Battling Depression? Bookmark This Advice!
This time of year can be a double-whammy for those battling depression: reduced hours of sunlight and the holidays can cause feelings of gloom, not cheer.
A woman asked the creator of Rick and Morty his thoughts on battling depression and the response was something that everyone should keep in mind. In particular, his second point is one that I wanted to talk about at greater length.
Not always so ‘wonderful’
Among the favorite holiday songs you’ll no doubt be hearing soon if you haven’t already is Andy Williams’ popular rendition of, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” For many of us, that’s true, thanks to family gatherings and the spirit of Christmas.
But that’s not true for everyone.
This time of year brings with it a good deal of sadness for many people: those who’ve lost loved ones and those who find themselves far away from family. But it’s more than that. When we “fall back” and set the clocks back an hour, we lose an hour of daylight. That can bring on a particular kind of depression called Seasonal Affect Disorder that’s different from major depression: “People with SAD often sleep and eat more, possibly gaining weight as a result, unlike people with major depression who tend to have difficulty sleeping and don’t have much appetite.”
More than three million people are said to suffer from Seasonal Affect Disorder; that doesn’t count the number of people who suffer from some form of depression.
A random request for advice
A Twitter user reached out to writer, producer, and voice actor Dan Harmon with a simple question: “Do you have advice for dealing with depression?” Harmon, who suffers from depression himself, responded with a series of tweets. You can read all of them here.
But his second point really caught my eye:
Two: try to remind yourself, over and over, that feelings are real but they aren’t reality. Example: you can feel like life means nothing. True feeling. Important feeling. TRUE that you feel it, BUT…whether life has meaning? Not up to us. Facts and feelings: equal but different
— Dan Harmon (@danharmon) November 28, 2017
Harmon encouraged the Twitter user to remind herself, over and over, of an important point:
Feelings are real but they aren’t reality.
Honestly, when I read that, I realized what a very simple but very profound idea that simple statement is. As Harmon wrote, your feelings are genuine, they’re yours and every bit as real as anyone else’s, but they don’t necessarily reflect a true picture of what’s really going on around you.
People who suffer from depression are often victims more of their perception of reality than what actually is real.
The problem is that when you’re depressed, you begin to lose the ability that reality can be anything other than the very real, very genuine and very painful thoughts you’re experiencing at that moment.
There was a time I would have loved to have been reminded of that.
If you’re battling depression this time of year, I hope that thought can give you a bit of relief.
And if you need to talk and truly feel like you have no one near you to talk to, please make use of any of these hotline numbers; most are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It will get better.