I don’t know what people do to get through depression without a job, without a pet, and without good people around them.
Often we don’t realize the things that save us.
For example, even if you loath your job, you still have bills to pay. Employment forces you to get out of bed, you have to get dressed, look presentable, step outside of your dark cave, and enter the world.
You might take an elevator to your office and some stranger will give you a smile. You’ll enter your place of employment and find yourself surrounded with co-workers who might also be having a bad day, or a hard time, and you can find empathy and compassion for them versus wallowing in your own sadness.
You go home and have a dog to walk or a cat to feed. You go to make dinner and your fridge is empty so you take a walk to the grocery store, and you might have a lovely exchange with the checkout person. You get home and read your email, or listen to your voicemail, and get a message from an old friend, or an invitation from a new friend to grab dinner tomorrow night.
Having experienced a lifetime of on and off again depression, I’ve learned that the most depressing times were when I was in between jobs.
It was when I didn’t have a pet to take care of, or didn’t have any interest in making dinner for myself. I know when dealing with depression that doing mundane things can be a challenge but, if you can push yourself out of the house you have the chance to be social.
Make yourself go to the store to purchase food, and cook something healthy for yourself. I remember back in my twenties when I had my first bout of depression I would wear sweat pants to the store – and probably looked disheveled – and I noticed people would give me awkward glances.
Feeling ostracized or judged while trying to pick out vegetables to cook was not fun, so I made it a point to put myself together before exiting the house. I made an effort to be kind to the checkout clerk.
When I would search for jobs I’d go to a local coffee shop versus sitting all alone at home. Even if you don’t talk to anyone it helps to be surrounded by people versus being isolated and alone. I rescued a cat, and he literally saved me from total despair. I bought a bunch of plants that I had to keep alive, and something as small is watering a plant gave me an ounce of purpose.
I realize there are levels and layers to depression, and it is unique to everyone, but there are things that can save you if you are willing to take a moment to acknowledge there are aspects of your daily life that can keep you afloat.
You’d be surprised that the smallest things can adjust your depression without you even knowing it.
Yes, watering a plant can be a small step away from depression. Sleeping next to your cat can fill a void in your bed and a sense of loneliness. And when you finally get out of your depression, you can look back and be grateful for those little things.
You’ll be more ready for the next time depression comes around. Depression can be a life-long battle but being aware of the little things to help you get through it might make the next round of depression a tad more tolerable.