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Depression. Depression is why you don’t want to get better.
Depression is a black hole of emptiness that devours everything it touches. It kills your motivation, your drive, your desire to do the things that you need to be doing. It makes it difficult to enjoy life, find any happiness or peace, or even feel sad, for that matter.
That’s when you know it’s bad. Depression that’s so bad that you can’t even feel sad. You just feel empty, numb, like nothing is worthwhile, nothing is meaningful, nothing matters.
What’s the point of trying to be better? The depression tells me I’m not going to be. What’s the point of trying? It’s all going to go to shit anyway. What’s the point of any of this? There’s no joy, no peace, no color, no passion. Love is a pale shade of anything it should be. Just bleak, empty loneliness without end, right?
My dear reader, if you have depression, there’s a pretty good chance you can tell that I, the writer, have dealt with it too for a long time. Except mine comes in the spicier Bipolar flavor. Just a sprinkling of hypomania on top just in case things aren’t quite dysfunctional enough!
So let me give you a little bit of informal advice about getting through this and on to better things.
It’s an absolutely terrible idea to rely on your emotions or motivation to bring you to success. Any success! Because guess what? Emotionally healthy people don’t feel motivated all the time either. There are many times when they don’t feel like doing the work, don’t feel like attending the responsibility, don’t feel like dealing with whatever they’re dealing with. The secret is that you just do it anyway.
There’s a pretty good chance you’re not going to feel like you want to be better because you’re depressed, and that’s what depression does. It robs you of those emotions. Steals them away and smothers them under a mountain of negative emotions like emptiness, loneliness, and hopelessness.
But guess what? There is a chance to be better! You just have to choose to keep doing the right things regardless of how you feel. That’s it. That’s as complicated as it gets.
What do I actually do?
I will give you a direct and clear list of how to proceed; no emotions required.
1. Consult with a mental health professional.
If you are suffering from depression, you should talk to a mental health professional about it. The reason is that depression is so prevalent and watered down nowadays that you can get very bad advice from the general public for dealing with your problems. In addition, there are different kinds of depression. People experience depression for several different reasons. And the reason that you’re experiencing depression is going to largely inform how you have to treat it.
A person experiencing temporary depression because they have a bad job may just need a different job, and their mood will lift. But a person who had a loved one die, who’s deep in grief and depressed because of their loved one’s passing may need grief counseling and tools to help them process their loss. And still, other people may have a depression disorder of some kind that requires focused treatment and therapy to bring it under control.
Personally, I have Bipolar Disorder, which features Bipolar-depression and hypomania/mania. The amount of asinine advice and stupid bullshit ways regular people have suggested that I deal with it is staggering.
Like, no, getting more sunshine and exercise isn’t going to make even the smallest dent in the intensity of what goes on in my head when I’m unwell. But hey, for someone that just has a Vitamin D deficiency contributing to their depression, that may be what they need!
You need to figure out why you’re depressed in the first place so that you can pursue appropriate treatment. The easiest way to do that is to see a mental health professional and talk to them honestly about what you’re experiencing.
BetterHelp.com is a website where you can connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.
Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to overcome issues that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, therapy is 100% the best way forward.
Online therapy is actually a good option for many people. It’s more convenient than in-person therapy and is more affordable in a lot of cases. And you get access to the same level of qualified and experienced professional.
Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.
2. Keep all of your doctor and therapy appointments.
I honestly have never understood people that enjoyed therapy. Therapy was incredibly uncomfortable, made me feel vulnerable, and bad a lot of the time. “Enjoyable” is not a word I would use to describe it. But even though it was not enjoyable, it was absolutely necessary. I had to go through and address a lot of the negative behaviors, cognitive distortions, and bad habits I had created by living with an untreated mental illness for such a long time.
You may have to do that too. And it’s probably going to suck. You’re probably not going to want to do it. You’re probably going to look for every excuse not to do it because it feels fucking terrible. But let me tell you something, it’s okay. The fact that it feels terrible is a good indicator that you’re in the right place, doing the right work. Meaningful progress often doesn’t feel good. Hell, the same thing is true for exercise. You may be in pain for a while, but your body will get stronger, you’ll get more used to it, and you’ll recover.
