I’ve known many people who have had depression and continue struggling with it to this day, and I wish anyone fighting that battle the most love and support in the world. That being said: you shouldn’t use your depression as your go-to response to avoid responsibility and accountability.
Laying in bed doesn’t make anything go away
I’ve definitely been there. You feel numb and want to do nothing more than melt into the mattress forever. I think many people have felt that, and it’s a horrible feeling. Depression isn’t easy to deal with at all, and giving in to that feeling makes everything harder.
Problems won’t go away just because you ignore them. Time waits for no man, and the same is true of school, bills, work, and family too. Very few things will wait for you to get your sh*t together. The world will keep on turning, and letting your poor mental health get the better of you often means making things harder for you and those around you too.
We all know that one person who flakes out of everything because they’re having “a bad mental health day.” At first, you support them and worry about them, but eventually, it starts getting old when they’re playing that card 2-3 times a week because they can’t handle being a grown up.
It’s not possible to brute force your way through depression and mental health problems, you will have bad days, and maybe you won’t be able to face everything head-on. Don’t force yourself to either; just make sure you also aren’t making excuses just because. Find a balance.
If you find yourself at a point where you can’t handle doing anything, it’s time to seriously consider getting professional help.
Take care of yourself; just be an adult about it
Really, I can’t stress enough that you should take care of yourself and do what is best for your mental health. We even have another article about building mental health days into your life. It’s important to talk about not using mental health (and especially depression) as a crutch to avoid life’s inconveniences.
When you need it, you should absolutely take a mental health day. Set boundaries for yourself, cut out the toxic people in your life who refuse to change. Don’t forget that you still need to live your life along the way, though. It won’t be all sunshine and rainbows either. You will need to pull up your big kid pants and deal with the tough stuff eventually.
You won’t get anywhere in life by shrugging off your responsibilities and over-using poor coping mechanisms every time you’re at less than 100%. Letting the world pass you by because you don’t want to deal with doing what needs to be done is a great way to get left behind.
I know the last thing anyone wants to do mentally when they’re in a bad place is to be responsible. Life is hard enough when you don’t have the added pressure of trying to balance whacked-out brain chemicals, and whether you feel up to dealing with the world or not, unfortunately, doesn’t matter. In the immortal words of Jeff Goldblum, “life finds a way.” (I know that’s not what he meant, but it’s still apt).
Poor Mental health isn’t an excuse. Period.
We all make bad decisions sometimes. Being an adult is owning up to your mistakes and doing what you can to correct them. Making good decisions can be harder when you struggle with mental health, but you can’t use that as an excuse to knowingly make bad decisions.
When you’re feeling down, it’s easy to do things that make you feel good in the present but are bad for the future – ignoring your homework, no-call or no-showing at work, ordering out for the 5th time this week. Things you know you shouldn’t be doing, but you can’t be bothered with alternatives.
Yes, mental illness literally messes with your brain. I promise you that poor mental health is not why you decided to DoorDash $50 worth of sushi and overdrew your bank account or spend your rent money on those $300 concert tickets. If you felt bad before, you’ll feel worse with debt.
Having problems with your mental health isn’t a “get out of jail free card” you just get to whip out to explain away every bad decision you make. Depression didn’t force you into making bad decisions. Depression didn’t force you into avoiding your responsibilities. Depression isn’t an excuse.
When you screw up, it’s up to you to fix it and handle the consequences. There’s no shame in reaching out if you can’t do it alone.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health alone, please get help. No one should suffer in silence. The SAMHSA helpline (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) is free, confidential, and available 24/7. They offer many services and can also help you find local resources to turn to.
Avoid becoming the kind of person who blames all their problems on poor mental health. No one is perfect, and no one expects you to shrug off serious depression like it’s nothing, but don’t let it take over your life to that point that your defining feature is that you’re depressed.
Do you have any tricks that help you face that day?