Depression. This D-Word typically has a negative connotation associated with it. Many people feel labeled, defensive, or insulted if someone even begins to discuss the possibility of him or her being depressed, whether it’s a friend, family member, or medical professional. Depression is the persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest, which could vary greatly depending on the individual. The D-Word can lead to a range of behavioral and physical symptoms including changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behavior, or self-esteem. There is no one cause of depression, though. Some argue it is caused by neurotransmitter and serotonin deficiency. Some say it’s a natural biorhythm of life…the ups-and-downs that are simply natural. Others argue it’s strictly a result of life and how you react to it. The problem isn’t the problem. It’s how you think about the problem that is the problem.
So, why am I writing this? Because, for a good month or so, I was dealing with a fairly severe bout of depression. The result of this depression, as for many, was having a lot of my life coming to a stop quite unexpectedly. I don’t think anyone would have anticipated that we would be in a global pandemic this year or even our lifetime. Yes, we have more time on our hands now. Yes, we can make healthy changes and new habits. However, I can’t treat people right now. It’s big part of me and something I find tremendous joy in. Helping others is always something I have loved to do. I know by not working and by social/physical distancing that I am doing the best thing for the health of the community and my family, but it tears me up. I have been prone to the D-Word in the past, but this episode was certainly the worst. This isn’t meant to be depressing, by the way…I realize the irony of that statement given I’m writing about the D-Word. I’m writing this because I know that I am not alone in feeling this way during this crazy time we’re in, and I hope that maybe it could help just one person to know that it’s okay to feel down. Just reach out for help (Easier said than done during this time, I know).
As far as the stimulus that resulted in me writing this post, I have to say that it came from writing down my “Thoughts” in my daily scheduler. During this particular day, I decided to write down what I was afraid of or what I thought was bothering me. Alongside those thoughts and fears I wrote down the corresponding solutions to those thoughts and fears. However, one of those fears remained without a solution. This fear that I wrote down was written as, “I’m afraid of getting too deep.” This can be taken many different ways, whether it’s a financial, relationship, business, or some other personal situation. For me, it was depression. I’m a fairly intense person with myself, but not with others. Those that know me well would probably laugh at the “fairly intense” description I used for myself. That’s probably putting it mildly. I’m also writing about this experience as a form of accountability.
Why accountability? For me, I tend to close off from the world when I get depressed. During this bout of depression, I closed off from my family and my girlfriend. When I refer to accountability, I mean that by closing off I am only hurting or causing worry to those I love and care about most. My depression looked a bit like this…I get up and have my tea or coffee with my girlfriend. Then, I get ready to go run anywhere from 10-20 miles. Obviously, I’m not working at this time due to the COVID-19 situation. As I get closer to being ready to run, I start to worry about…everything and everyone. Then, it leads to some pretty brutal self-talk, which I will spare you the nitty-gritty details on that dialogue. On what normally takes me about an hour, from wake-time to run-time, was now taking me a good 2-2.5 hours. I would be mostly okay running, except for the occasional periods where I just wanted to be done with it or would get lost in thoughts. For the most part, running has always been a form of therapy for me. If I didn’t run, I would probably go coo-coo for Coco Puffs. I am also truly blessed for having the ability to run the way that I do…Anywho, once I was done running I would typically go very inward and say very little or want to do very little during the day. At this point and time, the rest of the day I was thinking about how much of a burden I am to those that I love and placing blame on myself for a lot of stuff that hasn’t even happened or would ever happen. Again, I closed off from everyone. It was a viscous cycle, and quite frankly, it scared the shit out of me. I had never been so deep into depression. I felt like there was no end in sight to the internal torture I was laying on myself on the daily.
My family and girlfriend were the ones who pulled me out of it. That’s why I’m writing this. By closing off from those you love, you hurt them. Now is a time for coming together. Do the things that make you happy and develop healthy habits for when times get back to whatever the new normal will be. Now, my day looks a bit like this from waking up to going to bed:
Other workout stuff.
Read, visit with my family, work stuff…
Once a week self-acupuncture session
Shoot my bow.
Dinner with girlfriend, followed by “The Good Place” binge…potential COVID mask-
Some secrets are kept because they are embarrassing. Depression shouldn’t be kept a secret. Life is too short to live in that state. As difficult as it is to share, please reach out to those you love and care about. They will help you because they love you. Your demons and darkness do not have to be fought as a solo mission. I’ll leave you with this…You have gifts to share with the world. You are not flawed. You are human.
Adam Gloyeske, LAc
PS – Thank you to my family and girlfriend.
While I was in a dark place, I was never in this place, so if you feel far more desperation and hopelessness than I did, please don’t hesitate to call this number below:
*** National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 ***