What do you do when you are in depression?

I’m on my way out of a real depressive low and the way I finally managed to make it out was to not do anything.

Telling someone who is so depressed they can barely brush their teeth that all they need to do is get therapy, build a meaningful network of friends, and get daily exercise (it’s all so simple!) is a sure way to highlight all the things they already feel/know they’re failing at.

I managed to skim by doing the bare minimum for work for a few days (fortunate, but not fortunate enough to take a couple of days or weeks off) and I got myself into a really dark place. I was drinking (once again, unhelpful to tell someone who is in the real lows to simply avoid the magical sleep-elixir). I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t going outside, unless totally necessary. I knew it was all bad for me and I hated myself for it all.

So finally I just stopped doing everything. I decided laying on the couch on pyjamas scrolling was preferable to drinking. So I did nothing but that. I also decided that ‘doing nothing’ could include ‘not beating myself up about everything I’ve ever done wrong’. To achieve this ‘nothing’ I watched the most ridiculous, positive, brightly coloured tv show I could find and binged it over a day. When I started with the negative spiralling, I tried to focus on the screen. Pretty, bright, nothing to do with me.

I didn’t clean the house and I didn’t pick on myself for it. I didn’t keep calling the people who didn’t pick up the phone and just reinforced my bad feelings about myself (I mean family here – mine are pretty terrible). I didn’t tell myself off for eating bad food and accepted frozen pizza was a better form of self care than simply starving.

I did nothing and it gave me a break from the negative voice in my head. If all you do when you feel this way is lay on the floor and fight that voice, it doesn’t matter what the rest of the world thinks. You doing ‘nothing’ is you fighting a battle no one can see. So, give yourself a break and do nothing.

note: I still feel pretty bad. I’m in my pyjamas in the middle of the day. My kitchen is a mess. But it’s a little easier today. And it will continue to get a little easier.

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