Goodbye Queen Smurf

I made the biggest adult purchase of my life so far. I bought a new (used) car Saturday after driving my 2010 Nissan Sentra “Queen Smurf” for the last seven years. I loved that car but it was time to “Kon Mari” it and say goodbye.

Queen Smurf was with me through the last half of high school, all of college and the first couple of years after. Queen Smurf rarely had maintenance issues (or at least none that I could hear if I turned the music up loud enough).

It got me from Missouri to Florida. It survived a rear-end accident when a woman behind me wasn’t paying attention. It bravely stood by through all the bumps and scrapes, especially the time I misgauged the garage opening and broke my mirror. You could barely tell the replacement mirror had a black encasing instead of a dark blue.

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My friend, Max, scraping snow and ice off Queen Smurf.

It was there to take me on late night drives when I was depressed and couldn’t sleep. It heard more of my crying than any living being, and it suffered through my incredibly bad singing.

When I first got Queen Smurf, I decided I would drive it into the ground before I purchased a new vehicle. I came close to doing just that. I was young and not educated on the value of a trade-in, though I still managed to get a solid trade-in value. I thank Queen Smurf for being the best first car I could have asked for, but it’s time to move on.

I traded up for a 2016 Fiat 500X. I’m still learning about its gadgets and how to use a rearview camera. It doesn’t rattle or make weird noises like Queen Smurf. All of its hubcaps are still attached, and it has Bluetooth.

I look forward to seeing where my new car takes me (literally). I do not, however, look forward to the car payments.

 

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Tired Friday and Are the Pretzels Worth It?

I woke up at 5 a.m. today. I wish I could say it was because I’m that person who wakes up early to do things morning people do. Instead, I woke up in a dazed panic because my phone (read: alarm clock) wasn’t on my bedside table.

I starfished on my bed in hopes of hitting it with one of my extremities. Eventually, I had to turn on my lamp to find it underneath my dog, who looked at me with red, tired eyes and on the verge of growling for waking her up.

Ever since I was a child, I’ve had some interesting sleep issues. I used to sleepwalk. I even drew a bath and got in fully asleep in the second grade. When I’m not walking, I’m talking in my sleep. Hell, I once called someone on Snapchat, and I didn’t even know you could call people on Snapchat.

So when I couldn’t find my phone, there was no, “oh, I’m sure it’s close, and I’ll still hear my alarm.” It’s more like, “I hope it’s not in my betta fish’s tank.”

My frantic search woke me up enough that I knew I wasn’t going to fall back asleep right away. I got up, drank a smoothie and browsed social media.

By 6, I grabbed my pillow and went to lie on the couch to watch “Friends.” I managed to squeeze out another hour of sleep before my dog barked in my face, demanding to go outside.

It’s now almost 4 p.m., and all I can think about is curling back up on my couch. My apartment complex is celebrating National Pretzel Day with free pretzels in the clubhouse tonight, and I haven’t decided if a pretzel is worth being social.

It always takes more effort for me to go to gatherings like these. I hate the unknown. And it’s literally a room full of people I don’t know. I also like to know the “schedule” of things and how things are supposed to go beforehand. Will they be warm, soft pretzels? TBH, if they aren’t, that’s a bust and definitely not worth my time. How long do you have to socialize before you can leave? Will there be drinks? Pretzels without drinks sound like a nightmare. Should I bring a drink just in case?

Socializing is exhausting. I just want the damn pretzel.

In addition to longer blog posts, I’m now writing daily, shorter posts about life happenings and whatnot. A post a day is my goal, but, really, how much is there to blog about on days I only binge Netflix and fall asleep at 2 p.m.?

Why I Still Go to Therapy When I Feel Well

(My fitting coffee mug this morning before therapy.)

In addition to longer blog posts, I’m now writing daily, shorter posts about life happenings and whatnot. A post a day is my goal, but, really, how much is there to blog about on days I only binge Netflix and fall asleep at 2 p.m.?


