Fighting the Demons

Everyone gets depressed. I don’t say that to try and marginalize what anyone is going through, but to remind everyone that they are not alone. I know I’m depressed on a regular basis and I tend to forget that others go through the same thing. What I want to do is talk a little about some of the things I think when I’m depressed and how it can be fought. Maybe it will help me, but maybe it can help someone else too. I’d also like to talk a little about therapy for those thinking about it.

What I feel doesn’t matter. – My life isn’t fantastic, but there are some very good things in my life. So much so that when I get depressed I feel guilty for being depressed. What have I got to feel bad about? There are people out there worse off than me.
Well, that’s true, but that doesn’t mean what we feel isn’t important. Depression isn’t a mood. It’s a disease. It’s a problem that is very difficult to overcome and just because things seem ok from the outside it doesn’t mean things are ok on the inside. You have a right to feel the way you do and no one should make you feel bad for that.

Nothing is ever going to get better. – That’s a tough one to get over. When you’re depressed life seems to turn into a long dark tunnel with nothing at the end but, well, the End. The problem is that  tunnel goes both ways and it walls off the good things in your life. It makes you forget last week when you were in a good mood and had lunch with your friends. It can make you forget that you have a support group. It makes you forget that moods do actually pass. The best thing I’ve found is to remember that. Even if it seems hopeless, this WILL pass. I know everyone says it but it’s the truth. Eventually you’ll have a good day. You just need to hang on.

I want to be alone. – No you don’t. You think you do and it feels like you do, but you don’t. If you listen very closely there’s that tiny little voice telling you that being alone isn’t what you need to do. Being near people helps. It really does. Just being around my friends does wonders for my depression. It gives you a reason to not dwell on the horrible horrible things that go through your mind and it makes you act a little brighter since there are other people to consider. If you’re really lucky you can talk to those people about how you’re feeling.

What’s the point in getting help? This is who I am. – No it isn’t. Maybe you’ve been depressed so long that you don’t remember who you are and how you normally act, but depression isn’t who you are. It’s something that’s happening to you constantly and it hurts. When you’re hurting you act differently. You should find help. Friends, support groups, therapists, group therapy, medication. Whatever it takes to get you better. If you had pneumonia you’d see a doctor. This is no different. You need help and there’s nothing wrong with asking for it and getting it. I did.

A few bits of advice.

Let’s say you decide to find a therapist and get some help. Here are a few things to keep in mind that I’ve run across through other people.
First, don’t lie to your therapist. You’re paying to be there, they’re trying to help you, and all lyings going to do is hold back the healing process. For some reason LOTS of people I’ve met go into a therapist’s office and start lying. They admit that they lied once they’re out and can’t tell you why they did it.
Second, it’s ok to cry. No, really. Some people think when a therapist makes a patient cry they’re being a jerk. They’re not. It’s the first step toward healing. I cried in the first few sessions with my therapist and while I ended up being a blubbering wreck for a little bit I felt better afterwards than I had in years. Crying is a form of release and nothing to be ashamed up. Even if you don’t go to therapy I recommend a really good cry every now and again.
Third, find a therapist you’re comfortable with and can trust. Just because someone is a therapist doesn’t mean they should be YOUR therapist. I lucked out with Byron, but I have a friend that went through a few before he found the right one. If you aren’t comfortable with that person, you’re not going to get anything out of the sessions. You have the right to choose so exercise that right.
Fourth, see them when you need to. I don’t just mean those “Man, I need a therapist!” moments. I mean those moments where you feel like you don’t WANT to go and you feel helpless. Those are the best times to go. Therapy is a tool. It’s something to help you so use it.

Remember, you deserve to be better. We ALL deserve to be better.

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