You aren’t depressed, you are just fucked
Let me be the first to say, I applaud all the men who talk openly and honestly about depression and helping men become healthier is something I’ll spend the rest of my career trying to do. But have you ever considered that you might not be depressed?
Having experienced depression once in my life which left me broken and unable to move off the couch I have since encountered regular periods of time where I’m feeling super down and tired. These times leave me feeling ‘depressed’ but I’m still able to function enough to get through my day and do my job. I rely heavily on caffeine and naps to give me enough energy to survive the day and the sleep that I do get has no contribution to increasing energy, if anything I wake up even more tired than before I shut my eyes so I reach for another energy drink.
If you are a driven and ambitious person like myself there is no way you are going to change your goals but you may be able to change your approach. You may not realise how tired and stressed you are until you break, in fact the more tired I become the harder I fight and I’ll fight until there is nothing left. It’s at this time that I might label myself ‘depressed’ when in reality I’m just miserable, tired, over worked and fucking unhappy. So what do you do about it?
I certainly haven’t mastered the art of rest and recovery so I’m not going to preach to anyone. However, I do start to take positive action faster each time I notice the dark clouds approaching overhead. Here’s a few things that have helped me
- I don’t work as much. Apart from the essentials such as teaching I accept that my best work is not going to be produced. Rather than waste hours trying to do something that would take me a single hour on a good day I accept that I’ll do it when I’m feeling fresh
- I reassess the amount of time I spend on my phone and social media. This usually results in allocated times away from technology
- Extra sleep. I’ll get additional sleep where possible because this is always lacking when I feel shit
- I train with less intensity. I can’t stop training but I won’t beat myself up for not hitting any personal bests
- I continue to eat very well but allow a little more flexibility in my diet to top up my energy stores
- I watch less YouTube motivational mentors such as Gary V because I need a break from the concept of working ultra hard.
- I work in chunks of time. I’m quite happy to work super hard for 4-6 weeks before having a week where shit won’t get done and I’ll go at my own pace.
- But the most valuable thing I accept is that it’s ok not to be on fucking fire everyday, and that like every other human I need rest. I hated accepting this, but what’s the alternative?
Generally I think it may be easier to label yourself as depressed rather than accept that some things need to change and that’s where your attention should be. My friend always says when you are feeling depressed it’s usually alarm bells that something in your life isn’t right. I am convinced that this be true.