Why are we all so depressed? Oh, let me count the ways.
Are you depressed? Or, are you hearing lots of people ask, Why am I depressed? There’s actually a lot to it. First, whether you think about it a lot or not, we are at war. A global war fought against an unseen enemy. It’s like we’re suddenly living in a bad science fiction movie that doesn’t end in two hours.
First of all, no one was prepared for this total change of lifestyle. No one expected that overnight we’d lose everything normal about our lives. Those with children, suddenly don’t have help with school or home care. That means work, family, incredible life pressure, with no breaks. Ever. Another issue with war is death. We’ve lost more than 100,000 Americans to Covid-19 in ten weeks. Many have lost beloved friends or family members. That is depressing by itself. Trying to process that kind of human loss is overwhelming. How could we not be sad?
Depression is a normal reaction to loss, grief, and processing violence
Second, the barrage of disturbing news and general unrest going on in the country is terribly upsetting. It’s unspeakably awful to see police violence and abuse and it seems to be normal these days. It’s unacceptable and the rage its stirring up is the kind of rage that actually forces change, but often with more lives lost in the process. These riots and unrest are serious and its hard to process on many levels. As an activist, I understand the desire to get up and protest and scream as loud as you can. As a human, I’m sick over the treatment of Black Americans. As a peace-loving free-spirit, it all frightens me. So much of life right now is heartwrenching and can cause a variety of feelings.
When you lose your job you don’t have to ask “Why am I depressed.”
Third, no one has seen their work go unaffected. To have your income and employment disrupted, and for some, see it come entirely to a halt, is traumatic. Make no mistake about it. I am one of the people who had worked very hard in the past five years to get to where I was three months ago. I was so proud of everything I’d achieved and have watched powerlessly as much of it has gone away. I don’t know when it will return. People in recovery and with mental health issues work so hard for stability. To have life destabilized like this is earth-shaking at best.
Humans need touch and connection for mental health
Fourth, whatever your relationship and family status is, the pandemic will challenge it. If you are alone, some days feel like they will never end, and the loneliness is overwhelming. If you’re in a relationship, unless it is brand new, there will be stressed days. It’s inevitable. Spending this much time together without all our regular releases, and hugs with friends is unnatural. Meetings, friends, family, and my apartment in Hollywood are what help my relationship stay balanced. We are unbalanced right now. We’re doing OK, but after 11 weeks, we’re all ready to go back to normal.
Then, there’s recovery… Where to begin? I haven’t been to an in-person 12 step meeting, haven’t set foot in a meditation studio, yoga studio, spin class, and for months the beaches and hiking trails were closed. My precious recovery lifestyle is no longer in its original format. Yes, there are online meetings, online yoga, online meditations, but for me, it is not the same. I don’t get the same effect of listening to a sound bath online as I do from going in person and having a couple dozen other like-minded people around me creating harmonious energy together. I miss my friends, I miss my family, I miss my sponsor, I miss people I don’t even like.
So, we’re experiencing the stress of a total loss of lifestyle, a loss of work and/or income, public unrest, and we’re dealing with the reality of seeing millions of people all over the world succumb to a virus no one seems to much about yet. This is depressing and scary. To feel anxious and depressed is absolutely fitting. There is nothing odd about you if you feel depressed right now.
What are the warning signs of depression
I struggle to get out of bed these days, and all my needs are met. Life feels hard. If you’re a sensitive person, you’re probably also taking in all the world’s angst. For today, know that these feelings and this reaction are appropriate and healthy. Let me think about what we should do, and I’ll write that out for next week. Until then, get more rest, follow relapse prevention tips, good care of yourself, and remember this will end.