Therapy isn’t only for people who are in crisis or at their lowest point. I sought therapy three years ago during a severe depressive episode, but I’ve learned there’s a benefit to sticking with it, even when everything seems OK.

I haven’t been in therapy consistently since I started going. I’ve changed therapists, I’ve moved, and I’ve taken breaks when I’ve felt “stable.”

I started attending therapy again in September 2018 when I realized I needed help getting through my latest depressive episode. I saw her until December when she had to unexpectedly move. Now, I see someone else in the same office, but I no longer consider myself in a depressive episode.

Instead of once a week, I go every other week on Thursdays. Sometimes it feels like I have nothing to talk about because I’m still learning how to use my time effectively in therapy.

Honestly, I’m not used to going when I feel well because I’ve been more depressed over the last three years than anything else. But I’m slowly learning that therapy when I’m well is just as important as therapy when I’m not.

When I’m depressed, there are things I can’t address in therapy because they’re either too hard to talk about or there is a more pressing matter in the moment.

Therapy while I feel well gives me the space to address issues like how bipolar disorder has affected my life over the last three years. “Well Therapy” gives me a chance to more objectively analyze my thoughts and behaviors that bubble up during depressive episodes.

Therapy right now essentially helps me gain the tools and perspective I need in order to survive the next depressive episode or stressful event.

This doesn’t mean I’ll have to stay in therapy for the rest of my life. Depending on how long I feel like myself or “stable,” I might stop before my next episode. I might need to start therapy again after taking a break from it. On the other hand, my next depressive or hypomanic episode could be around the corner, and I’ll need to continue going. I don’t know.

There isn’t a time limit on healing and bettering yourself. Therapy is for whatever you feel you need it for. You don’t have to hit rock bottom to go to therapy, and you don’t have to stop going the moment you feel better.

What Made Me Stick Around After My Suicide Attempt

My therapist in college told me most people who attempt suicide say they regretted it soon after. Most people realize the gravity of the situation and lose their “tunnel vision,” which makes them think suicide is the only answer.

Many of us have heard the inspirational stories of suicide attempt survivors who realized the preciousness of life after their attempt. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it wasn’t my experience.

I didn’t have an all-knowing, eye-opening revelation about life and its value after my suicide attempt. For me, the aftermath was much less divine.

I didn’t immediately find wisdom that you supposedly only discover at the brink of death. I’m not even sure what that “wisdom” would be.

No, my revelation was much smaller. I was lying in the hospital bed on the medical floor silently scrolling through Facebook while the nurse tech (AKA my suicide-risk babysitter) sat a few feet away on a computer.

I came across a photo of a pug on my feed. That’s when the gravity of the situation hit me.

Holy shit.

I would have never seen another dog again. I cried and quietly moved into the bathroom next to my bed where I could have a couple of minutes to myself, without my babysitter.

That was my “come to Jesus” moment. A dog picture on Facebook.

But I’m glad it was something rather minuscule in the grand scheme of life because what is life if not for the small things that bring us joy and comfort?

But I guess that’s the wisdom I received from that experience. Dogs are worth sticking around for.


18 Lessons About Bipolar I’ve Learned So Far

World Bipolar Day is March 30. I was diagnosed with bipolar 2 disorder in March 2017 at the age of 21. It’s only been two years since my diagnosis, but my symptoms began in childhood and became overwhelming in college.

Bipolar 2 means I experience depression and hypomania. Hypomania — or “under” mania — means I don’t experience full-blown mania.

Hypomania for me includes insomnia for a few days, racing thoughts, jumping from one project to the next or spending hours fixated on one thing. I don’t sit still and everything irritates me, especially sound.

My impulse control diminishes. I’ll shop. A lot. As in maxed out two credits cards in a short time. Hypomania can be both a blessing and a curse. Sometimes I get a lot done. I feel incredibly alive, which can be a relief when you spend a lot of time depressed. But it can also cause a lot of damage — on my wallet and in my life.

