Ah, dear readers, it’s so good to see you both.
Today I have decided to talk about depression. I hope this will be lots of fun.
Let me begin by saying that I have used prescribed drugs to control my depression in the past. I think they were helpful, but it’s hard to say. I came out of one of my worst phases while taking a version of Prozac and a sedative chaser. I didn’t feel like I was fully out of it, though, until I was off the drugs.
Am I currently depressed? That’s a very difficult question to answer. I can get out of bed. I can function day to day. I sometimes even enjoy myself. I’m not an idiot, though, I know my mental health is something of a tightrope. I have my bad days (ask Mrs Viper, she knows).
So why am I not using the happy pills right now? A variety of reasons. Firstly, I’m poor as a church mouse. I’m a part-time worker, so I have to pay for prescriptions, but I don’t really earn enough to want to spend it on drugs that I’m dubious about. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling anyone not to take their pills, I just don’t know how much use the pills were to me. So, the pills cost money, I’m not sure how well they work for me and I’m not sure I want the side effects.
I’m not getting therapy. The NHS can’t afford to send me to a therapist as I’m not high-risk enough. That’s fine, I’d rather someone who needs it more gets the therapy. It does mean that I have to do my own therapy. Yeah. It’s like being your own lawyer. Anyway, it’s my life, stop judging me.
This preamble’s a bit wordy, isn’t it? Bloody hell, are you still reading? Let’s get to the real meat of the piece. Here are my top tips for dealing with depression. These top tips aren’t guaranteed, they aren’t for people who are suicidal. In fact, they are for me and me alone. I have no idea why I’m sharing them.
Be honest with yourself, but don’t be brutal
It’s important for me to admit that I’m not well. There’s no point in telling myself that I’m fine. I’m not. If I let myself think that I’m fine, I fall into the trap of thinking that my suicidal thoughts or my self-hatred are totally rational. I have to accept that some of my thinking is rational and reasonably intelligent. I try to watch my thinking and question whether I’m being self-aware or self-loathing. Like I said before, it’s a balancing act.
Count your blessings
Being depressed is awful. Feeling unsuccessful is miserable. I have a part-time, low-paying job. I have no major achievements. What have I got to be happy about? That’s the start of a spiral staircase that leads down to a dark place. I have to avoid that thinking. I have a home, a family and I’m physically healthy. There are pastimes that I enjoy. Depression wants me to look into the dark, but I have to concentrate on turning towards the light.
Don’t go down the spiral staircase
I just mentioned the staircase. It’s a metaphor, you imbecile. Depressive thinking takes me downwards. It can start by reading an article on the US election. Then I think about inequality. Then I start thinking of the misery that is inherent in capitalism. So it goes, further and further down until I’m almost sobbing. Maybe sobbing is a natural reaction to all the suffering in the world, but it doesn’t actually help anybody. Not the people out in the world, not my family and not myself. I avoid spirals.
I have a tendency towards self-hatred and this leads me to punish myself. I tell myself I’m worthless. I tell myself that everything I do is rubbish. I tell myself that I’m wasting my potential. This has to stop. I would never talk to my wife or my kids this way. Success is a concept that can be defined by the individual. I need to stop defining success as being rich and famous. Success for me is having a day where I don’t contemplate killing myself. Success for me is making my family smile. Success for me is enjoying a sit down, a cup of tea and a book without feeling that I’m wasting my life.
Right, that’s my top tips finished. I feel overwhelmed with self-loathing, frankly. What a trite bunch of cliches. I’ve wasted my time and yours. Sigh. This is honestly how it feels in my head.
Next time on the blog: a food review! I know, I know. Don’t get so excited, you silly sausage.