Do you get depression?
Do you get depression? I know that before I got treatment for my Bipolar II disorder, I spent most of my time depressed. I wouldn’t shower. I wouldn’t clean my house. I would cancel my appointments. I ate a lot of macaroni and cheese and watched a lot of television shows. I’d run out of clean clothes to wear. I’d worry about what my husband and boyfriend thought of my slovenly, lazy ways. I’d worry about my kid – was he in a healthy environment? Welcome to Day 20 of The 30-Day Sustainable Domesticity Challenge. Let’s get serious.
It is very important that we share our depression stories. Many, if not most, of the people I know suffer from depression. Maybe it’s just my friends group. Depression is – depressingly – common. There is still a stigma surrounding mental illness. There still lingers a whiff of doubt that mental illness isn’t a medical problem but a bum personality trait. Which, of course, isn’t true.
Depression is a medical problem. Treat it that way.
Depression and other mental disorders are medical problems that need medical treatment. Just like a broken bone isn’t a personality flaw, a mental illness isn’t either.
Become an advocate.
So. Do you get depression? What I would love is for you to comment below and share your story. Why? We need to normalize mental illness. We need to know that it’s okay, and not at all shaming, to have a mental illness. We need to know that you get depressed sometimes so we can feel less alone, less anomalous, less a failure, less of a mooching drain on society.
Do I get depression?
Do I get depression? Yes I do. I see the signs. My hair is unwashed. My dishes are piled in the sink, covered in sauce and attracting flies. My garbage overflows. I have just watched two seasons of a show and don’t remember much of it. My family gets no attention. I take three hour naps and go to bed early. And that’s after treatment. That’s with medication.
The thing is, since I started receiving psychiatric (read: medical) care, my episodes of depression have become far more rare. I used to be depressed nearly every day. Now I get depressed every few months, and only for a day or two. It’s a huge difference.
Here’s your homework.
I have a little homework for you. Post about your depression to social media. When depression hits, call a friend and tell them that you’re depressed. Share about your depression with your friendly acquaintances. Comment below and talk to us about your depression.
It’s not dramatic. It’s not needy. It’s not exposing a shameful secret. It’s practical. It’s pragmatic. It’s no-nonsense.
Here’s an example
“I’m not going to volunteer at the PTA event because I’m depressed right now.” That simple.
This is what advocacy looks like. Owning your depression. Normalizing depression. Prioritizing your need for care – both self-care and professional care.
Talk about your depression.
If you get depression, it’s time to share it. At work. To friends. With your family. The mission here is simple: be another voice adding yourself to the tide of messages that depression is real, depression is common, and depression deserves care and accommodations. Just like broken legs deserve casts and casseroles. You deserve a casserole and a hug too.
Once you’ve talked about your depression, here’s what to do next.
In the meantime, take a shower. Take out one bag of trash. Put away your clean dishes. Then rest. Take care of yourself. Allow yourself to move slowly. What do you need? Sunshine? A chatty call with a friend? A craft to focus on? A little bit of gentle music? A good sit underneath a tree with a book? Offer yourself these things gently. You don’t need to take yourself up on your suggestions. Sometimes a bag of chips and three seasons of a television show are what you need.
Take care of yourself.