Ah depression, you sly little minx, creeping up on me when we finally had a break in the grey tundra of seasonal depression.
I’ve decided that instead of curling up in bed, I’m going to put it all out there and be vulnerable about how I’m feeling. Because that’s how destigmatization happens, we open up about the reality of disorder and the way we function through it.
To put it bluntly: depression is a B I T C H.
Someone once asked me, out of my ADHD, Anxiety, and Depression, which is the hardest to cope with. I would honestly have to say depression. While all three give me a great deal of challenges, and all feed off of each other in nuanced ways, depression may be the hardest because it is the easiest to lean into.
Anxiety is sharp, often painful, like little electrical pulses that jolt me into action (over-thinking, over-analyzing, over-worrying, over-everything), but it’s also an acute enough feeling that I can acknowledge it. I can try to center myself, or go for a run, or cross off tasks on a list, or pop a Klonopin if it gets really bad. For me, it’s a productive disorder that makes it impossible to sit still (while still somehow feeling paralyzed by my mind… lol gotta love the contradictions).
Alternatively, ADHD fucks my productivity on certain things, particularly school things. Sometimes, the mundanity and structure of dental school makes me want to rip my skin off or simply cry because I. CAN’T. FUCKING. FOCUS. But, on other fronts, it’s been a huge amplifier for my creativity. Being diagnosed with ADHD has given me the power to have patience with my brain, treat it almost like a young child, learning to allow it time to hyper-focus on things I love, like writing and reading, and learning strategies to help with executive functioning. Again, it’s a neurodiversity that still allows me to be an active participant in my life.
But depression? Whoa, buddy. Depression is THE WORST.
Depression is this hazy cloud that makes me a passive bystander in my own life. It numbs me. It makes me exhausted, and sad, and unable to get out of bed and do the thousands of things my anxiety and ADHD are screaming at me to do.
And, for me, a person that genuinely tries to go through life with unabashed optimism and joy, the negative thoughts and feelings and insecurities that depression heightens hurts so deeply. My imposter syndrome is so amplified during spells of depression. I have these lazy, swirling thoughts about why I’m not good enough, why things will go wrong, why I’m such a fake.
And I hate that! I’ve worked damn hard for everything in my life, and I wish I could convince my brain to shut the fuck up with the darker thoughts, with the lazy sadness that makes me want to hide out under blankets.
And all of this has conveniently come a week into the submission process of my novel. I have so many doubts and negative thoughts and just downright FEARS about coming this far for nothing to come of it. But I can’t think that way. I need to remind myself that writing was the first thing I ever did in my life fully for me. It has brought me joy and fulfillment and happiness and escapism, and no book contract will make that journey more or less valid.
But I can’t change my brain. I can’t open it up and wire it properly and make it produce the right amounts of serotonin and dopamine and all the other goodies to make it feel better.
But I can be real about the pain of it. I can reach out, make myself vulnerable, and hope that other people understand the challenge of fighting against that blanket of depression. I can force myself to say nice things about myself, out loud, over and over again, until one day I fully believe them. I can sprint away from that temptation to lean into the depression, and force myself to keep plugging, keep hoping. I can go hug my kitties and make my boyfriend get me pizza. I can keep studying, keep writing, keep doing my best to be a good friend to those in my life.
I can fight this bitch with everything I’ve got. She won’t know what hit her. And I can laugh at some really spot on tweets about depression.