When being depressed, it is hard to picture feeling anything other than the depression itself. Hence the overwhelming hopelessness. I would think of how there was no way I could ever be happy again, and that there is no point in trying to make myself happy anymore. Depression can be a deep, black pit where you can’t find the light at the exit.
Reality is, is that I will feel happy again. Looking at statistics, I would be alive for approximately sixty-five more years until I die. It’s silly to assume that never once in those future days would I so much as crack a smile or laugh at a joke. Yes, there will be days where I am in a great mood and get lots of things done and have what a totally awesome day. But… I also have chronic depression.
That is the catch. My depression is also in my genetics, issues with my hormones, and wonky brain chemistry, all on top of some traumatic life events. It’s easy for me to say that it isn’t fair. Perhaps it isn’t. But neither is it fair to myself to cross out the meaning of my existence due to my mental illness. I owe it to myself to be the person I desire to be. I had to accept that I would periodically struggle with depression my entire life when I was young. What gave me power of my mental illness is that although I may not control what I feel, I have full control over my actions.With depression that is hard, but I remind myself that no mood is permanent.
No mood lasts forever. Life is meant to have ups and downs, as that gives sadness the ability to be compared to happiness, thus giving meaning to it. In the drowning sense of depression it is easy to forget the only thing constant is change.
That is why it is crucial to build up habits that will help conquer depression in the long-run. Set up a specific time of day to exercise, clean, and work on hobbies. Write a To-Do List that is manageable, such as the three things, then follow through with it. Prioritize keeping the routine. It takes twenty-one days to make a habit, and ninety days to make it a lifestyle. After enough time, your day will feel off if you do not engage in the habits. This successful routine really keeps my life from falling apart when I’m depressed. The uncomfortableness and dissonance I feel skipping my routine fuels me to continue on when I’m on the brink of total mental shut down. Mindlessly going through the motions, as numbing as it can be, makes me feel like I’m a capable adult. “Yes, I can do this and be somewhat normal. I can still accomplish my goals.” I still engage in self-care by letting myself sleep an extra half an hour, and plan a couple hours to vegetate on reading or playing video games. Isn’t that balance in general? Being productive, then doing whatever the hell you want?
Another aspect to note is what time are you the happiest during the day? If ‘happy’ is too far-fetch, then what about hopeful? I am the most optimistic in the morning, which is why I do most of my daily obligations as soon as I wake up at four in the morning. I work on either my story or this blog, then exercise, then eat a healthy breakfast, then go to my college morning classes. When my mood begins to go downhill as the day wears on, I still did everything I needed to do.
Pushing through the depression is hard. But so are the consequences of falling behind in life. I have cried from frustration of watching the world move forward, while my depression keeps me stuck watching. Then I realized that I could move forward too, and start to create a somewhat functional, responsible life.
Just because I am depressed, it doesn’t mean time nor the world will stop or wait for me. I may not be perfect in how I go about my routine, but damn I am not giving up since my mood is only temporary.