Most of my mood episodes are depression-related, though. It can be the lowest of the lows. Other times, it’s just lurking in the background of my mind, reminding me what it can do.

In honor of World Bipolar Day, which aims to raise awareness about the disorder, I’ve decided to share lessons, realizations and other tidbits I’ve gained along the way.

Disclaimer: No two people are the same. My experiences with bipolar will not be the same as another’s. These are my experiences and takeaways.

1. I feel emotions more intensely.

People with bipolar disorder feel emotions more intensely. Our lows feel lower and our highs feel higher. I can be overwhelmed with emotion.

Experiencing intense emotions has its upsides and downsides. While the negatives are unspeakably bad, I feel love, excitement, and happiness in their purest forms.

I know what it’s like to feel emotions that are almost tangible. On the flip side, I’ve learned how to mask my emotions (namely the negative ones). My emotional wall is made of concrete, steel, and poisonous thorns that is a bitch to break down.

2. Not every upbeat mood is (hypo)mania; not every bad mood is depression.

Everyone has a spectrum of emotions. No one feels content or happy all the time. I will have bad days but not every bad day is because of bipolar. Sometimes it means I need more sleep, or I’m a bit stressed with work.

Hypomania is a bit trickier to identify. Frankly, I don’t even worry about identifying hypomania unless it’s clearly going to be a problem. Who doesn’t want a few days of amazing productivity and euphoria?

Sometimes I’m just excited or motivated. I think happiness and motivation feel more intense for me because I spend so much time depressed and without either. This doesn’t necessarily make it hypomania.

3. My moods may be unreliable, but I’m not.

As a person, I make lists and fill out planners. I deliver on my work and am always trying to improve. I care immensely for my writing and work. I’d never let something intentionally slip.

As a person with bipolar disorder, I sometimes don’t care to get out of bed, let alone do something. I can’t rely on my memory because my brain is mush, and I can’t keep track of time.

When I’m hypomanic, I might get a lot done and then people expect that level of work from me all the time, which is an impossible level to keep myself at. Hypomania might also cause me to hyper-fixate on a research paper I’m reading. Hours will go by and it’ll feel like five minutes. There’s also the other side when I can’t focus on one thing, but everything is exciting and I spew multiple ideas that I can’t possibly follow through with all at once.



4. I don’t have to believe every thought I have.

It took a while for me to understand that our thoughts are not us. Sounds impossible, right? What we think, believe, say and do are the basis of who we are.

The thing is, the brain is really effing weird. Most of us experience intrusive thoughts — those thoughts that have you thinking, “Why did I just think that? That’s so weird/messed up/etc.”

Thoughts can also be irrational. Do I really believe if I don’t tap four times on the outside of the plane door before I board that we’ll all plummet to our deaths? No. Am I going to skip tapping on the door on my next flight? Also no.

I’m not a horrible person. I’m not worthless. Not everyone hates me or thinks I’m annoying. These are things my depression tell me.

I’m not being monitored (more than any other American). People can’t read my thoughts. These are thoughts my hypomania tell me.

5. Misdiagnosis is incredibly common.

I was first diagnosed with major depression. Misdiagnosis can happen to anyone, but it’s especially common for people with bipolar to first be diagnosed with depression. In my case, the hypomania wasn’t nearly as noticeable as the depression at first. It first seemed like good motivation and random happiness. It wasn’t until the other more troubling symptoms appeared that I was diagnosed.

6. Meds can make things worse.

The first medication I took did not help whatsoever. In fact, it was the worse thing for me. My doctor kept me on this antidepressant for a year, despite me telling her I felt worse and thought I needed to try something else. Her response each time was, “It’ll get better,” and “Give it time.”

I can’t say if the medication led to my suicide attempt, but I believe it was a factor. Antidepressants can ironically increase suicidal thoughts in people, especially young people.

