According to Merriam-Webster Online, depress means (de) do the opposite of (press) steady pushing.
In other words, stop pressing on.
I never thought to break down the word until I was in the middle of my own breakdown, which gave me plenty of time to think.
Depression, especially during its lowest point, naturally shuts down our bodies, minds and spirits to some degree. It seems a defense mechanism because we won’t willingly stop.
Come to think of it, maybe that’s the purpose of depression.
However, people are quick to point out depression is a waste of time. Until my last bout, I would agree, which is one reason I hid it. Even the slightest sign of feeling sad, I berated myself and said, “Not again.”
Family and friends ignored undesirable emotions in general. When I tried to talk about mine, they suggested a quick fix.
The problem is, emotions are for feeling, not fixing.
Their advice echoed what I told myself for nearly a decade after I identified my depression. I tried to figure out what to do to put to rest my uncomfortable emotions. Stopping to feel them never crossed my mind.
Without realizing it, I set out to eliminate a chunk of feelings most of us label negative.
“Keep smiling. Fake it till you feel better.”
“Do something for someone else.”
“Go to Jesus and let him heal you. Pray more.”
“Get to work. Find something meaningful to do, then you won’t have time to be depressed.”
We joke now, but it wasn’t funny the day friends suggested yet again I keep a gratitude journal.
“I’m grateful I don’t have to be grateful for anything,” I said.
I sounded angry and probably was, but more than that, I was exhausted from searching for ways to get over feeling pathetic and apathetic. And tired of counsel that didn’t work, and discouraged over hearing it from people who hadn’t been where I was or weren’t admitting it.
I wore myself out acting happy, all the while I spent hours and days where I felt safest, in a closet/laundry room with the dryer running to cover my crying.
Like Ecclesiastes 3 says, it was “a time to give up.”
I’m not suggesting you quit your job to curl up in a closet and wallow, or alienate from family and friends because they don’t understand. However, in the course of my depression, I did both and both proved necessary.
I wonder what would happen if we stopped on our own, or at least slowed down, and gave ourselves permission to feel? If we heeded forewarnings like exhaustion and discouragement, and depressed voluntarily?
What’s stopping you from stopping, or at least reducing your pace?
WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – To overcome depression, I gave almost every suggestion a try before I tried stopping. So far, it’s been the most helpful. Stopping to acknowledge depression. Stopping to share and write about it. Stopping to feel it.