Been struggling with depression over the past couple of weeks. Some of this is seasonal (with the shortening of the days), though I wouldn’t say it always happens. Last year at this time I recall feeling the opposite of depressed: that probably had to do with the fact that I knew I was leaving my previous job at Mozilla and wanted to get as much done as possible. Sometimes a highly motivating life situation can keep it in abeyance. Nonetheless, it’s here now, again, and demands to be dealt with.
What does depression even mean? It’s a bit of a hard thing to pin down, exactly. But from the perspective of looking after my own well being, I don’t think I really need a definition. What matters are the symptoms, which I’d roughly express as:
- Knowing what I should be doing but not able to do it
- An increase in time spent scanning social media, news sites
- Feelings of low self worth
- Feelings that nothing really matters
- Lack of creativity, improvisation
- An increase in self-referential thinking (this post would be an example of that)
A few things I tend to try to diminish its effects:
- Go outside, expose myself to sunlight. Explore nature.
- Eat less carbohydrates, more vegetables and protein
- Talk to friends
- Do nice things for other people
I don’t feel like doing these things but I try with all my might, against all my will, to do them anyway. Any individual action might not do much: but the cumulative effect of doing all of the above seems to have an impact — or at least that’s what I tell myself.
And yet despite my best efforts, it’s not always enough. I do all of the things in the second list, and yet still find myself suffering in all the ways described by the first. What do I do then?
I try to understand that there really isn’t an escape from unpleasant feeling, and that it’s just part of life: glorious and beautiful in its complexity. I try to be curious about what’s going on, even if I think it’s all happened before. If that’s not possible, I at least try to be present with it. That’s all I can do.