12 Thoughts On Depression

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

Some of this might work for you, and some of it won’t. There will be a variety of tones and arguments, because depression and fear and desperation all take different hues and shades. Choose what fits and leave the rest.

1.

You’re allowed to be sad. You’re allowed to be miserable, depressed, and variation thereof. It really is. It is surprisingly normal and shockingly normal. 

You’re also allowed to feel better.

You do not owe your depression any loyalty. I get it. It feels comfortable, in a way. Familiar. Staying in feels a lot safer than going out. Being silent feels righteous, in its own dark way. But you can fight it.

I know it’s not that easy. Trust me; I know. It’s hard and sad and difficult to fight depression, to reach out, to admit it and suffer through explanations that you don’t know why, you just know that you are.

That’s okay. It is. But it’s okay to feel better, too. Accept both those realities and the whole thing gets easier.

2.

Look at a calendar and clock. Understand the actualities of time.

I get it. Depression feels permanent, but it isn’t. It’s simple relativity: time flies when you’re having fun, and it slows to infinity in depression, but, as much as you can, be objective. Good hours pop in, unexpected, like big, breaking gasps of breath and good days can carefully string together before you collapse back into your depths.

Have you been depressed for weeks? Months? Even, God forbid, the larger part of a year?

That is not eternity. It is bad, it is terrible, but it is not infinite. You can make it.

3.

Buy a scratch ticket. Do not scratch it. Keep it in your house. Let the aura of possibility stir you, unwillingly, into daydreams. Ten thousand dollars? Ten dollars? It’s nothing, though; you’re going to lose. Still, let the daydreams will come uninvited. Five hundred bucks; that’s not impossible. Wouldn’t that be cool? Five hundred bucks?

Do not scratch it. Then, when you are at your lowest, go to it. Roll your eyes, be mad at yourself for even hoping, and scratch. Watch as, unwillingly, you hope again.

You will lose. You will feel worse than ever, but you won’t. It will be kind of funny, you now, to even hope. Remind yourself this was, all things considered, a pretty strong psychological use for two dollars. Chuckle. Put your coat on, and buy another. Get a snack too. You deserve it.

Eat the snack.

Save the ticket.

4. 

Remember, holy shit, remember your worth is not contingent on anything. You are not your weight, your sexual identity, your grades, your appearance, your wealth, your medical status or anything else, okay?

You’re a person. That’s amazing and that means so many things. Don’t ever simplify it to an insecurity or fear. You are more than you know.

  5.

No more absolutes.

Look, I get it. In the midst of some depressions, it mounts and solidifies upon itself. And, at its worst, death sounds poetic and simple and absolute.

But nothing is absolute. Not even death.

The next time you think about killing yourself change the words. Instead of killing yourself think “I am so sad and overwhelmed and miserable that I want to fake my own death and do a lot of hiking and meditation in Arizona. I will read great books and smoke a lot to watch the stars on dark, dry nights. I will do this for about eight months before I even start to think about what comes next.”

Sure, it would be difficult and irresponsible to just jet off into Arizona, but it’s a lot less difficult and irresponsible than committing murder on yourself.

You want absolutes and extremes and peace and finality and freedom. Okay. Do something wild and dramatic and absolute that is good and constructive for your soul. If you are really, truly at your wits end, do something, anything else. A road trip! Quit your job suddenly because you fucking snapped, and whatever, everyone gets a “just snapped” in their life. Go camping! Silent yoga! Writing down all your feelings and worries! Writing them down and sharing them so you can remind yourself that the world is connected and your life has inherent value in your ability to connect and help others with similar mental tensions! A kickball league!

Do what you have to do, and what you want to do. Just explore the options before, you know, literal death.

6. 

Get a dog. A big, sloppy, friendly dog. Get it from the pound and save its life.

Care for it, bask in its love and love it back. Love it, love it, love it. Find purpose. Watch it pant. Smell it. Enjoy the simple, solid joy of knowing that you are sharing your life and bringing purpose into the world. Continue. Let that repair your soul and keep repairing.

7. 

At your darkest, remember that suicide is not your daydream, your answer, your binary solution or poem.

Right before you die, you will shit yourself.

You will. That’s a medical fact. Releasing the bowels is the first thing the body does after death and I hope that serves as an uncomfortable reminder that gives you pause. Suicide is terrible, messy, desperate, terrible thing. Life can be that way too: that’s why you’ve been pushed so far. But suicide is not your 

This is a guilt trip. Sorry. I am not above guilt to try to save your life. 

8.

Help somebody out. Reach out. Volunteer. Do something, anything, to remind yourself of your potential and to create a world that, in a very real sense, is better off for your presence.

9.

Life is long. Super long. It is, by default, the longest thing in your life. And you have touched and can continue to touch the lives of so many people.

What about your friends? Your teachers? Your favorite cousins? The coffee shop you frequent? Your room-mates? Your exes, past, present, and future? Your Facebook friends who aren’t quite friends but always thought you were kind of fun? 

The future can feel vague, but think about how many things have happened in the last fifteen months. Really. I’ll wait. Spend a hundred and eighty seconds on this- you can spare three minutes, right?- and jot it down. That’s the past two summers and the whole year in between. Jot down meals, friends, laughs, tears, adventures, grades, crushes, dates, trips, birthdays, holidays, arguments, movies, entire seasons of shows, entire seasons of life, and, albums heard.

That’s fifteen months. What are you going to miss if you check out now? What things could happen in the next thirty months? Or the next forty-five? Forty-five months sounds like a long time, and it is, but that’s only three and a half years. If you’re in your twenties now, you’ll still be young eighty-six months from now.

Okay? You have a lot of life to live. See what happens.

10. 

You know what helps? Help.

Getting help does not mean you are bad or admitting defeat. It is, quite simply, deciding “I would like to feel better” and following through. Suffering intensely and in secret because you’re worried about an imagined social stigma is kind of silly, dude. And I get your skepticism. How could pills or a therapist possibly help? 

I don’t know how my iPhone works. All I know is that it  but it does. The world is full of mysteries, but when one of those mysteries has a long, serious and proven history of helping people equally skeptical with equal problems, maybe it’s time to take a long sigh, roll your eyes, and make the best decision of your life with a detached, spiteful irony. I don’t care why you do it, just do.

11.

Reach out, yo.

Seriously. You are not so uniquely bad as to live beyond love, simplicity, and growth. Okay? 

I’ve got an email on the sidebar. I might not get back to you, but I probably will. I put the odds around 80%, personally. As a random dude on the internet, I care.  Your family cares. Your friends care. Your acquaintances care. Strangers care.

You don’t have to be happy to have value. You don’t have to worry about being a burden. People like you! That’s a statistical fact, a historical inevitability time and time again. People like people. It’s how societies work, and, guess what? You’re in a society.

Again: you are not uniquely bad. You are a person, like anyone else, with ups and downs, like so many others. Depression is normal, and it doesn’t define you or damage your worth. So reach out, and pay it forward when you can.

12.

Lastly, take care of yourself. The gym is good. Dressing well always makes me feel better, as do showers, hamburgers, long phone calls, up-tempo Drake songs, and seeing friends.

Some of those will work for you, and you know what other things I missed. Do them. You deserve happiness. Might as well pursue it. TC mark

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