As many of us are living an “austere” lifestyle right now- financially, emotionally, and spiritually; it can be hard to remember when times were good. You may have lost sight of what it was like to not feel worried, afraid, stressed, confused, lonely and/or lost. You may suspect that nobody wants to hear you talk about your problems anymore (because they likely have problems of their own), and you could be right.
Well, you may feel like you’re handling the situation pretty well overall. You’ve managed to keep yourself, your family, your business or your career somewhat intact. You’ve given up a lot of things that you used to consider “must haves,” like weekly haircuts or going out to dinner. Friends no longer invite you out for lunch, because they know you can’t afford it, and they don’t want to make you feel bad for having to decline. You’re down in the dumps, but you find that if you really try, you can snap yourself out of it. Besides, you don’t have the time or energy to give in to feeling sorry for yourself. You’re afraid that if you really think about it, or lean into it, you might just lose it completely and have a “nervous breakdown.”
So, what do you do? You think that if you can just keep moving, you will make it to the other side of this. You walk around feeling numb from the neck up and like you’re made out of lead from the neck down. You’re proud of yourself for your sheer stamina and power of will. For some reason, people keep saying to you, “I don’t know how you do it. I could never…” Don’t they understand that you don’t have a choice? You wish you could go to the beach for the weekend or to Las Vegas for a conference, like your friends do. You wish you could just relax. Heck, you wish you could just have one coherent thought; one moment of clarity and peace.
Unfortunately, the opposite is happening. You’re starting to not sleep well. Maybe you can fall asleep just fine, but you can’t STAY asleep for any length of time. It’s getting more and more difficult to keep your focus and you’re forgetful. Your productivity at work is really becoming lousy and even you are sick to death of all your excuses and explanations. When the occasional something or other does go well, you simply can’t enjoy it. You either complain about it anyway or hardly even notice it. You snap at everyone around you- at the slightest provocation. This really bothers you, as you realize that you’re just not yourself; but knowing that it’s a problem doesn’t make it go away. It just keeps happening. You find yourself getting more and more angry over less and less.
This leads to a withdrawal from people, places and things. You’re in a funk, so you keep to yourself. It makes sense at first. You tell yourself that you’re just sooooo busy and you need to recharge. After all, you’re very tired at the end of the day. You’re depleted. You just can’t see the purpose in social interactions that will likely serve to deplete you further. Besides, you aren’t exactly the life of the party that you used to be. Without realizing it, you’re shutting down all systems that appear to be non-essential…to the point that you’ve lost interest in sex and your appetite has changed as well.
You manage to keep going by reminding yourself that nobody you know has it easy right now, or that your great-grandparents had it much harder. But, somehow, almost imperceptibly, you are becoming so detached from the people and events around you that it’s as if you’re watching them on youtube. You don’t believe in yourself at all anymore and wonder why anybody else would or ever did. Things keep slipping off your plate-two and three at a time, only you’ve stopped caring. You’re realizing that you have no hope that things are going to get better. There’s no point…to anything. Life is a meaningless series of days filled with disappointment, anxiety and loss. You start thinking that it would be so much better if maybe you could make everything stop. How can you make this all go away? What if…?
OK, STOP RIGHT THERE! If you are having thoughts of suicide and are in crisis, please call 1-800-SUICIDE, 1-800-273-TALK or
1-800-799-4TTY (for hearing impaired).
Otherwise, what I have described above is the epitome of depression. You need help, and it is readily available. This is not going to go away on its own. It’s not. You’re in trouble, but you can’t tell how bad it is, ‘cause you’re too low to care anymore. Again, you need help. You’ve started to accept the unacceptable, and it’s taking on a life of its own. Call Life Skills Resource Group in Orlando as soon as you can at
407-355-7378. You need support, and you need it now. Depression is debilitating. It steals your ability to act on your own behalf. You become stretched so thin that you can no longer cope with what life continues to throw at you. Our Counselors can help. We are here. Please don’t wait any longer. Even though you may feel like you can handle this alone, it’s okay to ask for help. -Kim