Friends, Can We Talk About Mental Health?
Today's Missive is 95 percent less snarky and infinity percent more earnest, so if you’re reading for LOLs, please check out Man Who Has It All on Twitter and we'll see you next week <3
But if you’re still here, my friends, I must confess: I haven’t been taking my own political self-care advice as of late. After the election, I made the conscious effort to limit any stimuli that may cause me to rage - or sad - spiral over the current state of affairs. I stayed away from social media, well aware that my tends-to-get-addicted brain would binge on the twitter refresh dopamine like America on National Donut Day (today BTW, you’re welcome). I promised myself I would stick to my core issues issues - women’s rights, healthcare, immigration - and not drown myself in the general fuckery that is continuously befalling our great nation. Hell, I created an instagram account for my dogs so I had an instant shot of cute when I needed it - and why the hell aren’t you following Teddy and Ellie yet, they love you so?
But of late, I'm checking social media reflexively and obsessing over every insane piece of news, while not writing about anything because woof, what’s the point, who’s going to listen? Every conversation I have turns Debby Downer-style to how awful things are on a national level, and I’m feeling heavy and drained. But since I wasn't *personally* sad, I didn't think anything of it.
Yesterday, my general state of malaise was gently and carefully pointed out to me by a caring third party with mental health experience. And you know what? I might actually be depressed, a personal state I had never considered a possibility if I was not self-consciously aware of the state.
And while I don’t encourage internet-diagnosing the shit out of oneself, I’m physically experiencing quite a few of the symptoms of depression (all from the Mayo Clinic page, as I am not a doctor in any way, shape or form.):
Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness - and not just in a twitter-ironic-performative sense
Loss of interest in normal activities, like chatting with you all every morning
Sleep disturbances, like sleeping too much
Lack of energy, no matter how much coffee I consume
Changes in appetite
Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things,
Often wanting to stay at home, rather than going out to socialize or doing new things.
Because while I hadn’t been noticing each little symptom, reading through them at once clicked on the self-awareness lightbulb.
And maybe you just read through that list above and had a couple of things jump out at you.
So if you’re out there, feeling or experiencing any of the above, know you’re not alone. Even if you’re like me and you like to joke about Prufrockian existential crises, what you’re feeling and experiencing is real.
And if you are, talk to someone, a professional or a trusted person in your life.
Your feelings are valid.
You are important and valued.
It’s totally OK to not be OK.
I promise next week will be more GIF-filled, but in the meantime, take care of yourself and hug a dog this weekend ;)