Depression · Holidays · Life


I discovered this week that I have readers I didn’t know about. Mostly because people kept asking me if I was feeling better. Apparently they read my little December rant a few days ago. (This is probably useful as an early warning system to allow people to approach me with caution.)

Anyway, the answer is yes. I am feeling better.

Maybe not quite as gleeful as that picture would indicate, but coping.

So how did that happen, exactly?

I suspect that I’m not the only person who has ever descended into a funk and had to find a way out. I suspect that I’m not the only person doing it right now. So here are some of the things that I do. These are not new ideas. They’re all things that people told me to try along the way.

These are just things you can try if you are in a funk. If you are clinically depressed, what you really need is help from a professional. Even though it’s scary and upsetting and you don’t want to believe that you need it.

I can tell you this because I have been down in that scary dark hole, and I did not find the way out on my own. I got help. If you think maybe you need help and you don’t know what to do, I would be happy to point you to some places you can start. No one will ever know that you asked. (Despite my general lifestyle of oversharing, I can keep my mouth shut when it counts.)

So here are the things I did this week. If you are having a terrible, horrible, very bad, no good week (or month or whatever), maybe one of them will help you, too.

  • I stopped pretending.

    I have this friend Jan. She loves Christmas. I think it’s her favorite thing, seriously. She wants Christmas to start in August.

    I am never going to be like Jan.

    There is a lot to enjoy about the Christmas season, I find, as long as I am not pretending it’s going to be the best thing that ever happened to me. I find December difficult, but I can find things to appreciate and enjoy even in difficult seasons. The minute I stopped pretending I would ever reach Jan-like levels of joy, I felt better.

    It’s okay not to be okay sometimes. It’s okay to tell someone that you’re not okay. (You don’t have to publish it to the world like I do. You can just tell a friend.)

  • I took care of myself.

    There are things that I do on a regular basis that I know will make me feel better. When I get in a funk, I find it harder to do these things. (Kind of seems like a mean trick from the universe, no?) It helps if you have someone who will gently encourage you in this. Paul is pretty good at this. “How can I help you get to the gym today, dear? You’ll be much easier to live with feel much better if you do.”

    This looks a little different for everybody, and has changed for me over time. Right now, taking care of myself looks like getting to bed early, lifting weights three times a week, and not eating things that numb feelings on the way down and cause regret later. A treat is a good idea. An entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s in a single sitting just causes nausea (physical AND metaphorical).

  • I decided to forgive myself.

    For not being Mrs. Claus, for being kind of a mess, and for the pint of Ben and Jerry’s, even though I knew better. I’ve discovered that I can’t hate myself into being a better person. (SPOILER: You can’t either.) Today will be a lot better if I forgive myself the imperfections and idiocies of yesterday.

  • I accomplished something.

    I picked something very, very small that I needed to do. Then I went and did it. A lot of a blue funk for me is the feeling of drowning under all the stuff I need to get done. Moving one thing off the list, even a teeny tiny thing, makes me feel less hopeless. And it makes me feel like I can tackle the next thing.

  • I found something to look forward to. 

    In this case, I actually went ahead and created something to look forward to. I texted two girlfriends and said, “I need something to look forward to. Can we have dinner in early January?” (Note that sending this text required not pretending that I was okay.)

    This is not to say I am not looking forward to all the holiday things happening in December. I am. All those events, though, carry expectations about what I will bring or do or be. Some of those expectations are external, from other people, and some of them are internal, from me. Either way, they’re real, and they are a large part of what gives me the crazy eyes this time of year. There are just too many ways to disappoint people.

    I can look forward to this dinner unreservedly because  I don’t have to bring or do or be anything particular. I believe if I were to show up in pajama pants and three-day old hair and cry through dinner, I would be offered not censure, but empathy. (Also probably cheese dip.) This might not sound like a party to you, but to me it sounds like freedom.


That’s it.

It’s a lot of common sense, I think, but occasionally I get so busy freaking out that I cannot locate any kind of sense. It helps to have a list. Hope it helps you, too, if you need it.



2 thoughts on “Better 

  1. Awesome post! It is HARD to be honest. Especially when surrounded by others that aren’t but its something we all need to do better at. Being honest with ourselves and others and God. And being ok with ourselves and our needs, the way God made us, and being ok with the tough things in our life that make us need Christ more!❤❤
    Ok long comment alert 😉 thanks for sharing!

  2. I love this list and seeing it written before me, makes me realize that all these things help me through a funk too! Thanks! For your words and reminders!

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