1. Spend all your time on Facebook.
2. Read and reread old texts, trying to decipher what went wrong, when, and what might happen next.
3. Deprive yourself of your basic energy boosts like healthy food, exercise and INTERACTION WITH NICE PEOPLE.
4. Read blogs about how to be successful.
5. Spend a shit ton of money you don't have.
6. Look at a screen most of the day.
I've had a revelation. I've been teetering on the edge of exhaustion/depression/totally losing my shit for the past, oh, 8 months (around the time I realized my marriage was ending). I'm reaching the point where I can no longer try to hold myself together.
I feel like one of those stuffed animals in Toy Story that sits still (ie--meets everyone's expectations) when humans are in the room, and comes to life (ie--is not what the humans think) behind closed doors.
It's its own form of torture. I want to just let myself live behind the closed door for a while, not having to stiffen up when someone walks in the room. Or realistically speaking, I want to be more real, whatever room I'm in. Or more plainly stated: I want to be allowed to be depressed. Okay... I want to be depressed. Okay.. I AM depressed. And I don't want to fight it/hide it anymore.
But because I've got deep rooted shit around keeping it together in front of an audience (don't we all?) I'm going to give myself the real space to disappear into my metaphorical 13-year-old bedroom until I actually feel like I can sincerely walk out into the world feeling alive and positive.
**by depressed i mean, more sad than you're used to for longer periods of time than you're used to. i'm not speaking in clinical terms. i have no training for that. but this shit might still help.
1. give a head's up, in writing, to your friends and family, inclusive of deep gratitude for taking you as you are these days... a totally imperfect and beautiful human who's just going through some shit. after all, you're depressed. connection HELPS. do a tiny bit of pre-work to make connection easier.
2. identify a bitching partner. someone you can call up for 5 minute cries, complaints, or frozen-still attacks. do not abuse this person's generosity.
1. stop asking, "where is the space for my depression?"--that's like asking, "where is the space for my breath?" there is no such thing as not enough space. space is infinite, always. you choose to walk into it, or not.
2. don't pretend you're happy when you're not. be with the truth. let it engulf you until it falls away. full-body experiences always eventually fall away.
3. give yourself permission to stop trying so hard. work from a place of humble hazy intuition, instead of push, push, push.
4. make your art. share it. humans are exhausted by trying to make summer last year-round. trust that your blanket of white winter snow is more needed than you think, than you could ever imagine.
5. forget that you're a healer (or whatever you are). just show up and do what you know how to do in your bones, because even in all this muck of depression, you still really like doing X.
6. let yourself be healed. where are your books? your movies? your coaches? your favorite sweater? your favorite soaps? where is your manifesto about what really fucking sucks right now? and where is your follow-up release?
7. remember that life is long. so so long. nothing lasts forever. that's what got you into this spiral from the get-go. (something major ended, no? the love you thought would last, the life, the inspiration). not even this will last.
8. did i mention to take care of yourself? for every caring output, i dare you to do a caring input. you know that this is needed. don't want to care for yourself? too tired? here's a 3 sentence e-mail to send to all your friends: dear friends, i'm so much more depressed than i'm prepared to admit. will you bring me dinner, send me texts, call me, or lay in bed with me while i cry sometime in the next two weeks? i love you. i really need it. thanks. ps--i can't even believe i'm sending this e-mail, but this blog told me to, so i am.
9. say "bless you" to your dear and terrorizing resistance. how far you've been from understanding humanity. how much closer you're getting with each spout of anxious doubt.
10. close the damn laptop and cry already. don't go 80%. the trouble with committing 80% to your depression is it's never really satisfied. it lingers far too long on facebook's homepage, a crush's photo page, and 1,000 sad love songs. CLOSE IT. CRY.
11. take a month off for 100% commitment to being with your shit. (or a week, or a weekend). book yourself a room. no facebook allowed. you and i both know, you've earned it.
12. potential financial losses? worth getting your power back.
13. potential work set back? worth getting your passion back.
14. plus, investing in your mental health is a consistent positive feedback loop. period.
15. look your shit straight in the eye like a deep, true love. it is, more than either of us know. yet.
16. create a culture of acceptance around sadness. you're not the only one suffering from no place to put it. make a box for the local coffee shop/library/bookstore/bar: "a place to put your sadness" with little slips of paper. every week, collect the sheets. burn them. say a prayer.
17. buy yourself flowers and fresh fruits and veggies. constant reminders that things are born anew in beauty.
18. ask yourself for forgiveness. you know what for.
19. write your thank you letters. and your forgiveness letters. no pressure to mail them, just extra joy if you do.
20. watch the movie short bus. it'll give you hope. promise.
21. don't hold onto your depression. okay--now that you're really embracing your feelings, let them be in their truest state: fleeting, momentary, here & gone. do NOT build an identity around being depressed. it is only an open door for more torture and pain. really. you're suffering plenty. promise.
22. instead, let the tiny flickers of light be your truth. in the dark, there is still ____. what's light where you are? what beauty do you still have eyes for seeing, even in your lowest spots?
22. don't postpone joy. you've gotten so used to the dark, that you might easily close your eyes to a bright flashing light in your face! don't postpone joy, sweet friends. answer that call with rapid fire speed. we all need relief. we all deserve exhaling tender laughs.
23. read any of these books as if they're wise sages sitting under a tree, imparting quiet knowing or your tired, seeking soul: tantra by osho, anatomy of the spirit by caroline myss, peace is every step by thich nhat hanh (and whatever else people recommend in the comments below).
24. bonus for the healers: tell your clients, with love, where you are and what you can and cannot do. in my case, i'll be sending a gentle e-mail to all my clients with the following stated: dear lovely clients, i just want to send a heads-up that i'll be practicing what i preach of truly being invested in my process for the next while. i'll be creating public art and honestly expressing where i am. where am i? well, i'm kinda depressed. that said, you be the test of whether you feel it, or not, in our coaching. clients have been reporting to me lately that it's the best coaching they've ever received from me. i've been feeling more present than ever to my clients. and in the dark, coaching feels like the most beautiful light i have! so all this to say--worry not if i look exceptionally dark in art and expression. it's healing and powerful for me. thanks. i love you. i know you really get it.
25. be a freak. it's fine. we knew all along. most of us are too busy worrying about keeping our inner-freaks in the closet to notice, anyway. let her out. you'll be doing a service to the world, showing that we can be both sad and powerful, honest and humble, tired and transformative... or sometimes, not. and that's okay, too.