Each time I told my doctor I didn’t feel any better, she’d increase my dosage. Eventually, the increase led to a hypomanic episode and my diagnosis changed from major depression to bipolar 2. I had experienced hypomania before but didn’t have a name for it. It only became extreme when the medication was increased.

7. Meds can make things so much better.

Though my first exposure to psychiatric medications was not a pleasant one, I have finally found a couple of meds that keep my highs a little less high and my lows a little less low.

I’ve gone through an antidepressant, a mood stabilizer, an antipsychotic, and a few meds for sleep and anxiety.

Sure, I’ve had to tweak my doses because of my latest depressive episode and physical side effects, but I currently feel like my medications are truly helping. I’m taking an antidepressant and mood stabilizer now. I also have an as-needed sleep medication.

When I finally got my meds figured out, everything got brighter. Literally. I could see vibrancy in life again. I was happy and content. My thoughts were not dark or suicidal. I felt like myself again after a year and a half.

8. I have to advocate for myself, especially with doctors.

Like mentioned in number 6, I had a doctor who did not listen to me. She made things worse, and I felt completely ignored. I lost more of myself each day while she just scheduled me for monthly appointments.

Through that experience, I’ve learned to take a stand. Doctors are authority figures, but it’s my body. I ask questions. I say no if I don’t agree with a medication change. If I feel like I’m not being heard, I let my doctor know. If I have to, I find a new doctor. They see me for 15 minutes. I live with myself 24/7.

9. Moving between episodes is extremely exhausting.

Depression is exhausting. Coming down from hypomania is exhausting. Honestly, exhaustion and fatigue are kind of my thing.

Brain fog is both hilarious and awful. I mean, when you circle gas pumps for a solid five minutes because you can’t figure out how to get your car to face the right way to pump gas, you have to laugh.

When you forget your phone number or PIN you have to make light of it in front of the cashier. I had to have my friend buy my groceries once because I couldn’t remember my PIN.

Fatigue is a part of depression, but when you shift between having all the energy in the world to no energy at all, there’s a whole other level to exhaustion.

10. Bipolar is more than highs and lows.

Depression and mania are the hallmarks of bipolar disorder, but there are hypomania and mixed episodes, too. Each mood state comes with its symptoms.

One of the symptoms people don’t usually connect to bipolar is paranoia. I’ve had paranoid thoughts, but I wouldn’t say it’s led to delusions. Bipolar disorder can also include psychotic symptoms like delusions and hallucinations. These symptoms are typically associated with bipolar type 1 because they’re more common in full-blown mania than hypomania.

11. Mixed episodes are a special kind of hell.

Mixed episodes are what they sound like: you’re given a mix of depressive symptoms with hypomanic or manic symptoms. It’s like the Vodka Redbull of mental illness. You get both the downer and the upper.

You experience the various symptoms all at once or in very rapid succession. It’s hard to explain what a mixed state feels like. For me, it feels like my skin is crawling. All I want to do is scream. It’s a lot of energy and no energy.

One night I texted my friend multiple times telling her I was coming to visit her in Kansas City. KC was two and a half hours from Columbia, Missouri, where I went to school.

It was already after 8, but I asked if I could visit. She said yes, and I became ecstatic and began packing for the weekend. Two minutes later I laid on my bed, feeling as if someone punched me in the stomach. I was too depressed to move. I texted her that I wasn’t coming after all. Two minutes later I was packing again and asking my roommate if he’d watch my dog. This went on for hours. I couldn’t get comfortable in my mind or body.

12. There’s intense fear about having an episode.

Bipolar is technically a chronic illness. This means that, for the rest of my life, I will fluctuate between depression, euthymia (stable mood), and hypomania. Medications can help. Therapy can help.

