In my experience, depression is often misconstrued as having a bad day, feeling a bit blue, or down in the dumps. When I say a “bad day”, we can all relate. Being truly depressed is in no way similar, not an iota, to a rough day, days, week. The clique comparison to “never wanting to get out of bed” is used, and maybe for some this is true. But when you’re locked in a listless void, your own bed is unappealing. You feel as though you could just lay down in the mud and rot. It’s a brutal experience, so bad death seems like a reprieve.
Life is painted black and grey, the world moves slower, and the volume has been turned down. You are utterly incapable of feeling joy. At best, you bounce from sorrow to apathy. In fact, the only thing that incites any feeling is the idea of dying. So, there it is. Dying. Its somehow appealing.
Time to be proactive.
For me, this means flirting with death. I like to take her out, invite her back to my place, see how far I can go until she rejects me. Occasionally, we fuck, and its painful, but I wake up the next day, tingling.
Sordid metaphors aside, consider living your life a little more on the edge. Now I do not mean becoming a professional Russian roulette champion, or basement bare knuckle brawler fighting to the death, but maybe stick your figure in the beehive once a week.
Peruse an extreme sport, buy a motorcycle, fight crime as a masked vigilante, skydive, fucking live. The thought of just languishing behind a desk or on a couch makes me want to get it over with even while typing this. But that doesn’t have to be everyone’s life. Now, if you’re broke, or just cheap like me, powerlift or Olympic lift. Step or drop under enough weight to crush you and come out ok and tell me you don’t feel more vibrant. While in college, I volunteered as a firegither/emt and got my jollies risking my life for strangers. Selfish yes, but I still helped my community.
Like all traumatizing experience – and depression most certainly is traumatizing, it can influence your creative side. Personally, it is writing. A sort of sadistic pleasure is hearing how profoundly a story of mine has affected someone and the questions that follow. In truth, I could articulately explain how writing is a form of therapy, a means to explore the unpleasant thoughts, sensations that arise. But it’s more fun to be vague. I would imagine all art forms can facilitate a sense of relief, albeit temporary, so just keep going back to them.
If you’re like me and depression is a part of you, learn how to self-medicate the right way – finger the bee hive, then write about the experience.