It’s been a long time since I wrote a long post. This has been on my mind for a while and tonight I wanted to share with you some very raw, personal thoughts.
Depression is something that I’ve had a lot of experience with for a really long time. I’ve done a lot of research, educated myself heavily and made constant and valiant efforts to help myself. Depression is still very mysterious and cunning to me. There is still SO much I do not know or understand about my mental health. After a lot of therapy, inquiry and healing work, it doesn’t even matter to me anymore how or why or the root cause of it. What I know is that depression can still happen in me, or to me, and I’m not able to outsmart it or educate my way out of it.

Something that has both positives and negatives is that I am mostly able to cope and function in a way that many people don’t notice that I’m struggling. I rarely bring it up, and if I do, I downplay it. I’ve had a lot of experience telling people about my depression and it doesn’t often help very much, occasionally makes things worse.

Here’s what I know about myself and my vulnerability to depression: it is most helpful to me to focus on my connections and friendships. It’s helpful and healing for me to talk on the phone, to have one on one visits with friends and to be in nature. I always try to be a good friend because, in a way, my quality of life depends on it.

I don’t spend too much time describing the details of my depression and anxiety, but it is sometimes overwhelming to the point where it’s hard to leave my house. Not many people know this about me. Luckily I work from home, but it also effects my ability to concentrate and to believe in myself and to have confidence in my ability to do good work. Everything is harder and takes longer when depressed.
Even though I recognize the depressed thought patterns as overly harsh, unhelpful and downright false, they still exist in my head and exhaust my awareness with incredible intensity. I can feel like I’m underwater, slowed down, unable to remember what’s happening or how to react properly.

I’m constantly feeling apologetic for not living up to my potential, not being a good enough __________ (you name it, I feel like I’m failing at it.) I’m constantly ashamed of not being able to snap out of it, pull myself together or have enough resolve to beat this thing once & for all. Part of the weight that makes it hard to breath is the feeling that I’m letting people down and not showing up for them. I’m not able to show up for myself that well.
And it actually is all in my head, but saying that is completely unhelpful. I’m having a public rant because I couldn’t manage to find an appropriate outlet for my thoughts & feelings about this right now. I can’t afford weekly therapy, I don’t have insurance coverage for therapy, and I have not had success with the variety of antidepressant drugs I have tried them on and off over the last 20 years.

I am making a continually better prayer for my life and participating in healing medicine ceremonies, which are very helpful for me. I still have all my feelings about everything and I need a lot of help all the time. I still have no idea what help looks like or means, but I like the feeling of those that want to hang out with me.

My best efforts to move forward through times of depression include getting outside every day, watering my garden, sitting in the sun, visiting the ocean, staying hydrated, swimming or floating in water, one on one time with friends, talking on the phone and lots of quality time with my cat. Also saying, “No.” when I need to and not doing things that I can’t do in a good way.
I’m lucky to have many wonderful friends and family in my life. We are all very busy though. It often takes weeks or months to plan a time to get together. Many people don’t have time to talk on the phone anymore. I notice that often days go by when I don’t talk to anyone. It’s not always easy to reach out, but I do my best. I love it when people reach out to me. I’m very available for support also. I’m a good listener.

Respectfully, I do not need advice about what I should or shouldn’t do about my depression. I do not need sympathy or condescension. Please don’t share any opinions about antidepressants or health care. This is personal, not political.
The only kind of help I desire is the kind that feels good to give and receive and is genuine. If you ever want to reach out, call me, make a time to hang out with me, come over and have tea or go for a walk, that is something that would really feel good to me now, and always. I especially love it if people are willing to come to me.

If you don’t know what to say, that’s perfect. I don’t know what to say either. Let’s just talk about cats.

I want to end my shame about this struggle. I don’t know how to do that, but this is a baby step. I assume that many more people are experiencing depression than admit it or talk about it openly. I’m always willing to talk about it. I’ve been doing my best to support my own mental health needs for decades, it’s a considerable effort that just doesn’t seem to let up. It takes my constant attention, energy and creativity to continually find new ways to move forward through some very challenging moments.

Thank you for listening, for reading, and for any love your can offer. I accept it gratefully.

Jeremy Bishop

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