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
what-to-do-after-the-breakthrough-danielle-laporte-social-2-2x

What to do after you have a breakthrough. (You’re going to shrink after you expand, so, listen closely.)

Threshold, crossed. You got there. After the grinding, the repetitive strain, the cord-cutting, the screams of release, the bliss of relief — the training paid off. Muscle burn got you across the finish line. Soul fire resurrected you. BREAKTHROUGH.

jerk-final

Why jerks show up in your life.

We attract jerks to burn karma — old agreements to be broken in current time, vows to be rescinded, slates to be wiped clean. We attract jerks for contrast — jerks show us what deception and manipulation feels like. They show us how we DON’T want to feel — which is excellent intel for knowing how we DO want to feel.

Featured @2x 456x456 (20)

The epidemic of the brittle woman and the salvation of softness

You know her. Maybe you are her. Or you were. Sisters, please don’t become her. Sisters (and brothers), let’s heal her. She’s giving up on love and life. Sometime, as a result of having to try too hard to get her very essential Soul needs met she… just… got… worn…down. She had no choice but to stiffen. Then she realized that she had a choice.

Featured @2x 456x456 (19)

5 pointers for developing freedom-based creativity & work habits. Which is to say, you’ve got to dissolve guilt and rock your own rhythm.

A note on CREATIVE FLOW…. I’m “working” today. Wasn’t planning on it. It’s a sunny, gorgeous Vancouver Sunday. But since my kid is running around the block with his neighbour buddies, I’m using this time to write, respond, vision.

456x456-Are you hanging by a thread?

Are you hanging by a thread?

It’s hard. It’s wrenching. It’s incredibly painful and it’s difficult to feel lightness. Or to see clearly. Hanging by a thread can be really disorienting. What you’re going through undeniably sucks. It may be hard to believe right now, but not only will it be okay, not only will you get through and over this, you will thrive again…

456x456-in praise of women- magnificent, spacious, fiery witnesses

in praise of women: magnificent, spacious, fiery witnesses

I often hear “women are our own worst enemies” in terms of our culture. I’m tired of that argument. I think everyone is their own worst enemy, and I don’t think it’s about something women have specifically against each other.

Featured @2x 456x456 (17)

[VIDEO] Deep creativity and the jitters. Feel the doubt…and be of service anyway.

There’s a difference between the definition of happiness and the definition of joy. It’s valuable to be aware of this because when things get tough, logic might want you to default to despair, or utter sadness or worse, you might think you have to choose between hardship and joy, or support and separation, or light and dark…

Social 1 @2x

My SuperSoul100 brunch with Oprah (yep!) and support notes for all of you Lightworkers and generally progressive humans…

There’s a difference between the definition of happiness and the definition of joy. It’s valuable to be aware of this because when things get tough, logic might want you to default to despair, or utter sadness or worse, you might think you have to choose between hardship and joy, or support and separation, or light and dark…

Featured @2x 456x456 (16)

The difference between happiness & joy. And why it helps to know.

There’s a difference between the definition of happiness and the definition of joy. It’s valuable to be aware of this because when things get tough, logic might want you to default to despair, or utter sadness or worse, you might think you have to choose between hardship and joy, or support and separation, or light and dark…

Original-Self-Help-July-28-When-You’re-Done-Fighting-For-It

When you’re done fighting for it. The upside of finally giving up.

Do you know the story of the man who was hitting himself over the head with a hammer? “Why do you keep hitting yourself with that hammer?” a shocked passerby asked him. “Because,” the man replied, “it’s going to feel so good when I stop.”

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This