I spent my morning watching a compilation video of celebrities farting on live TV. What did you do today?
As 2018 is drawing to a close, I find myself reflecting on how the last 12 months have gone.
They’ve been shit.
It would appear as though my start to 2018 really set the tone for the rest of the year: while other people rang in the New Year out partying with friends, I was getting drunk at my mom’s house, Google-searching Amanda Bynes because I thought it might make me feel marginally better about my life. It didn’t, in case you’re wondering. This is partly because of the obvious, mainly because I felt like I was looking into a really crusty mirror.
Holy shit, that’s me.
So why wasn’t I out having fun? Well, because I was way too depressed. And this is the shitty thing about depression: it is a vicious circle. The best thing I could have done to make myself feel better would probably have been to accept one of the invitations from friends, and go and be around other people. The problem is, that is absolutely the last thing I felt like doing. So I sat at home feeling sorry for myself (and Amanda Bynes) and woke up the next day feeling worse. And this is kind of how the rest of my year went too.
Depression doesn’t just happen. It creeps up on you. It starts off like a little shadow over your head. Like a cloud moving across the sun, stopping the light from touching your face. You kind of feel a little colder, a little sad, but it’s ok. The cloud moves away sometimes and you feel the warmth of the sun again every now and then, so you think, “It’s fine, just a cloudy day”. When you’re in the shadow, you don’t much feel like doing the stuff you usually do. You turn down a couple invitations because you just don’t really feel like it. You make excuses to skip workouts, or not do chores, or cook. You start to spend more time alone, not doing normal things. Your routine changes. Maybe you start to drink more, eat more, or less. After a little while, you realise it’s been a minute since you last saw the sun. In fact, you kind of can’t remember what it feels like any more. You look for it, but all you see is the shadow. You try to do things you usually enjoy, and find that you don’t any more. You try talking to people, people you care about, and find yourself disconnected, like the shadow has spread all around you, cutting you off from everything. And it gets worse. You slowly start to spiral.
It’s so easy to get sucked into that black hole, that vicious circle. Because it happens gradually, you often don’t realise until it’s too late. It took me the better part of a year to acknowledge what was happening. It was a really difficult thing to accept too (largely because I’m proud and arrogant and obnoxious and hate the idea that I have weaknesses). But it was necessary. If you have a problem, the logical approach to finding a solution is to first accept that the problem exists. Then you can figure out what is causing the problem, make changes, and solve it.
Sounds simple, right? Wrong. It sucks balls and so does everything else. You know why? Because humans are ridiculously complex beings, each as unique as a damn snowflake, and each with our own unique set of soul-crushing problems. Nobody truly understands each other, we’re all alone and we’re all doomed anyway so what’s the point?
That’s what I thought anyway.
I was wrong. Complex and unique though we may be, we really aren’t all that different in some fairly fundamental ways. We all have needs, wants and desires. We all have strengths and weaknesses. We all have feelings thoughts and emotions and the capacity to let them get the better of us.
If you’re reading this, chances are you or someone you know is going through something rough. So from one hot mess to another, here’s some advice, which I can give in good conscience, because I’ve learned from my mistakes:
- Don’t be an asshole. I mean more to yourself than anybody else. Don’t be too proud or scared or ashamed to admit you’re not ok, even if it’s only to yourself to start with. That brain of yours has a hell of a job to do keeping you alive and conscious and coping with all the shit you think and feel and do. It’s allowed to get tired. Cut it some slack. Give it a hug and a rest once in a while.
- Take care of your body. Eating healthy, sleeping well and exercising are probably the last things that you want to do right now. They’re overwhelming. I know. But trust me you will feel better. Depression means your body chemistry is all off. Taking care of your body actively alters its chemistry and helps bring back the balance. For real. It’s science, bitch.
- Get help. Maybe for you this means talking to people you trust, maybe in an online forum, maybe it means therapy. Doesn’t matter. Don’t try to struggle through it alone because believe me, you will make your life infinitely harder.
- Get this in your head: there is light at the end of this tunnel. What you’re going through now is not forever. It might feel like it right now, but this too shall pass. I promise.
And now, because this has been unbearably serious and heavy, I leave you with a GIF which I feel perfectly embodies my 2018:
Chin up, buttercup <3