Depression Daydreams

When Depression Overwhelms Me

I was hearing loud noises and seeing bright lights swirling in different colors. I felt like an outsider. If it had been a movie, everyone else would have been in the center, and then the camera would have had to zoom out to its greatest extent just to see me: a small figure in the fetal position, shrinking between the wall and floor. Then the wall would start to shake, falling down on top of me, leaving me buried by thoughts and emotions (and rubble), feeling completely helpless.

For countless years, this feeling of helplessness is how I saw myself when I would become overwhelmed. I would ask myself why is it that after something overwhelming, I just lie in my bed for hours, not doing anything, feeling disconnected from the world? How can I waste my time like that? As a married mother of three young children, I have very few hours–while the kids are sleeping–to engage in self-care, doing something simple such as reading, writing, catching up with friends, or even watching TV. It feels as if I’m letting my “me time” slip away from me, and am letting my depression take control instead.

Taking Control of My Narrative

Recently, I took some time to reflect on how I behave after one of these “overwhelming” situations takes place, which leaves me frustrated with myself. It has allowed me to change my perspective on what really happens to me when I feel overwhelmed.

It’s not so much that I’m ruminating about overwhelming situations; it’s more that I’m able to disconnect and give my mind and body a reprieve from what happened. I’m not bound by time – as I used to think I must be – as I no longer look at my clock or phone while I disconnect. What I’ve thought of as defeat for so many years, I’ve come to learn is really a mind-break to reclaim the energy I need to keep conquering and facing the world. For the first time, I’m feeling like my depression has unknowingly given me a gift.

Depression’s True Impact On Me

Depression has shaped my life in many ways. I keep to an approximate mental schedule every day in order to keep the day predictable, structured, and on track. I try not to leave any wiggle room for my depression to infiltrate. Even though it may come creeping into my schedule unannounced more than I would like it to, the more overwhelmed I am in the moment, the more I’m able to take a step back and do my own self-care when I need it at the end of the day. For all of those years, I was doing it by lying in bed, thinking that I was wasting my night away. In reality, I was unknowingly allowing myself time to recover and heal from the day’s events.

Depression doesn’t always need to be associated with negative connotations. Sometimes it just helps to take a step back and realize that I’m stronger than I think.

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Shelli Sussman
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