Depression is a message: How to listen to it.

6/8/20233 min read

grayscale photo of woman right hand on glass
grayscale photo of woman right hand on glass

If depression was a message, how do we listen to it?

I usually start every post with a quote. However, every quote about depression expresses someone else's opinion and or experience of it. The purpose of this post is not to enforce my or others' opinions about depression but to give you tips on shifting some power back into your hands.

Depression is complex, exhausting, and heavy. I want to focus on one aspect of it today. Depression as a message is the aspect I want to focus on. I want us to learn to listen to what our depression is saying. You may be thinking; my depression says, "Don't get out of bed," and "I will never be successful." I can't listen to that. Well, that's not the part I want you to listen to. I want you to listen to the quiet part, the one that speaks with the best intentions and love. Ask yourself, "Why shouldn't I get out of bed? Why do I feel that I will never be successful?" "Why am I so tired, or why are these things so hard to do.'

Two pieces of advice

Typically, you are living the "have to" life to some extent. "I have to finish school," " I have to be this version of successful." "I have to take care of this, him or her." "I have to be okay." Each "I have to" is an added weight to your shoulders. Especially if you don't want to be doing those things. Doing things you don't want to do is ten times harder. Moreover, when you spend your energy on "have-to" things, you begin to lose energy for everything else. Maybe, your depression is a message that you are tired of feeling used. Or maybe it's a message that you are losing yourself chasing other people.

Therefore, my first piece of advice is to place your energy into things that feel less tiring. If you feel more exhausted after hanging out with certain people, try spending time with other people, or maybe it's time to put your energy elsewhere for a time. If getting out of the house is easier when you go to a certain place, keep going there.

My second piece of advice is to connect or reconnect with something creatively. I say this because depression includes feeling and taking in a lot. Creativity is the opposite of taking things in; it's expressing them, letting them out, and letting things go. So, it doesn't matter if it's building, writing, photography, dancing, singing, painting, drawing, etc. This can help when you feel less overwhelmed.

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself.

1. Which things are the hardest to do and which are the easiest?

• Sometimes the harder things can be asign that you feel like you "have to" or "should" do certain things that don't resonate with you.

2.) Which of these things am I doing for others, and which am I doing for me?

• This is a great question to see the difference in energy you put into yourself versus others.

3.) If I got my way today, how would things go? What things would I continue to do, and which would I forgo?

• Here is a question that can help you filter where to focus your time.

A couple of bonus questions

4.) Which people or things make you feel the most alone or unseen?

• This, by far, is a very difficult and emotional question because, most of the time, the answer is the people we love. However, this is less about your relationship with these people and more about your relationship with yourself. If you want to maintain a connection with them, go ahead. It might help to have 5 minutes to yourself before you see them or 10 minutes of journaling after.

5.) Around the start of my depression, how often did I choose others over myself? This includes other people's happiness, peace, state of mind, safety, and health.

• This action specifically screams other people are more important than me. Which is not a fun or healthy mindset to have. YOU ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT AS ANYONE ELSE. Now, there might be times when you put others first, which is natural. However, there must be a balance of you putting yourself first, too.

Write these out and give yourself time to get the answers. Once you have them, give your energy to what makes you feel energized, less overwhelmed, or even just better. Depression is a message that things are not where you want them to be. So, it's okay if, while answering these questions, most things are hard to do or most places are a struggle to get to. The goal of listening is not to judge but to help you become aware of the things that are still in your control. When you listen to what's upsetting you, you can use it to start to shift this in both a small and big way.