It’s the little things.. we all know that the saying is true. The small details are important to us and crucial to our happiness. In relationships, friendships, conversations — it all matters.
The hard part is that people don’t always pay attention to these little things. And to someone who is depressed, the smallest of things can bring down their entire day. I have spent a lot of time dwelling on a small comment someone made, cancelled plans, or someone dismissing my feelings. It can bring me to tears in minutes.
As a matter of fact, this happened to me this morning. And the people who are responsible literally have no idea. The thing is, that when I am depressed I already feel worthless. So any little act that makes me feel less important is crushing. It makes me feel like nothing I do matters and that they don’t care.
This goes further than that stereotypical woman complaining that her husband didn’t bring her flowers.
When I wake up and I am feeling okay, like I am ready to get my day going and that demon is at bay, it’s a feat. It’s SO hard for me, or any person who struggles with depression, to get to that point. It takes so much effort to just be “normal”. I’m already exhausted, but I decide to just keep pushing forward. I have expended more mental effort by 9 am than most people do in an entire day.
So on these days, when I have plans that get cancelled, or make a phone call that brings up a negative subject, or if one other little thing goes the wrong way, all of that effort is worthless and the world comes crashing down.
The hard part is, I can’t really hold the offender responsible. They don’t understand what is going on with me and they don’t mean to hurt me or make it worse. And by this point, I am already so upset that I don’t have the energy or the desire to explain it to them.
So what do I do in this situation?
There are really only two options for me. I either recoil and give in, or I fight it. How I do either of these things is super important to my overall mental health.
It’s easy to give in and grab a gallon of ice cream and shut the world out. It requires nothing from me. Except it’s not healthy and it is not going to help me in the long run. Don’t get me wrong, I have done this. I have given up on days like this. But I have learned that even when I give in to these emotions, there is a healthier way to do it. First of all, I don’t do it alone. I tell someone. Whether it is one of my closer friends or my husband, I tell them. It doesn’t have to be extensive. I just say “I’m really depressed today and I’m just gonna take some time”. That’s it. I don’t go into detail because I can’t. It’s too hard. So, I give myself a few hours, or a day to be depressed. Whether that means binge watching a show or writing or sleeping, I let it happen. I have learned that if I repress this sadness and don’t give myself some time to process, its far more difficult to come back.
I am giving you permission to care for yourself and to do what you have to do in that moment. If anyone tries to tell you how to deal with your depression, tell them to fuck off. You have to do what is right for YOU.
The second way I deal with this is to fight it.. This also involves my closest of support systems. I tell my husband that I’m having a crap day and we need to do something. I tell my friends the same thing. On this island, I’m isolated from my best friends, the ones I trust to help me. So I just call them and ask them to motivate me. Send me a quote or tell me to go the gym or tell me to do my homework. Whatever it is, I need a push and they are more than willing to give me that. It may not always work with the ocean between us, but it’s something. My husband will take me somewhere fun and light, like a movie or the beach. Where I don’t have to give too much and I can just sit and be okay.
If someone belittles you in this process, cross them off the list. If they preach, cross them off the list. If they tell you to buck up and deal, cross them off the list. These people will not help you. No matter how much you ask.
So, even when the little things come crashing down and turn your soul black. it’s okay. Do what you have to do, and find the people who will love you through it. It takes a lot of work to get here. I did not figure this out for myself over night. It took years and lots of trial and error. But I still struggle with it. It is by no means a perfect science. So even if it’s not these ideas, keep trying to figure out what will help you through the bad days and deal with the unintentional hurt people cause you.