In continuation of last week’s column, here are three more things you can try that might help with depression.
They’re all things that have made a difference in my life, so I hope they may be able to help you, too.
- Don’t compare your life to someone else’s. This has been cropping up again and again lately. Having taken several AP classes in high school, I should’ve been able to graduate a semester early, but instead I’m graduating a year late — that’s what happens when you switch majors and transfer schools. But watching all my high school classmates graduate and get jobs, get engaged or married, is hard, because I’m still trucking along toward my bachelor’s. I’ve never been in a relationship, and I’m years away from being able to land a steady, insurance-included gig. I feel like I should be living an entirely different life right now. At the very least, it should look a little bit more like the lives I see on Facebook and Twitter and, yes, Instagram. This comes back to normalcy, and wanting to feel somewhat normal despite my abnormalities; I don’t want my SMA to prevent me from being like everyone else, from living a life that looks like everyone else’s. But the fact of the matter is that, in some cases, it does! And that’s OK. Which is why it’s important to keep your eyes on your life. You don’t have to measure up; you don’t have to prove anything. You’re fine where you are, I promise. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say that, if you’re happy and healthy, you are right where you need to be.
- Don’t let your SMA prevent you from doing what you want to do. I’m not saying that disabilities don’t occasionally result in limitations, because they do. (I’m well aware of that fact. Having just spent the last two weeks in the hellscape of midterms, I probably shouldn’t have gone to an apple orchard today with my PCA and her daughter. I’m exhausted, and I needed to let my body recuperate, but I didn’t, and I regret it.) But there are ways around those limitations, and using your SMA as an excuse will only make you feel worse. Recognize your boundaries, but don’t let your disability keep you on the sidelines. If you want to move out of your parents’ house, don’t sell yourself short by claiming you’d never be able to make it work. You never know until you try.
- Recognize, and be grateful for, the love in your life. This is key for me. For those who have been reading my column for a while, you might remember that, this summer, I wrote about dating and my desire for a romantic relationship. I tried a dating site for a while, but eventually realized it wasn’t for me and I quit. I don’t regret it, but it also hasn’t made my loneliness any easier to handle. I still want to meet someone; I still long for love, and that longing grows keener with each passing day. But reflecting on my perpetual singleness — I hate that term, but let’s face it: I am perpetually single — only makes the depression worse, so I’ve been trying to focus on the love I do have in my life. It may not be the love I want, but it’s love that has changed my life and has made me the person I am today. I’m lucky enough to wake up to messages from my best friend every morning, and my parents are more than I ever could’ve asked for. I am learning to be content with that. And it has helped.
I hope these past few columns have been helpful to you in some way. It may seem like I’m beating a dead horse, which is probably because I am, but my goal in all this is to touch someone. I always appreciate stuff like this when my depression is at its worst, so the least I can do is pay it forward the only way I know how. If you’re reading this and are struggling, this is for you. Know I love you, and know you’re not alone. It gets better.