374. Feeling Bad for Feeling Bad

Well. If it isn’t the slouchiest blogger I know.

Get out, you miserable git.

I’m wounded, Adam. You’re a lot of awful things, but rude isn’t usually one of them. Insecure, yes; selfish, sure; useless, absolutely; but not rude. Not on a daily basis, anyway.

I’m not in the mood for you right now.

Are you ever?

No, but that doesn’t ever seem to stop you.

You shouldn’t slouch in your desk chair, Adam. It’s bad for your back. I care for your well-being, you know. That’s why I visit occasionally. Because I care.

If you had a face, I would punch it.

Oh, I have a face. And you’re welcome to punch it, but that seems just a bit self-destructive. Anyway, before you get violent, we need to talk about something.

Oh, joy.

You’re depressed, and you need to stop it.

Of course! Why didn’t I ever think of that? I’ll just stop being depressed. Problem solved. Anti-Adam, you’re a flipping genius. What would I ever do without you?

Adam, just shut up. Shut up your face. You know exactly what I mean. Don’t pretend you don’t.

Yes, I know what you mean.

You, Adam, are one of the most ridiculously fortunate people in the universe. You have a loving family. You had a happy childhood. Your cozy little life is full of blessings and creature comforts. Your health is perfect—

Except for chronic depression.

Shut up. Your health is perfect. You have no trauma in your life, no toxic relationships, no awful tragedies. Your old job kinda sucked, sure, but the new one is easy by comparison. Everything about your life is awesome… and here you are, slouching at your desk, whining about how depressed you feel. What is wrong with you?

I don’t feel depressed—I am depressed. There’s a world of difference.

Has it ever occurred to you that maybe the thing you call depression is what everyone else in the world calls being alive? Life can be hard, and that’s a fact. Everyone has bad days. You blame it on depression, and wallow in it.

I do not.

You sure don’t do anything useful, that’s for sure. You just sit around being depressed. And then you feel guilty for wasting your time and potential, moping when you could be writing novels, building a career, or doing something useful with your life.

Are you done?

I could go on, and on, and on, but that’s enough for one day.

Good. Go away.

You’re not going to argue? Fine. I accept your silence as tacit acknowledgment that I’m right.

I wasn’t arguing because—in case you haven’t been listening—I am seriously flipping depressed right now. Do you have any idea how hard it is to function when you’re depressed?

Stop making excuses.

You don’t want excuses? Fine. Have some facts. Depression is a mood disorder, not an emotion. Depression is not a choice. I can choose whether to treat depression, but I can’t choose whether to have it. My life circumstances, good and bad, affect my depression, but they can’t prevent it.

How do you know you have chronic depression? Have you been diagnosed by a doctor?

Nope.

So you’re guessing.

I’m paying attention. I have most of the symptoms of depression: low mood, abysmal self-esteem, lethargy, inability to find pleasure in things I normally enjoy, lack of focus, inability to function—

All right, yeesh, sorry I asked. If you really think you’re so broken, why don’t you take medications or get counseling?

Who needs counseling when I have you?

Shut up. Seriously, though, if you’re going to insist on having depression, shouldn’t you insist on needing help?

My depression isn’t that bad, thank God. Not anymore. I think I’m doing all right. My depression comes and goes. It doesn’t stay. I won’t worry about my depression unless it lasts more than a couple of weeks at a time. Besides, meds and counseling are expensive.

So that’s it. You insist your depression is authentic, and you’re just accepting it.

Yup. I won’t feel guilty for being depressed, no more than I’ll feel guilty for having a cold or headache. I won’t let you blame me. I won’t feel bad for feeling bad. At least, I’ll try not to feel bad for feeling bad. When my mood and self-esteem are low, it’s an uphill battle.

You’re a fool. And you should stop slouching.

It’s nice to know you care.

6 thoughts on “374. Feeling Bad for Feeling Bad

  1. I’m so sorry you’re struggling. I keep trying to think of some encouragement that I wish someone had given me when I struggled, but all I can really think of is to say you are not useless, you are not alone, and you are being prayed for. Feel better, my friend.

  2. Rarely do I agree with Anti-Adam, but I will say that, from experience, there are few things in life more worth spending money on than counciling/therapy to tackle on-going issues that are preventing you from being fully who God created you to be. I suffered from anxiety for a long time. Sometimes it was annoying, sometimes it was crippling, sometimes it was gone only to pop out of nowhere. Throughout it all, it held me back. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.

    We’re not here to coast, or even “get by.” The reason this life has ups AND downs is so we can get the downs out of the way and learn about ourselves before what comes next (which is amazing and perfect). Therapy, with a good doctor, is one big “this is what you need to know” session, and it’s incredibly helpful. Expensive, yep, but worth every penny in my experience. I’d give up pizza before I stopped going to see my psychologist, and I really really like pizza. 🙂

    Plus a lot of even basic health-insurances cover it with a co-pay.

    Anyways, just my two cents. I’ll keep saying those prayers for you, and I hope you get to whatever place you need to to learn exactly what these states of being are engineered to get you to know while you’re here. Now that I’ve learned from my anxiety, I’m grateful it was given to me.

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