There is never a great time for being depressed. That being said, there are times when it is incredibly more crummy. Being sad on your birthday is awful. Being sad on your child’s birthday is even worse. Being sad on Valentine’s day is cliché. Being sad on Arbor day is creative.
The winner for The Worst Time To Be Depressed is officially awarded to December. Also known as “the holidays”.
The good news is that if you are depressed right now you are not alone. For starters you’ve got me to give you the “this blows” fistbump.
People have alllll kinds of reasons for being or feeling sad right now:
• you are getting MAIL. from HAPPY PEOPLE. all smiling at you. mocking you.
• you are bombarded with “poke you in the eye” decorations everywhere you go
• conversations include gems like, “are you getting excited for Christmas?!” or “have you purchased all of your gifts yet?”
• holiday parties – ugh- EYE CONTACT!!!
Most people will try to give you tips on how to avoid being depressed. I am sorry, but that is bullshit. I can say that because I AM depressed and all of the typical avoidance tactics would not/ are not working out for me. Sometimes life is shitty and the best way to process it is to BE depressed. Own it.
I usually give myself a deadline for depression – that is the only thing that helps. I declare this depression will be over before 2013 begins. I would be thrilled if I was an over-achiever and was able to finish this depression phase before Christmas because it would be AWESOME to enjoy that day.
But it might not happen. And I am going to give myself permission to accept that.
How to be depressed during the holidays
1. Feed your feelings
What is your comfort food group? For me it is cheese products. This means cheese on bread, cheese on crackers, cheese IN crackers, cheese solo.
2. Announce your state of mind
I am a pretty easy book to read. If I am feeling something you will see it on my face. However I am a QUEEN of announcing my feelings. It is not always welcome and it is not always easy, but if you ask me how I am chances are that I will tell you exactly how I am. This means I might very well tell a random woman at the playground, “well I just had a miscarriage so I am working on recovering from that.”
RANDOM ADVICE FOR PEOPLE THAT ASK, “HOW ARE YOU?”
I know you really just want to hear “fine” from people. Trust me, I know. And I am a total jerk for not giving you what you want. But sometimes, in that moment, it is easier for me to blurt out the truth. And it is MUCH BETTER than me saying, “fuck you for caring about me right now!!” Because obviously I wouldn’t mean that. Not at all. I’m just in a bad place and oozing out inappropriately.
3. Hygiene is for happy people
Ok, fine, maybe a shower feels nice, but when you are depressed sometimes getting up from the sofa to the shower is HARD. And then a day goes by and you start to hate on yourself for not being able to do something simple like bathe. So save yourself some time. Wash your face, brush your teeth, change your shirt if you spill cheese on it. Otherwise – just skip it. Looking like shit actually lets the world know to back off. If you saw me in public right now you would absolutely avoid me.
4. Avoid talking on the phone
I suck at the phone when I am depressed. It goes back to that not being able to hide my feelings thing. When I am depressed I don’t want to talk about it. I want to avoid. I want to skip ahead. I want to fast forward to life where I can chit-chat. Talking on the phone when I am depressed forces me to hear myself and THAT is not good. (I do give bonus points to friends that totally get that I will not be taking their calls and still call me anyway and leave me zany messages on my voicemail.)
5. Have a preview friend
If you don’t have a friend that will test the waters for you then you need to get one asap. I have a friend that knows exactly what tv shows I like to watch. She watches them first and then gives me heads up about things that might send me to the ugly crying place. Triggers are awful. Unexpected triggers can kill me. Having someone send me a text that simply says, “you should skip watching this show for a few weeks” is beyond helpful.
6. Stay off Facebook
TRUST ME ON THIS. This is the season where folks announce pregnancies, engagements, GOOD NEWS. Don’t put yourself in a position where you feel obligated to like someone’s status update when all you really want to do is leave them a comment saying, “hope you have better luck at this than I did”. Because that would be wrong.
7. Make plans with people who know what is going on
Until you can talk about your depression without going through an entire box of tissues you should not be with people who you do not trust. While I am a big supporter of staying on your sofa for as long as medically necessary I also know that getting out of the house can make the day go by faster. Make plans for brunch with friends that you can just eat in silence with. Find someone to go to a movie with.
I wish I could control my depression better. I really do. But it’s my burden right now and I will carry this weight until it melts off.
If you are depressed right now you are NOT alone. You also need to know that it will not last forever. I promise. Medication can help, friends can help, finding a creative outlet or a fantastic block of cheese can help.
You can talk to me.
Did you beat Holiday Depression? Tell me your tips and tricks!