to have depression!
This post is inspired by my all time favourite magazine, Glamour, and their monthly feature called ‘Hey it’s okay!’ Jo Elvin is probably the woman I want to be most in the world just because she’s Australian and the editor of one of the bestselling mainstream feminist magazines in the world.
I feel like when you have depression, there is a lot of self-doubting, self-loathing and most of all guilt. Sometimes, you really need someone to just say ‘Hey it’s okay…’.
I’ve written a few examples of some of the things I wish people would have said to me at the time (or they probably did but I was too busy self-doubting to believe it)!
Hey, it’s okay…
…to cancel your plans today.
Some days I really felt like I couldn’t face the world. It made me incredibly anxious if I knew I had somewhere to be, or someone to see and I just knew I wouldn’t be very good company. I had days where I’d forced myself to do whatever I’d planned to do and had actually had a good time, but on other days, it was such a relief when I could just cancel and no one would argue with me about it.
…to have time off work.
My doctor told me this. It’s so hard not to feel guilty when you know others are doing extra to cover your workload. Even though you may feel guilty and like you haven’t got a legitimate excuse to be off work, you must remember that you have an illness and you also need time to recover.
…to make a duvet fort and stay in it for the rest of the day.
My bed and my cat were my best friends when I had depression. When you are feeling at your lowest, you need to feel safe and comfortable in your surroundings. A big soft duvet and a fluffy cat may be the comfort you need in your time of need.
…to not be able to explain why you feel like this.
Yup. You don’t get it. Your friends don’t get it. Your family don’t get it. It’s not up to you to explain why you feel like this because honestly, you might not even know. Don’t put any extra stress by trying to figure it out before you need to.
…to not do anything at all.
The word ‘productivity’ was my nemesis when I had depression. Every day I would wake up and feel so guilty that I wasn’t doing anything productive. However, just like my previous point – you need to give yourself time to recover and if that means making a duvet fort and watching in Netflix all day then that is totally okay with me!
…to not tell people that you feel like this.
‘What’s wrong?’ ‘Nothing.’ It happens. Sometimes it’s easier to lie than to tell the truth and until you are ready you say whatever you want to help you through the day, you say whatever you need to. Just make sure when you do tell someone, it’s someone you trust or a professional like a councillor, a doctor or a trusted family member.
…to wear your PJ’s all day.
If the hardest part of you day is getting dressed and you don’t have to, then don’t. PJ’s are the comfiest form of clothing afterall.
Really – crying is totally healthy. Everybody cries sometimes and I honestly believe that it’s better to cry when you need to than to let your emotions build up and be realeased in an irrational way.
…to listen to that sad song even though it makes you cry.
I have days, even now, where I just know I need to cry. I can feel the emotions building up inside me and I don’t want it to come out over something completely ridiculous like my boyfriend buying me the wrong type of chocolate. I’d much rather give myself half an hour to let it out properly and then be able to continue with the rest of my day.
…to use your depression as an excuse.
It is a perfectly good excuse for pretty much anything. You are ill and you are going through things lots of people won’t be able to imagine or conceptualise rationally, so please do whatever you need to do in order to get yourself better.
Keep trooping everyone, because, hey, it’s okay to… (in the words of Dory) ‘just keep swimming’.