My family as a major history of depression and anxiety, and I am not excluded from the battle. Some days it takes all the energy I have just to go to the mailbox, other days I don’t even have the strength to let my dog outside. While depression completely SUCKS (to put it simply), the best way to battle it is to try to live life as normal as you can and not let depression win.
So much easier said than done. When you’re depressed, nothing interests you other than laying on the couch. You can’t eat, you can’t sleep, you just lay there while the world goes on without you. And you’re OK with that. The only issue is that by choosing to hole yourself up, you are choosing your comfort zone with depression and letting this little demon win.
I hate leaving the house. I’ll admit it. I love sitting alone, by myself, writing all day long. I just plain don’t like being in social situations, but the funny thing is, I only feel this way when I’m NOT in a social gathering of some sort. Thank goodness for my guy, who is a social butterfly, for dragging me out of the house now and then to show me that I actually enjoy myself when I get out of the house. We go bowling, to bbqs, we visit friends and family, we go for drives, partly because he likes to, partly because it’s important for me to get out of the home so I can get out of my dreaded comfort zone.
That’s the thing about depression and anxiety. You are thoroughly convinced if you leave the house that you will completely fall apart, so you draw the curtains closed, turn on the TV, and tell yourself this is all you need. Uh, WRONG. Once you get out of the house you actually begin enjoying yourself despite yourself, and it is a positive experience.
The only problem is you have to remind yourself every day that you DON’T really want to stay home all day. You have to physically shove yourself out the door and have a good time. Because depression and anxiety will always tell you everything about everything totally sucks and is terrifying, and you have to battle that feeling every single day to get out of your comfort zone before you get totally sucked into being a hermit.
It’s hard, and I know this first-hand. I would rather sit in my pajamas all day long than do anything else, but that is the anxiety and depression talking. Once I do manage to shower, get dressed, and force myself to go to the store, the feelings of being away from home and the anxieties surrounding leaving my comfort zones fades, and I actually have a good time. I’ll even browse for about an hour, wandering around, just because I can. If I start to feel uncomfortable, I’ll leave. More often than not, if I go to the store for milk, I’ll come home hours later after stopping by the boat docks just to sit, or going for a walk on the canal. I know it’s important to get out of the house and enjoy myself.
People who are not depressed I don’t believe will ever have a full grasp on our needs to force ourselves to be social, to be “normal”. I don’t think they realize that we go through daily struggles just to go to work, to the store, to the library, that we are actually giving ourselves therapy just by driving to the gas station for a soda.
Some days I’ll just drive around the block and go straight home. These are the days when I want to leave the house the least, and ignore all my phone calls and even ignore writing. I just have to get the hell out of the house, because depression is winning and I don’t want to surrender. A small battle, a minor win, but a win nonetheless.
Don’t fall under the falsehood that you really don’t want to do anything. Call up a friend and ask if they will go with you to the store (thank goodness for my BFF, who will actually call me up when she is running errands and come get me to go with her), drive a different way to work, and remind yourself that you can win the battle against depression, but you literally have to start over every day.
Depression does not go away. You can take the most mind-numbing pills on earth, and if you stop taking them, guess what comes back? You have to deal with depression at every moment, and it completely starts by leaving your comfort zone. It’s hard, it’s terrifying, and you think you don’t want to, but believe me, once you get out there you are winning, and depression loosens its hold for just a little while.