I’ll go ahead and get this part out of the way real fast. I’m moody. Like, strings of medication moody. I don’t tolerate crowds, socializing, or stupidity very well. I’m quick to point out the downside of everything. I’m a 100% natural born, certified grouch.
If you know me, then you know what I’m going to say isn’t going to be glossy and sugary sweet. More than likely, it’ll seem a little insensitive and just a tad egotistical. Trust me, it all comes from a place of love and compassion. As with everything, it’s just a matter of how you look at it. If you’re not looking for a reason to be offended, then you won’t be offended.
I know you’re depressed, and I understand, but you need to get over it.
OOOOO there it goes, the insensitivity and disregard of people’s plight! No, it’s not like that at all. I’m depressed too, and probably far more often and intensely than most. I mean, that’s a staple of bipolar, right? So I really do understand and empathize on deep levels.
So why would I say something so heartless? Well let’s dig in! Let’s get into the meat and bones. Let’s tear into the flesh and sinew, and rip open that insecurity and fear that lies at the heart of the problem. Only through confronting that dark, shitty monster can we hope to gain any lasting understanding that will truly help us.
Alright, I think we’ve covered this, but let’s talk about why. There’s a million reasons you could be depressed, but let’s talk about why so many people are at this point in time. The pandemic.
Everyone’s lives have been upended. Routines are broken. There’s rampant unemployment, businesses are closing, and people are at each other’s throats over a nonissue like the importance of masks. It’s a god damn mess out there. So the good news is that you’re not alone in this, so you can shelf that part.
At the core of it all, negative emotions are rooted in fear. What is it that you’re afraid of? The fear that’s striking everyone right now is uncertainty. We feel unstable. Are our jobs safe? Is our health safe? Will we go bankrupt? When can I actually be around people again? The uncertainty breeds stress, stress will inevitably breed anxiety, and then depression.
Our comfort usually takes a front seat on our list of needs, and while I love my comfort SO damn much, I know that it isn’t integral to my survival. Right now, we should be taking a step back and learning lessons from our elders. For all the inequality and injustice in this country, we are still at the absolute peak comfort levels in human history. Central air. Big screen TVs. The fucking sum of all human knowledge in our pocket.
We have more convenience and opportunity than any previous generation. This pandemic is threatening to take some of it away, and it scares us. The ideas of struggling with a possible eviction, or putting food on the table, or having daycare so you can work are all very real and serious. However, there’s almost always a workaround. There’s always some way to water down the soup, kick the can down the road a bit. I grew up a latchkey kid by the time I was 9 or so.
Is any of it ideal? No. But we’ve hit a point as a society where we’re soft and fat, and the slightest trouble makes us panic like headless chickens. The fact is, this is all shit our grandparents or great grandparents dealt with. These were people who survived the depression, and the rationing of WWII. Surely we can survive this.
I’m going to make it 110% clear that I in no way think I can cure depression. The best I can do is offer a different way to look at it and to frame it, and maybe a few coping strategies. Depression isn’t something that can just be fixed or cured, especially from reading a sloppy, foul mouthed blog post.
With that in mind, we need to have perspective on our depression. My favorite way to do that is to place things on my personal positivity scale, that ranges from “perfection” to “death.” In between is what normally happens in life.
What’s happening is unprecedented, shitty, and fucking up your life. How am I going to spin that? Well I’m not. It sucks, no doubt. But there’s a few things I can say with a good amount of certainty.
- These events are a low point in your life
- If they’re not a low point, then there’s your perspective
- If they are a low point, at least you’re not dead
- If you’re dead, you’re not reading this and don’t give a fuck
- Even if this is the worst you’ve ever had it, it’s way better than living in the Middle Ages
Of course this isn’t to disregard how you feel or make light of things, it’s just to illustrate that we need to look at our situations contrasted against other scenarios. We should do this on a regular basis, and we should look at both better and worse situations, not just one or the other. Constantly looking at worse situations allows us to get complacent, while constantly looking at better situations just makes us feel defeated. We do both so we can understand it’s not as bad as it could be, and at the same time we can strive for better.
You can change now
A major factor in depression is a longing for the past. We get stuck on how things were, or how we thought they would be, and it just scrambles our emotions. Then we have feelings of dissonance with the present because it’s not what we expected, and we reject our reality for grasping at the past.
This is happening with a lot of people. Everyone trying to return to “normal” is going through this. Our old normal is gone. It doesn’t exist anymore, and who knows how much, if any of it, will return? Even when the pandemic is over, there’s going to be massive shifts in dozens of industries, and it’ll effect all of us. Normal is over.
Fucking hell, Tim. Why are you doing this in a post about depression?!
Because we can use this as a moment to learn, to teach, and to create what we want in our lives. Everything is already shaken up, your life is shaken up, so say fuck it and go all in with whatever you want to do. Pursue hobbies, start a new career, open a business. Record that folk metal album. This is a paradigm shift for all of humanity. Take advantage of that.
And before you start saying that you can’t do any of those things, look at your phone, and remember that you have the sum of al human knowledge in your hand. Use google. You’ll find ways to do absolutely anything you want, and start on little to no budget. So get the fuck outta here with that “I can’t” bullshit.
You’re depressed, and I understand. Give yourself time to be bummed out, and then get the fuck up and do something. You’re allowed to feel like shit about things. Our situation is not good, and I won’t pretend it is. But the world doesn’t stop turning, and when you aren’t taking action, you’re giving up the little control you have.
Remember, life won’t give you anything you can’t handle. You’ll get through this.