that you are not altogether powerless. Therefore, give yourself more credit, won’t you?