Emily Curtis

#LeaveAMark

Dreaming Big while Battling Depression

Man, what a twisted joke when the simplest tasks feel impossible to get done. Key word “feel”. Feelings are powerful and they are the first thing to be affected by depression, then comes tiredness featuring insomnia at night (sweet!).  Sometimes I laugh at it when I notice the all too familiar symptoms in myself, and then I give myself a lot of grace. I started taking medicine for it at 16 and almost ten years later it can still be a puzzle, but each time I reach another goal or even take a step it’s a mini miracle worth celebrating that much more! 

Now I can usually tell when it’s about to rear its ugly head again, and it usually isn’t even caused by a sad event or circumstance. It’s literally my brain. So when I get a burst of motivation and energy I know it’s go time, and I pack in as much productivity and life as I can before the next heavy wave crashes into me. When it does you have to have a battle plan or else depression will devour you. So after ten years with this dark challenging friend of mine, here are my strategies. I hope they help you if you are also living with depression. 

  1. Keep a journal. Don’t roll your eyes. Do it. On a bad day I pick up my old journals and flip to what I wrote on that day one year ago, 6 months ago, 1 month ago, ect. You’d be amazed at what reading your own story does. My mindset shifts into “things are constantly moving forward!” and “who knows a year from now how things will look?”

  2. My tribe. First of all, I don’t have a problem telling people about it. In fact, I have to. I have my core people that I do life with that know when I’m going through a rough spell of depression. That way they know why I may seem distant or off, and because we need each other! We all have our things, this just happens to be mine, and I’m going to be with them through their stuff. They even know details about my medication and dosage. There is no shame in this stuff guys. Just be real!

  3. Do something for you. What was your favorite hobby in high school that you didn't end up making a career out of? Something you loved and were good at. For me that was dance! So I started taking dance classes once a week, and it has been a game changer. 

  4. Sometimes I genuinely can’t get out of bed on the tougher days. It sounds crazy but I could sleep in until 11 and by 3 really feel like I’m going to die without a nap. I’ll admit it I give in to it about 50% of the time, but I set an alarm for 30 minutes if I know there are things that I really need to be  doing. 

  5. Do Three Little Things to push you forward toward your goals. This is not new information, but on the days or weeks when the symptoms are overwhelming, set little goals. I’m talking tiny. This is me: answer your most important email. Work on a song for 15-30 minutes. Listen to a podcast on music business. Three little things. 

  6. If you’re going to use social media on your bad days then at least use it to your advantage. That does not mean post something and wait for likes. It means I scroll back through my feed and see pictures of milestones and people that I love. Instant wave of gratitude.

  7. Sometimes I just have to get out of my house. If I’ve been working at home a lot I put on my favorite playlist and cruise around in my car. Such a waste of gas, but then again is it if it helps my brain? you decide.

  8. Jesus. I’m just going to leave His name there. Do with it what you will. All I’m saying is He gets me. sometimes all that means is simply asking Him to “Help me”. 

So those are some of my weapons on my darker days with depression. I hope you have some that work for you as well, if you relate. Key word here “relate” DO NOT COMPARE yourself to anyone even if they do have depression! You can do this. We both can/are doing this. It doesn’t mean you are a sad person. That label is just another lie and don't you believe it.  Like I said before, each time I reach another goal or even take a step it’s a mini miracle worth celebrating that much more!