There is an image that is prominent among the population of what someone with depression looks like. This image is built on stigmas and preconceptions, a painting made from half-formed rumors and fictitious stories. This image is of a person, locked in their room, alone, in the dark, probably curled up on the bed. If not, they are out in the world, emotionless, like a zombie walking among the public. They are completely detached from the world around them, completely lost in their own head. We see it all the time in medication commercials, with the person walking around in a black and white world before finding color in the pill being advertised. While the idea of the world feeling muted while in a deep state of depression is accurate and we can relate to it, the idea of the world instantly becoming colorful is inaccurate. Mental illness and its recovery is much more complicated than that. These complications also extend into the way these images of someone struggling are presented. Showing someone in bed while dealing with depression gives off the idea that it is bad for someone to be doing this; it makes us feel like we can’t allow ourselves to have these quiet moments, alone. It gives us an idea that we have to constantly be pushing ourselves out into the world without letting ourselves find time to recuperate.
Allowing Yourself Those Times to Just Stay Inside
We have talked – in length – before about pushing yourself to live your life in the midst of a mental disorder. We still stand by that statement and believe that not letting your illness define how you live your life is paramount to overcoming it and gaining back a sense of control. But at the same time, we understand that moments of letting it be and staying in are just as important. This is something that is important for people who aren’t even struggling with a disorder. Everyone needs time to just be themselves and recharge. This is even more pronounced in someone with a mental illness. Our daily lives and the stimulation and stresses that come with it are enhanced when your head is fighting its own personal battle. We start to find value in those moments by ourselves. We even begin to look forward to those weekend nights that we can spend at home, in our sweats, doing nothing. These times allow us to heal and deal with our own needs. They are the times when we can feel relaxed and not feel pressured to act or be a certain way. We don’t need to please or impress anyone; we can simply be ourselves without any inhibitions. We strip ourselves of the need to do what other people expect us to do, or what we imagine they expect us to do. A lot of people aren’t actually expecting anything from us but we convince ourselves that they are; staying at home can get rid of that burden.
There are several ideas and images that are out there in relation to mental illness that give off these negative views of beneficial things. We have to take care of ourselves as we go through recovery and even after. We can’t let these images we see dictate how we respond to the way we feel. Always keep yourself and your emotions in mind. There is absolutely no shame in taking the time to do nothing. There is value in finding the quiet amongst your busy, loud life. You can work on yourself, find the things that bring you comfort, and let yourself recharge after a busy week. Some people need to go out with friends and people after a stressful day or week, but some people just need quiet, and that’s okay too. Just because the media may show this as some kind of weakness or submission to your disorder, it is a valuable tool to use. We all need to cope differently in order to find out what makes us happy. Stay in bed all day, binge a new show on Netflix, don’t even shower. Just let yourself be and focus on the peace of doing nothing. You are entitled to your own idea happiness and don’t need to conform to any ideas that others may give you. It is okay to tell your friends no when you just don’t want to go out. It is okay to feel like your home is the best place to be right now. It is okay to not engage with a single person for a few hours. Read, watch a movie, play a game, engage with something fictional for a bit and let your body recharge. You’ve spent so much strength already just living your life with a mental illness and you’re crushing it. It’s okay to let yourself find some peace from that. You deserve it.
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness,
do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery at (866) 399-6528.