Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Snap Out Of It!" Or Shit You DON'T Say To Someone Who Is Depressed

I always read your comments and believe me, they really mean a lot to me.  Today an email alert popped up in my Gmail account and I started to STRESS OUT immediately.  "Oh God, it's a reader calling me out on my BS... I said I'd have a new post up last week and now it's this week and still... no new post!"

My life, lately, is a Cathy cartoon of "Acks!"  (And eating crazy amounts of chocolate and feeling bad about myself in a bathing suit even though it's not bathing suit season, nor is it even close to bathing suit season.)

You feel me?  

But I read this sweet commenter's comment because it meant a lot to me that they took the time to write.  And then I had to read it again.  Because while I was struggling with what I might look like in a bathing suit in six months, they were struggling with something much deeper.

Here's the comment:


Hi, I am a guy who has been in bed for 100 days or more depending on who you ask. I wanted to say that your stories do cross the gender boundaries and that reading your posts has been enlightening. It is nice to know that just because you have been depressed for a long time doesn't mean you are a loser, and that I am not the only one languishing in bed for days on end. 

People truly do not understand why it is that we do things like not leave the house, or turn down offers to go out in order to lay in bed. "Snap out of it!" has been hurled at me more than once, it is allot harder to "snap out of it" then others may realize. Perhaps this blog can shed some light on the process, and make people understand what it really means to be depressed. Thanx.

January 17, 2012 10:17 AM

I quickly fired back a reply, that I hope makes sense or inspires or offers, at least, a little bit of hope:

Dear Anonymous

Your comment popped up in my email and I wanted to reach out and let you know I am thinking about you. It sucks being depressed. When I was at my darkest times, I did make a deal with myself:

1) Take a shower every day
2) Get some sunshine every day with a five minute walk
3) Write in your journal - which can just be a notebook, just get your feelings out in some way.

I was surprised I started to at least feel a crack of light once I did these things. Other things that might help... 

1) Do you have job benefits? If you do, therapy is the best!
2) Is there one friend you can check in with a few times a week, even just for a laugh? Isolating is the worst.
3) I joined an online support group when I was feeling especially alone. It really helped. 

You sound as disillusioned as I did but there is the same spirit in you that I had, the desire to get better. Let me know if I can help in any way.


I have no idea if what I said will help.  I mostly, when I was in my heap on my bed, wanted to know I wasn't alone.  I was lucky that I had access to benefits and got myself medicated and in therapy, although to be honest, that did not help me for a long, long time.  That said, my depression was pretty God damn severe and was compounded by losing my cousin, job and boyfriend in such a short amount of time and then my Mom getting sick.

What I'm trying to say is, yeah, it takes time and it does take effort.   No one who is depressed is ever going to "Snap out of it."  That's as ridiculous as standing in front of the mirror and thinking if you wished to be 20 pounds thinner, you could just wish it away.  "Drop off! C'mon, I said it, so do it!  Drop off."


THE GOOD NEWS: You want some good news regarding your depression?  Now this is just my opinion but I'll tell you this - I would rather have had a depression THAN not had one.  

Yeah, that's right.

Why is that?  Well, most people I know are experiencing some low level depression anyway.  Maybe they just don't have any energy or they shop or lay on the couch or watch endless amounts of TV to cover it up.  Maybe they are having a glass of wine earlier and earlier in the day to not think about how dissatisfied they are with their life.  Maybe they don't even know they are dissatisfied, they have gotten so used to this feeling.

A depression punches you in the gut and leaves you writhing on the floor.  The ONLY way to get better is to work through it.  To ask some really f'ing tough and uncomfortable questions about how you got here.  Giving your depression, your dissatisfaction, the time and energy it deserves - WILL GIVE BACK TO YOU 1,000,000 times over!

I promise.  I promise.  I promise.

Did I miss anything?  Is there anything you would like to tell Anonymous, whether cheering him on or giving him advice?  Do it in the comments!