I recently had a friend ask me if she was depressed. She described her feelings, I told her I thought she might be, and encouraged her to see a counselor. Luckily she’s in school and can see one on campus for free. Part of our conversation, however, really struck me. She mentioned that she didn’t think she should be depressed. She has a lot of (stressful) things going on in her life right now, but they are exciting things, so what cause does she have to be depressed?
Right there. That is what stopped me for years from getting the help I needed. Why should I be depressed? I’m not lying in bed all day, sleeping, or unable to drag myself out of bed, so I’m not depressed, right? I have exciting things going on, whether it was getting into college for the first time, being in a new relationship or getting married. There was no real reason why I should be depressed, right? Wrong.
The wrong information on depression frustrates me, sometimes. I do realize that psychological disorders of all kinds (mental retardation, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder) are relatively new; as little as 50 years ago a bipolar teenager would have been put into a home or hospital forever. Thankfully, now we have medicine to help. I do think, however, that depression is still very misunderstood.
One of the things I’ve noticed about myself is that I let myself get into a cycle. On the weekends I tend to “take time off” from housework. I don’t do laundry, dishes, clean…I’m just lazy with my husband. This is all well and good until Monday morning. Today I’m looking at a load of laundry to wash and fold, another pile to fold, sheets to change, dishes to rotate and fruit to cut up (we bought a lot last night and I like to have them ready to eat so that we don’t waste it). And yet, where am I? On the couch and on the computer. Today is especially bad, because since we’re going to work out I don’t want to get actually dressed until then, so I’m in my pajamas, still.
What makes me get up, get dressed (even if it is in workout clothes) and cut up the strawberries that are sitting on the counter, waiting for me? Part of it is my husband. I can’t bear to let him see that I’ve been lazy all day, so I will take care of the fruit because I know he’ll see and comment on that. Sometimes there isn’t anything that makes me get up and do what I have to do. Sometimes it’s just knowing that when I do get up, I’ll be happy I did, and feel successful.
Here goes nothing…