I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been having a rough time @SheetMetalHead.
All the reasons you mention about finding it hard to reach out to people in your life are understandable. It sounds like, these days, there’s no place around you where you could just be… you. With all the strengths and vulnerability that makes you who you are. Without having to prove or perform anything, and without having to be afraid of what might result from this vulnerability. While you are facing all these “shoulds” and obligations in your life, it makes sense to feel overwhelmed and tempted to lean into this call for stillness in the midst of your progress.
Depression sucks so much, for reasons I don’t even have to mention as you understand that way too much already. But also, for what it’s worth, I like to see it as a beacon sometimes, something that gives me a direction, a kind of message that both my body and my mind are trying to send me. Generally, I understand the “message” when I’m hitting rock bottom already, but with time I learned to identify those depressing spirals more easily. Just like you did by sharing this. Good thing that you’re aware of how you feel right now and to put words on it.
Friend, you’ve been battling for so long against this overwhelming shadow. You’re facing all the Shoulds in front of you, you’re looking after a place where you can just BE without having to wear your “good husband”, “good friend” or “warrior” coat… it all makes sense to be overwhelmed. Your battles are not invisible. But I understand too well how hard it is to just find a place where you can be without any restriction induced by depression, without being afraid of the consequences, of what you’re feeling or thinking. And, should I say, without feeling like you’d be failing on yourself.
I keep feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day for me to do all the things I should do, but the reality is that I fill my time telling myself I’m tired and I need to rest.
And do you rest? Or does your mind keep resisting against this idea? Personally, I can spend an insane amount of time being stuck in this middle of “nothing”, of doing nothing and being motivated by nothing, to keep repeating to myself that I need to rest but somehow I don’t. And it’s not 100% about the amount of things I’m doing or not. It’s about accepting my needs. Because indeed, it’s disappointing to feel dragged back in the most depressed places of my mind while I’m objectively doing a lot to heal and just… live.
There is rest… and rest. I don’t know if you’re part of the HS Masterclass, but this reminds me what someone said a couple of weeks ago. The main idea was: “I live from a place of rest”. A mind blowing statement.
I’ve been on and off for so many times wondering if I’m genuinely lazy sometimes, if I’m not finding some comfort in my struggles, or if being defeated from time to time is really the product of my depression. I think that most of the time my interpretation is wrong. But it’s not even important. The thing is, while I’m trying to understand what’s going on so I can decide what would be my next step, I totally ignore what I’m feeling and currently experiencing at an emotional leval. And there’s a need for just so much grace and self-compassion in these moments.
I want to encourage you to allow yourself to be tired. To rest in whatever sense it takes for you, as long as it remains safe. To take a break. And to realize that it’s okay.
Yes, you are fighting against depression and yes it has this little voice sometimes, this familiar call towards some very dark places of our mind. But you’ve been working on yourself for a long time too. You know yourself better than you did years ago. You know your depression in a better way too. You’re not out of resources either and you can be proud of this safety net you created for yourself when things get tough. Now, you also have to be a safety net for yourself.
If you’re afraid to stay stuck in this, give yourself a time limit to rest. A day, a week, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re committed to it, just like you are for all the other things in your life, but without the performance spark. You already did it before. It’s okay if you need it 1, 10 or thousand times. You’re only human and you can’t be on a proactive mode all the time - even though “rest” doesn’t necessarily mean doing nothing, on the contrary. Even if almost everything in our society tells us that being constantly proactive and focused on what’s next is a realistic expectation… it’s not. You have the right to say a gentle “f*ck” to everything when there’s a potential for it to be healthy and positive. And it starts in your mind. You’re committed to so many people around you. You’re committed to your relationships, your therapy, the steps of your recovery program, your work. Be committed to yourself just as you are right here and right now. Without any layer of guilt, disappointment or to do lists. Those feelings, people and responsabilities will still be here tomorrow. They won’t give up on you just like you’re not giving up on yourself.
Sometimes battling with depression feels like we have to be performing at so many things at once as it just affects every dimension of our life in such a sneaky way. It goes on the top of handling all the usual things that every people encounter everyday. Sometimes we can be so used to be in this warrior mode that even if we know that being vulnerable, having ups and downs and resting is theorically okay, we also need to remind ourselves that it’s really okay, and not only an idea that we internalised at some point. A warrior mode can pervert the idea of rest or self-care and make it be another task in our giant lists of Shoulds.
But sometimes we also just need a moment when it feels like depression isn’t part of our vocabulary. It’s not giving up. Especially since it seems that you have people around you who could be a pillar of accountability if you need. “I’ll take some time for myself today. Could you check on me tomorrow?” is just a small step we need to take sometimes. Even if you don’t really know what to do or what rest would imply to you, it’s okay. Time is a gift in itself. You’d still give yourself this moment and have an opportunity to 1/ learn to know yourself, 2/ listen to what your heart, your mind and your body are trying to tell you. Just because all of these parts of yourself, these parts that make you uniquely you, keep on existing both behind and in the middle of the layers of depression. Don’t just run after the person you want to be, or feel like you have to be. Allow yourself to meet this person that you are right here and right now. I can assure you, it’s a beautiful individual already.
Hope I don’t sound like patronizing or anything by the way… that’s really not my intention. This response only comes from a place of care for you and your well-being.
Appreciate you, @SheetMetalHead. I’m grateful you’re part of this community. Not just because of all the wise insights you share with so many. But because you’re you.