how to be depressed

“Depression was, indeed, the hand of a friend trying to press me down to the ground on which it was safe to stand–the ground of my own truth, my own nature with its complex mix of limits and gifts, liabilities and assets, darkness and light.”
– Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

I don’t think I’ve ever been “clinically” depressed. Well, maybe I have, but it certainly didn’t feel clinical. It felt morbid, cosmic, and unavoidably essential. When I was thirteen, my parents split for the umpteenth and final time and a few months later, my dad brought it to my attention that I’d been wearing the same hockey jersey for weeks and that I needed to start doing the dishes again. I was definitely depressed.

And there was the dark night after Magic Man flew back to London and the apartment felt like a keyless heartbreak hotel with barred windows. But my last extended dark night was about ten years ago. It was a new depth of crushing aloneness. Another break up, this time with Hot-but-Needy Actor Man in LA (I was equally needy, duh,) which triggered an exorcism of self doubt and psychic bile that, being thirty-something and ambitious, I just needed to get out of my system. {Note: it’s often not the actual loss that causes the depression – it’s all the crap that’s tied up in it that you needed to deal with anyway.}

In that spell of depression I wore the same pair of ass-ripped Levi’s for weeks. I’d lie in my backyard at two in the morning in nowhere New Mexico, smoking Marlboro’s, looking up at the stars, wondering about the fatality of scorpion bites, and praying for aliens to abduct me. {Not joking in any way.} I cried every single day, sometimes twice a day, for weeks. I felt profoundly unheard…empty. As I’d fall asleep I felt as though chunks of my being were decomposing into the bed. It was a brutal ordeal of the psyche, but I knew I was being reborn. I did have faith that whatever new face was emerging, she would eventually smile back at me.

I learned a thousand subtle and mighty things about Life from those existential passages, but what I learned about depression itself is that, the more you resist it, the longer it lasts.

When depressed, I find it’s best to just be…depressed.

Happiness returns more quickly when you give yourself permission to be blue…or any shade of black you need to be.

I understand that for some people, depression can be so severe as to be life threatening. It can grip a soul for decades. The kind of depression I’m addressing here falls somewhere within the category of disparaging life passages to profound melancholy…which is to say, likely manageable without drugs and positively surmountable. But I will go on record to say that, while I think meds for depression can be a viable option to break a cycle and regain one’s footing, I think we’re a culture overly prone to numbing out. And in doing so, we not only deny our own power, we carry our demons with us far longer than we have to.

HOW TO BE DEPRESSED SO THAT HAPPINESS HAS A BETTER CHANCE OF RETURNING — SOONER RATHER THAN LATER

  1. Give yourself full permission to be pathetic for a short period of time. In fact, relish the pathetic-ness. Enthusiastically wallow in self pity. If people let themselves have downer days more often, there might be fewer heart attacks and road rage. Being a total loser for a morning or a weekend isn’t the slippery slope to despair. It’s a direct route to what your emotions are trying to tell you…feel, heal, know thyself. And move on, more empowered than before.
  2.  Watch or read something depressing. Rent some heart wrenching documentaries like, God Grew Tired of Us or War Dance and bawl your eyes out. Chances are that your life will be looking pretty damn good in comparison.
  3.  Be incredibly, sublimely gentle with yourself, like you might be with a child or dear friend whom you deeply adore.
  4.  If someone who loves you asks how you are, admit to being blue. When a girl friend calls, let her know that it’s a dog day afternoon and that you’re happily in despair.
  5.  When the novelty of being depressed is starting to wear off, shake your arms above your head like you’re being saved by the Almighty Holy Spirit itself, turn on some loud Opera music, and shout, “I’m depressed! I’m sooo depressed!” Gauranteed: you will start laughing smirky giggles to deep belly laughs and you will decide to listen to the rhythm of your blues and keep on walking…more empowered than before.
  6. Break your happiness fast with a treat. Write a kind note to yourself about how brave you are for being still in the dark, for standing down a monster or two. Dress up even if you work from home. Bring a plant to work and water it. Freshen up. And give yourself full permission to just be … deeply happy.
related posts
Danielle-LaPorte-Free-and-Clear-Letting-Go

Examining our expectations and what it means to deeply let go.

Whether you need to perform major surgery on your commitments, or you need to just blow some shit up and walk away, healthy letting go requires mindfulness. So let’s really feel and think this through to get you free and clear.

Resources for emotional trauma support for you and people you love-Danielle-LaPorte

Resources for emotional trauma support for you and people you love.

Resources for emotional trauma support for you and people you love.

Desire-Map-Free-and-Clear-Retrspective

RETROSPECTION: Your first Q&A of FREE & CLEAR!

THE RETROSPECTION exercise goes deep, and does it quickly. You’ll have 5 minutes to answer a big reflection question, and from there…we start to peel back the layers to clarity. If you want to find out, you have to go in.

Danielle-LaPorte-Free-and-Clear

FREE and CLEAR: a (free) 6-week INTROSPECTION guided experience.

FREE and CLEAR: A 6 week Guided Experience Re-set so you can start fresh. Clear your head so you can make some great plans.

Dear God, help me out with the basics, would you-Danielle-LaPorte

Dear God, help me out with the basics, would you?

Show me how to love the ones that are like, really hard to love. The misogynists and boundary bullies, the fake leaders and land-rapers. Actually, for the sake of efficiency, just show me how to love the most greedy. That should cover it. (But while we’re at it, help me out with the Mean Girls, ‘cause like, whoa.)

Your esteem and your money-Danielle-LaPorte

Your esteem and your money.

Your esteem and your money. Here’s a money-saving tip that also happens to be a radical counter-cultural act of defiance.

FSS People

Conscious career-generators! I’m starting something new. For you.

Conscious career-generators! I’m starting something new. For you.

How to hone your truth detector-Danielle-LaPorte

How to hone your truth detector.

There’s so much faking it to make it and deception happening in every sector of life — from politics to self-improvement. So how can we hone our truth detectors?

Women, boundaries, and spirituality. The perfect storm.

Women, boundaries, and spirituality. The perfect storm.

In my experience, boundary obliviousness is part of the initiation into wholeness. I don’t think you have to warrior your whole life for it, but it’s a passage to self-agency that most women seem to have to go through. Boundaries help us expand our consciousness.

What becomes possible when you say No?

What becomes possible when you say No?

What becomes possible when you say No? What would open up? Shift. Lighten. Crumble. Dissolve. Melt.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This