The first time I felt sad for a couple of days after spending over a year depressed, I freaked out. I feared those couple of days were the start of another lengthy depression. Turns out it wasn’t, but I will always harbor the fear of an episode.

Once you live through the worst of depression, it’s hard not to fear that again. It’s easy to think you couldn’t handle going through that again.

13. It’s possible to go months without an episode.

Before my last depressive episode, I had seven months without any issues. I felt like my true self again. I made strides in my professional and personal life. It seemed like the worst was behind me, but that’s the thing about bipolar, it comes and goes.

I was “unstable” for about a year and a half, shifting between depression and hypomania. Everything was a battle — getting to class or even getting out of bed, working, eating, breathing. Then one day, my mind became quieter, and I felt like myself again.

14. It’s possible to lessen the intensity of mood swings.

This ain’t easy, believe me. Many things help prevent mood swings for me. I talk to friends. I go to therapy. I journal and track my moods. I workout (kind of) and take my medications. Routines are important because predictability in my life is important when my moods aren’t.

Therapy and tracking my moods can help me notice when an episode may be coming. Then, I can be proactive with self-care and coping skills to lessen the impact.

I could be better at doing these things, but adulting on its own is hard enough without the added responsibility of mental illness.

15. Not every mood swing can be lessened.

While it is possible to smooth out the highs and lows at some points, it isn’t always going to work. Sometimes your brain and its chemicals are going to do what they want, no matter what you do or what meds you take. Maybe it means you have to change a medication or dosage, which I’ve done countless times.

Coping skills may help lessen the intensity, but sometimes coping skills become survival skills. It may take all my energy to keep my head above the water during an episode.

16. I don’t always feel like “myself.”

Depression takes me away from me. At my core, I am curious, determined, and passionate. Depression steals these away from me. I become a shell of who I am, and it’s like I’m living as two different people. I go from living and making strides in my life and career to treading water to survive.

17. People don’t understand bipolar.

It wouldn’t be a mental illness if it didn’t come with a heaping pile of stigma. People think you “snap” and become angry or depressed in a moment’s notice. In reality, most mood episodes last days, weeks or even months.

People try to understand, and it’s important that they do. But unless you’ve felt this, it’s impossible to get it completely.

18. I am not “bipolar.”

I have bipolar disorder. It is a part of me, but it isn’t me. Like anything we experience, bipolar has had its influence on who I am.

There are many negatives about living with bipolar disorder, but there are also lessons I’ve learned by having it. Without it, I probably wouldn’t have become passionate about mental health and advocacy. I’m also more compassionate and understanding because of it.

How I Discovered I Had Binge Eating Disorder, Not a Lack of Self-Control

It’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, so I figured it’s a good time as any to talk about binge eating disorder (BED). About a month and a half ago, I saw my psychiatrist. During our talk, she asked me if I struggled with binge eating.

Then I delved deeper into my relationship with food — something I try not to think too much about.

I don’t overeat because the food tastes good. I don’t eat more than others because I’m bigger. I don’t just overeat once in a while. I don’t see a piece of cake or pass a sandwich shop and “give in” to temptation for the food. It feels more like a need instead of a want. It’s a compulsion.

I feel gross after a binge. I beat myself up about it. I want to treat my body better, but I find myself in the same situation time and time again — binging fast food or all the snacks in the pantry.

So, how are BED and lack of self-control different when it sounds like BED is about a lack of control? Feeling a lack of control when binging is a symptom, after all.

When we (society) think of someone lacking control, we think of someone who gives in to their every need. We may see them as “weak.”

I’ve internalized this concept. Yes, self-control is a good thing, but before I knew about BED, I always blamed it on having no control. I felt like I should have done something different. It seemed like my fault I found myself in this situation over and over again, even when I tried hard not to binge.

My issue isn’t a lack of self-control. Believe me, I’ve told myself that all I needed was more self-control. I’d resolve to have more control and… I’d binge.

