It’s Movember, a charity drive raising money for men’s health. One of the key focus areas is mental health. I am raising awareness on this issue by growing a moustache and sharing about some of my own struggles with mental health.
Written on April 20, 2020
I’ve been feeling depressed again lately. I think I sometimes try to deny it. Which is a natural reaction to these feelings.
I try to deny it because I don’t think I should be feeling this way. I don’t think I deserve to feel depressed. After all, my life is incredibly good. I could list off all the many ways this is true, but that would just be me trying to talk myself out of what I genuinely feel.
And so there is guilt. I feel guilty for feeling depressed because I have no reason to be depressed. So there is shame in there as well. I am ashamed of being depressed. I am ashamed that my depression colours my relationships with others. I am ashamed because I think I should be better able to rise above these feelings, and yet I can’t.
My meditation practice has greatly improved my relationship to depression. I can often now notice the feelings and bodily sensations that are present with depression. But I still struggle with not identifying with them, with not becoming them.
I feel a kind of empty, hollowed out space in my chest. I feel my face trapped in an almost quivering half-frown. I notice the lack of energy and motivation within me. I want to resist these feelings, though I know I should just allow them to be.
And sporadically, I do. I allow myself to feel what I feel. I welcome the feelings like a friend in need. I listen. And then, I act. Movement usually helps. A good run shakes me out of most of my stupors. Getting outside and feeling the sunshine, listening to the sounds of nature. Music. Laughter. Talking to a friend.
If I don’t act when I feel depressed, I will turn to distraction. The internet is my favourite these days, followed closely by obsessively cleaning the kitchen, or thinking about how I should and could be more productive but without actually producing much of anything. I can lose days doing these activities and finally awaken with regret at the time that I will never get back again.
Depression is a thief who steals my life.
You can help. Donate to the cause by visiting my fundraising page. Talk about mental health with your loved ones. Most importantly, if you yourself are suffering, reach out for help.