On a large scale, you can look into articles regarding the subject of depression and find answers to “Why You Suffer From Depression” to “How To Pull Yourself Out Of Depression.” One thing I don’t see very often has been on my mind for weeks now, begging me to write an article about it but insisting that I wait until I have a better mindset to do so.
Depression has become a subject that we can speak about freely. Amid COVID-19, even the people who once believed depression was just having a “bad day” were made aware that it dug quite a bit deeper than that. Even with the subject becoming less taboo to speak of, the aftermath is still somehow left out, to my amazement.
What is this “Aftermath”?
We all know some of the most common signs of depression are losing interest in things you once loved, lack of self-care, and letting your responsibilities fall to the wayside. In general, it can be hard to find the motivation to do anything, but how does this affect your life after you “get better”?
The aftermath of depression that leaves me sometimes sinking back into the grey areas of my mind are the things that have snowballed and ended up on my doorstep. When you have fallen into a severe bout of depression, it can sometimes take time to work through, adjust, and change your mindset. The problem is, the world does not stop and wait during this time.
The Aftermath from a First-Person Perspective
For all entertaining purposes, let’s have fun with this and say I am a completely normal person (whatever that means).
One of my neighbors once told me they knew when I was not feeling well because my flowers would look neglected. While I wanted to get offended, I knew they were right. The flowers on each side of my door were very special to me. Clematis that climb over an arched trellis above my door that I had been babying every day since my children got them for me for mothers day three years ago. They were usually the talk amongst the neighbors, yet today they currently hold no blooms.
Unfortunately, it is not just our hobbies that fall under neglect during these times. Even if you have help in certain areas of your life, things don’t get done the way you would do them. After struggling to pull myself out of a funk, the aftermath that stands before me usually has to do with my home. The pets need cleaning, even if I motivated myself to clean them, it was not well, nor with the love and passion I usually have. Laundry has piled up. Even just one week, multiplied by two young children, two adults, blah blah… And the math equals out to an unending vat of laundry that may never actually come to an end.
What’s My Point?
There isn’t much that can be harder than trying to pull yourself out of the rabbit hole, but in the process of doing so, the aftermath can be disheartening, to say the least. Not many things will shove your head back underwater faster than the feelings of being useless and overwhelmed.
Maybe that’s why we don’t talk about it? We think technically, it’s still part of the depression process. For me, there is a clear line between my mental depression and the urge to rage quit life. An overwhelming difference that sometimes leaves me struggling because I do know better.
But What Can You Do?
Notice I said what CAN you do…
I point this out because unless you have superpowers, your probably not going to be able to snap your fingers and make it all go away. Does this make you useless? No, absolutely not.
You have to pace yourself. It’s all you can do. Wearing yourself out and beating yourself up will not help and can very well make you take five steps backward.
You have to take it easy on yourself.
Ask for help if that’s an option. Realistically conclude that this mess was not made in a day. Breathe, then move forward.
If you’re referring to the aftermath of a storm, it may be stressful… but unless lives are in danger, you don’t bad-mouth yourself for not being able to clean it up in one day. This is your storm. Put things in order of importance and write yourself into the first space.
If your house is a mess, your legs haven’t been shaved in weeks, and you are going stir crazy, but it is a beautiful day to take the dog on a hike, do it! I promise you, the mess and the hair will not go anywhere before you get back. But your mental health will benefit.
Self-care and self-love are never selfish. You have to be the best you to be the best person you can be for others.
You survived the storm, my dear. Rest and be thankful… the clean-up takes time.
I strongly recommend “Can One Person Really Make A Difference” as a follow-up article to this one.