Don’t skip appointments unless you absolutely have to. Each skipped appointment is more distance from getting out of the depression hole.
3. Outline a survival routine for depression.
The word routine is interesting. It denotes what we do because that’s just what we do. This is an incredibly helpful thing when you have depression because you’re not relying on your emotions or motivation to get things done. You do the thing because it’s what you do. Even if it’s just going through the motions, you’re still getting it done, and that is something that will help you keep your life from completely spinning out into chaos.
Personally, when I’m severely depressed, I don’t want to eat. I don’t experience hunger pangs. It doesn’t occur to me to bother eating. And frankly, I really don’t want to eat because I’m not hungry, nothing tastes good, and fuck all this bullshit anyway. But that doesn’t stop my body from burning calories or requiring sustenance, even though my brain is lying to me and telling me I don’t.
So, I’ll eat one meal a day, even if it’s just a sandwich or a piece of fruit, or one time a can of corn because for some reason I wanted a can of corn? I don’t know. The brain’s weird. Either way, the point is that you don’t have to feel like doing it to do it. And if you really can’t force yourself to get that one meal a day, my go-to is a spoonful of peanut butter. Requires little to no effort, high in protein, fats, and calories. Only one dish to wash too.
Ask yourself, what do I need to do? Some suggestions: take your meds (if you have any), eat at least one meal, and brush your teeth. Don’t allow yourself to view them as optional. Just do them whenever you can find the energy to do them.
4. Keep trying.
Recovery is not a linear path. People go back and forth, up and down, all over the place. It takes time and consistency to treat whatever issue you’re dealing with, unmake bad habits, relearn and replace them with good habits, make better choices, and improve. It is rarely ever a fast process for anyone. And most mental health treatments aren’t even fast in the first place. They can’t be because certain treatments need to be given systematically. Otherwise, things can get catastrophic very quickly.
So you relapsed on self-harm or sobriety? It happens. Tomorrow is the first day of your next bout of sobriety. See if you can beat the number of days you were previously clean.
You got fed up with the system, said fuck it, and canceled your appointments? It happens. Call them back up and schedule another appointment when you’ve calmed down a bit.
Don’t like your mental health professional or feel like they don’t listen to you? It happens. Find a new one. Just tell the professional if you are being seen in a facility setting or by a group. They should be able to refer you out to someone else within the group.
You stopped trying because you’re depressed and hopeless? It happens. Be depressed, be hopeless, but don’t stop trying. Get up, go to your appointments, do the things you can do, and keep trying.
That’s the only way to get out of this hole. You have the power and ability to do that. Don’t let depression or terrible people convince you that you can’t. All you have to do is stay focused on performing the right actions, not what you feel, not what your brain tells you in the moment, not what garbage people in your life might be saying to you.
You can do this. I believe in you. And no, I don’t have to know you to believe in you. I spent years buried in my own cynicism and negativity. Do you know why most people don’t succeed at what they set out to do? It’s because they either doubt themselves, or other people have convinced them that they can’t accomplish their goal. And it’s bullshit. You are more powerful than you may realize, or that your mental illness will allow you to believe.
Everyone is so quick to tell us what we can’t do, often because of their own smallness. I’m telling you that you can. So get up, get help, and get through it. You got this.
Still not sure why you don’t want help for your depression? Speak to a therapist today who can shine some light on the reasons and convince you to seek a path to recovery. Simply connect with one of the experienced therapists on BetterHelp.com.
You may also like:
- Feeling Empty Inside: Reasons Why + What To Do About It
- 7 Things To Do When You Feel Hopeless
- How To Care Again When You Just Don’t Care About Anything Anymore
- 4 Things To Do When You Don’t Care About Yourself
- 10 Ways To Overcome “I Don’t Matter” Thoughts And Feelings
- “I Don’t Deserve To Be Happy” – How To Overcome These Thoughts