Whenever someone sounds depressed, I say “I have a simple solution! Just write 5 things you’re grateful for every morning. In one week, you will start to feel better!”
It’s as simple as that.
What if you can’t find the motivation to even THINK 3 things you’re grateful for?
What if…you can THINK of 10 things you SHOULD be grateful for, but you can’t FEEL thankful?
That’s where I’ve been at for the last couple of months. All that “it’s so easy to come out of a negative state of mind” advice has gone right out the window. It sucks, guys. And I apologise to anyone I suggested it to without understanding the extent of their sadness.
First, why have I been feeling like this?
I can’t pinpoint to one specific reason, but…
…it might be the fact that I have been unable to use my right hand fully for 2 months (acute tendonitis) which has led to me not being able to type (so I can’t WRITE!) or take care of my baby independently
…it could be that I’ve not had the time to talk to my husband because of our hectic working parents of an infant life
…it could be that my daughter and I have gone through an unending cycle of health issues for 2+ months (all minor, but they add up)
…or that I have stopped talking and speaking to my friends because of my assumption that no one will want to hear endless baby-related stories and no one will “get” new mom problems because they are not parents themselves
I could go on and on, but my point is this – these don’t seem like HUGE issues. Then why am I so bummed out?!
I tried the gratefulness thing.
Didn’t work. Because I couldn’t motivate myself to think of anything to be grateful for, and even when I forced myself to find a reason, I couldn’t feel the feelings.
I also went to a therapist for one session.
(why people keep this sort of information so hushed up, I don’t understand)
This was BEFORE the landslide of problems happened. My family was worried I MIGHT have post-partum depression (I don’t) so they pushed me to go see one. I only went when things got so bad that I wasn’t sleeping anymore (because our darling daughter was waking up every 2 hours at night). And her simple solutions of “go for a run daily and re-connect with your husband” were enough to make me feel happier than I had in months.
But shortly after, my hand went for a toss, and basically, shit hit the fan (or atleast it did in my mind).
I’m feeling a lot of things these days, and slowly trying to make my way through it / out of it. A lot also has to do with this phase of being a new mom – the overwhelm you feel, the endless guilt, the shock from having your life turn 180 degrees. And it feels even worse when you have a support system in place (both our mothers AND a full-time nanny AND a work place that allows enough flexibility to take care of the baby) and you still can’t seem to keep it together.
Why am I sharing this with you?
Isn’t it icky to share such intimate details on a public forum?
Oddly, it’s easier to share here than in a one-on-one conversation.
But this isn’t about me, although the last 17 paragraphs would beg to differ.
I am talking about this because I want YOU to know that life is like this sometimes. Real life is. It’s not perfect. Sometimes, you will get depressed. Clinically depressed too. Sometimes, you’ll be in the crappy phase for so long, you’ll start to forget what happy feels like. And the realisation might make you even more sad. You might “have everything” and you will put a smile on your face because you don’t want anyone to know how you’re not really thankful. You’ll crawl up into a hole and not speak to anyone because you “don’t want to trouble them”. You will try and laugh along or watch a comedy show because you’ve heard that physically smiling tricks your brain into thinking you’re happy. Your mind will tell you everything that’s wrong with everything and everyone around you and you will snap at them and hate them and push away the people closest to you. You will question if anyone loves you anymore. You will feel lonely while you’re surrounded by people who love you and care about you. But you won’t be able to see the love, feel the care. You will feel stuck, want to escape, but not know how to. You won’t know how to ask for help, and who to ask. It’s just been so long since you’ve felt like this. How can you tell anyone what you’ve been hiding for so long?
Darling, it’s alright.
I won’t say “be kind to yourself” because you’ve forgotten how to do that. I won’t say “learn to love yourself first” because you don’t find yourself worthy of love anymore.
What I will say is this –
I don’t know how to solve your problem. I don’t have THE answer. But you need to start talking. As hard as it might be, pick up the damn phone and call up someone, anyone, and start talking. Or find a therapist just so that you have someone to talk to. If you won’t talk about it, there’s no way in hell you’re solving this.
I don’t know how the rest of the world solves their issues, but I’ve learnt that the first step is talking. I HAVE started talking.
Which is why I want to encourage you, yes – YOU.
Are you feeling down in the dumps? Write to me.
Just type what you’re feeling, what’s bumming you out, what’s leaving you feeling sad, what’s making you cry, what you’re hiding from the world. Write it from an anonymous email address if that makes you more comfortable, but please write to me. I WANT to hear from you. I WANT to know what’s bothering you. It’s too “small”? Well, it isn’t small if you’re sad about it, is it? It matters to YOU, right? So tell me your troubles. I can’t guarantee I will solve it, but I will listen.
I NEED YOU TO TALK!
That’s the first step.
If you have a friend or family member you can share with, PLEASE DO. If not, write to me.
I want to take care of you.
You ARE worthy of being loved.
You DO deserve to be happy.
Let’s try, shall we?
PS. If you’re someone who knows me personally, give me a call or Whatsapp/FB message me (if it’s too hard to talk about on a call). Although you’re free to email me anonymously as well, if you choose to – I am here to talk to you. Even if we’ve met for a brief 2 minutes, or I know you really well, please talk to me. It’s hardest to bear when you’re close to someone but clueless about how they’re depressed because they don’t talk.