I am having a bad day today. I won’t go into why, but everyone has bad days. I can mentally recognize that overall, things are good. My medication is working, counseling goes well, and I am moving along in many other areas, which makes me very happy.
But today stinks.
Now of course, everyone has bad days. Things don’t go right. You’re stressed. You’ve messed up or someone else has messed upon you, whatever. We all have our bad days. This is what we on planet earth call “life”.
But not for the depressed person.
For someone suffering from depression (or it’s kissing cousin, anxiety), bad days aren’t simply bad days. In depression you cannot look past yourself, your problems, and you can’t look into the future. In other words, depression sucks away hope. It can often attack faith itself. Other things may do this as well, but I know depression does it.
So for someone suffering from depression, a bad day becomes an event, with a whole host of questions swirling through one’s head:
- How long will this last?
- What can I do to get out of it?
- Has my medication stopped working?
- What if things go back to the way they were?
- What if I am always like this, slowly turning into a vegetable that has been overcooked.
There may even be darker questions about life and death asked. I’ve been there. It stinks.
So what do you do when these questions won’t go away, when you stay up at night fretting over what may be nothing, but even over things that may be a big deal? This isn’t rocket science, but here are a few ideas:
- Remind yourself that Tom Cruise is an idiot. That always makes me feel better. Depression exists. It’s a medical condition and not a question of willpower. Sometimes things will be worse than others. But because you’re depressed, you look at these things under a microscope and forget to ever look up. It’s kind of the ultimate incurvatus se (turned in upon oneself).
- Give yourself a break. Take a nap. Sit in the sun. Go some place quiet for a while. But DON’T beat yourself over the head with it and try to “work through it”. In all liklihood, that will make it worse.
- Pray and sing. Nothing long or fancy. A kyrie may be all you’ve got. Check out a few cross and comfort hymns.
- Trust that the God of comfort, who takes care of all things, continues to take care of you, even when you feel like your world is crashing down.
- If it persists, call your counselor or doctor and/or father confessor. Don’t try and fight it alone. God has given these people to you. They want to hear from you if you need help. There is nothing more satisfying that giving to another person. They are waiting for your call.
Those are the few thoughts off the top of my head. What have I missed?
Now let’s see if I can take my own advice….