Childhood bullying caused me to have a fairly miserable time at school. I was bookish, physically inept and socially awkward. Add to that the headgear and a built-up shoe, and you had a sight that would make any school bully drool.
I have an idea for a children's book, but anxiety-induced procrastination is in the way. I've been saying for years that I want to write a book, and last week inspiration struck. I am telling you this because I know that if I don't, the idea will remain just that: an idea. And I will continue to be what I've been for years: someone who says they want to write a book, writes a few chapters, then leaves them to gather dust in a long-forgotten folder on a laptop. I am a pathological procrastinator, but I believe I have found a way to tackle my anxiety-induced procrastination and share it here in the hopes that it will help you, too.
I have been lying. I have spent the last six months writing this blog about the importance of letting go of shame and talking openly about the realities of living with depression, yet recently in my private life, I have forgotten to practice what I preach. I have become too invested in the idea of myself as someone who has "recovered" and stopped acknowledging my bad days. This is both insincere and unhealthy. Bad days will happen, and learning how to deal with them is a vital part of depression recovery.
Have you ever noticed that when you are feeling depressed, at least one person in your life tells you to "stop feeling sorry for yourself?" Depression and self-pity seem to go hand in hand, but they are not the same thing. Experiencing self-pity is significantly different from being blue. Here's how you can tell the difference.
This will be my final post of 2020. Not only are we heading into a new year, but I am due to give birth in just over a week, and I'll be taking a few weeks after that to settle into our new routine as a family of four (and I'm using the word "routine" very loosely). So, with that in mind, I thought I would use this week's blog post to reflect on what I've learned in 2020, and more specifically, what I've learned since joining the HealthyPlace community.
It is often said that relationships are a two-way street — that you get out what you put in. So how do you maintain relationships (platonic, romantic, or familial) when your mental health interferes with your ability to support others? How do you maintain relationships when you are so preoccupied with your thoughts and ruminations that it doesn't even occur to you to check in on the people closest to you? Sure, the odd blip can be forgiven, but in the case of chronic, long-term depression, how do you manage to convince other people to stick around? How do you tell them that you're not selfish, just suffering?
How can shame damage relationships? After all, shame has been a part of human culture for thousands of years. It is one of the things that makes human relationships and social structures unique and is arguably a necessary component of every civilized society. However, I believe people with mental health issues experience shame at a disproportionately high level, and this can be incredibly detrimental not only to their recovery — but also to their relationships with the people around them.
We are living in an age of unprecedented mental health awareness and mental illness empathy. Mental health stigma is decreasing. Mental health charities, awareness campaigns, and changes to the law in the last 10 years have created a social landscape where people feel much safer talking about their problems without the fear of being mocked, abused, and alienated. As someone with a mental illness, you would think I'd be thrilled by this, but the truth is that up until quite recently, I resented it.
Recognizing suicidal thoughts in yourself or others isn't always easy. The problem is, suicidal thoughts don't always look like you think they should. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
The mixture of chaos and depression will increase the longer we continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic. When chaos takes place in our mind, we can have a harder time coping with our depression. I am finding this to be true for myself over the past several days. If you, too, are feeling more chaotic and finding it especially difficult to cope with your depression lately, then let's see if we can figure out some coping strategies that might help.