Let me just put it out there right now: depression sucks. I have struggled with depression and anxiety for most of my adult life and doing things while depressed is hard. Blogging is no exception. In fact, I think one of the hardest things for me to do while depressed is to blog.
Depression isn't just feeling bummed out; it's a mental illness that is always there waiting in the wings, but the symptoms usually come and go in waves. Sometimes I feel normal, or at least my version of normal, but other times I slip into a depressive episode that makes it harder to be at the top of my game. When I'm in the throes of a depressive episode it may last days, weeks, even months at a time.
That's the struggle because when I'm depressed my train of thought is zero, my patience is zero, and my confidence is zero. See where I'm going with this? On the other hand, it's hard to write about the struggles of depression without sounding depressing.
First, let's talk about the symptoms of depression. As you can imagine, many of these depression symptoms can and do relate directly to blogging.
Symptoms of Depression:
These symptoms come straight from the National Institute of Mental Health, and may include some or all of the following:
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
- Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
- Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
- Irritability, restlessness
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
- Overeating or appetite loss
- Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
- Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
I tend to ebb and flow with my depression and unfortunately I let outside influences get to me which causes more of a funk. I am in a pretty severe funk now that has finally gotten me to start considering meds again. Right now I am having a hard time concentrating, I'm forgetful, I'm zapped of all energy, pessimistic, irritable, I am not interested in much of anything, I'm suffering from frequent headaches, and I am anxious. As you can probably imagine, this isn't all that conducive to getting my blog on, but all is not hopeless. I do have ways of coping and while I may not post as often and it may take me longer to write a review than usual, I do have some tricks up my sleeve to get me through the rough patches.
How I keep blogging while depressed:
Depression is different for everyone in terms of symptoms and severity. Right now I am in a more severe depression funk but I have to keep plugging along. I have sponsorship commitments to fulfill, reviews to write, and things to say. As with any job, I don't have the option of throwing up my hands and quitting until everything is hunky-dory again so this is how I get through it.
Take a break
As long as you don't have a deadline to meet, it's okay to take a few days to collect yourself.
Ask your friends for help
Do you have any blogging friends who are looking to guest post? Talk to them about posting on your blog so you can have a break.
I do this all the time anyway, but when I'm depressed it's even more important for keeping my thoughts straight. When an idea comes to you, write it down! Either in a notebook or a smartphone app like Wunderlist or Evernote. I have both of these apps on my iPhone and my Mac (they work just as well on an Android and PC) so I sync them together and use them for lists or blog post paragraphs that I add to later.
Keep things in perspective
Believe me, I know how hard this is to do when you're depressed. Boy, do I. I tend to take things way too personally and am absolutely ridiculous when I'm depressed. Logically I know that I'm thinking and behaving irrationally but I. Just. Can't. Stop. I need some time to talk myself off the ledge and you may too.
Be realistic, Regan and while you're at it, get over yourself. Easier said than done, but I'm trying!