How depression knocks on your door…And how not to let it in.
Do you ever hear the doorbell, and feel the rush of anticipation feeling that it’s a friend surprising you. Then when you open the door…it’s a salesman, trying to sell you something you don’t need. That salesman is just like depression. But when it knocks, it is carrying all of your “baggage” and it will do anything it can to sell it to you and get you into bed.
Our goal today is to explore how it does this and ways to not answer the door. But if we do because depression is very sneaky, our goal is to not let it stay in bed with you long.
In order for depression to come into your life, there are things it needs to take from you.
Like mania, depression needs to either prevent you from sleeping OR cause you to sleep too much. Hence, why the first place it wants to get you is into bed…it MUST do this before it can even sell you its crap.
It does this because it knows sleep is very vulnerable. You cannot force yourself to sleep, so depression goes after sleep first. Sleep is best target because it regulates your brain and body. Without sleep you cannot function. Not being able to function is exactly what depression needs in order to come into your life and for it to survive.
To prevent depression or mania from having easy access to your sleep here are some actions to take:
- Be consistent in your sleep pattern – go to bed and wake up daily at the same time.
- Do not work on anything past a specific hour you set that is a few hours before bed time. (This is the hardest one especially if you are manic or having mixed episodes.)
- Have a relaxation routine that you start an hour before bed. Ex. Turn the lights low, listen to relaxing music, take a warm bath, burn a candle. If you are tempted to try a natural approach to getting to sleep, you might even find that using a cannabis strain such as blue dream weed can help you to relax and unwind. Never smoked cannabis before? If so, you might want to consider using a mini bong. You can learn more about mini bongs here: https://fatbuddhaglass.com/collections/mini-bongs.
- Keep a notepad by your bed so that when ideas wake you up in the middle of the night you can write them down and go back to sleep.
- Don’t use alcohol to sleep. It will only let depression in more.
- Talk with your doctor and request a non-addictive sleep aid.
Depression’s next easiest tool for plowing down your door is FEAR.
Fear is depression’s most highly developed and effective tool. This tool affects your life on many levels including: how you think, what you feel, what you do and how you do it – your body’s heightened stress response.
How You Think:
In order for depression to be in your life, it needs to manipulate and control your thoughts. In order to do so it will persistently tell you things like, “You will ALWAYS be (insert negative statement here)….You will NEVER (insert positive statement here)….You CAN’T…” And it plays these ugly messages to you like a tape recorder in an authoritative voice (sometimes your own, or maybe your mother and father’s etc).
This is how depression gains your trust….
IT MAKES YOU THINK ITS YOU.
When depression comes into your life after mania or hits you like a ton of bricks, it controls your thoughts differently. Because it didn’t knock on your door at all, it keeps you depressed by making you incapable of thinking and feeling PERIOD. (But this will be discussed another time.)
How You Feel:
When depression knocks on your door it needs you to feel bad. So bad that you hurt. It can’t exist unless you feel so much guilt, shame, blame, doubt, sadness, loss, pain etc…that you are willing to not resist the feelings and own them.
This is why it tells you, “Everything is your fault….” “You aren’t worthy of…” “No one will love you.” “No one wants you.” “No one will believe you.” etc.
Depression’s goal is hurt you until you go numb and can’t feel anything because it needs you to not be willing and able to do anything about it.
Depression does NOT want you to care. It needs you to not care in order for it to survive. This process often invites suicide.
What You Do:
Depression needs you to do absolutely NOTHING. In order for it to survive and make itself at home with you, it steals your energy, interests, your ability to focus, your ability to experience pleasure.
Depression needs your strength, resources and abilities in order to live.
How you do it – Your Bodies Heightened Stress Response:
The best way for depression to make you believe the thoughts and feelings that it feeds you is by making you feel it in your body.
It does this through agitation, anxiety and panic attacks.
Depression needs you to feel out of control in your body so that it can control you.
To not answer the door when depression tries to control how you think, feel, and respond in your body:
- Acknowledge that the thoughts and feelings you are having are depression, NOT YOU.
- See depression for what it is: Like all other living creatures it wants to survive. In order to survive it must manipulate and control you so you give it your resources. It is like a parasite.
- Do not believe the tape recorded lies depression tells you about yourself and your life. Don’t buy what the salesman is trying to sell you. If you have to curse at him, “F*** You Depression!” It just feels good.
- When you feel negative feelings in your body, PAUSE, breathe deeply and slowly, and ask yourself is this F.E.A.R. “False Evidence Appearing Real”.
- When depression is stealing your interests from you, find at least one thing and keep doing it no matter what…even if its just getting out of bed.
- Exercise – your body needs to release the stress hormones and exercise is how your body does it.
- Focus on the “Here and Now”. You will find that when you are in the moment, depression can’t exist. Depression gets to you by focusing your attention on the past (what happened or what could have been) and the future (what might happen or “what if…”)…but never the present (what is, right now). Right now, there is no problem. The present lacks FEAR.
Doing these actions can be challenging. For help overcoming these obstacles and taking action, feel free to set up a consultation with me if you are in the Los Angeles area OR seek out a psychotherapist in your area:
I will be writing a blog on what to look for that will make a therapist a good fit.