I can’t recover from BED if I don’t address the emotional issues that lead me to binge. I can’t address binge eating from the perspective of control. I have to address it from the root: a need for better emotion regulation. I’ve always been an emotional eater.

Angry? Eat. Stressed? Eat. Sad? Eat. Happy? Eat. It’s hard to hear your thoughts or feel emotions when you’re intensely engaged in something physical like eating.

I’ll eat when I’m not hungry, and I’ll continue eating even when it feels hard to breathe because of my overly full stomach.

If I start thinking of eating something when I’m trying to sleep, there’s no ignoring that thought. It’s loud and intrusive. I have to eat. Food is almost always on my mind.

On the other hand, I’ll go all day without eating, or I’ll skip meals. Then I’ll binge at night or the next day. I don’t have a routine for eating or nourishing my body.



In high school, I spent three months gaining “control” over my eating and body. In reality, I restricted, counted every calorie and worked out multiple times a day. I felt faint but dropped weight quickly.

I became obsessed. I constantly thought about food and the number on the scale. I stared at myself in the mirror asking myself questions. Is my collarboneshowing more? Can I feel my hipbones? Is there less fat on my stomach to pinch?

It wasn’t until years later I understood my disordered eating and the slippery slope I was heading down. It may seem ironic that someone who once obsessed about weight and calories could be struggling with binge eating disorder, but it’s two sides of the same coin.

My relationship with food is closely related to my relationship with my emotions. During those three months in high school, I had just come out of a depression but there were still many stressful things in my life. I found comfort in focusing all my energy on what I ate and restricting. I liked going to bed hungry.

Before then, I had struggled with overeating and binging. I’m not sure what caused the switch during that time or what made it switch back. What’s clear is my relationship with food was and is not healthy no matter which extreme I find myself in— restricting or binging.

In some ways, binging, restricting and/or purging can seem like a way we have control, though this is a dangerous facade created by eating disorders. I’m “controlling” my emotions and stress by eating a lot to deal with it. Or I’m “controlling” what goes into my body when everything else around me feels chaotic.

Whatever someone’s experience is with an eating disorder, you shouldn’t decide they have an issue with self-control or need more willpower. There’s way more to it than that.

5 Hard Lessons Therapy Taught Me

I spent the first two and a half years of college working up the courage to start therapy. At the beginning of my second semester as a junior, I finally bit the bullet and made an appointment with my university’s counseling center.

Fast forward three years later to now, I’ve gone through my fair share of therapists and only recently found one who I felt was truly helping. I have bipolar disorder type 2 and generalized anxiety with a few other things thrown into the mix. My main and most debilitating issue is depression, but this isn’t a post about my issues. Rather, it’s a post about what I’ve learned throughout these last few years sitting on couches, trying to make it one day at a time.

1. Drop that emotional wall you’ve spent years building.

OK, I haven’t quite figured this one out, but that’s why it’s a hard lesson. I learned at a young age to “swallow” my emotions and put on a neutral face. When something traumatic or negative happens, my first instinct is to go numb and survive it. I take on the role of being the brick wall who’s “unaffected” so others can be emotional. This lifelong practice has made it nearly impossible for me to express sadness or any negative emotions to others.

While I’m in therapy, I have to let that wall down, and I’d like to be able to let it down outside of therapy, too. The problem is I don’t know how. I’ve spent so much time guarding myself that I now have to learn how to express emotions. I spent a solid month in therapy just building up to talking about a particularly trying and traumatic time in my life. When my therapist and I finally began talking about it, I had no reaction to talking about it because I became an expert in compartmentalizing and removing myself from my emotions.

Compartmentalizing became my coping mechanism, but the problem is I can’t do it forever. Eventually, all that emotion I’ve buried has to come to the surface. I haven’t fully gotten there, but I’ve slowly taken down bricks in my emotional wall. I feel a little less claustrophobic as the wall comes down.

2. It’s OK to cry in session (and in places other than the shower).

This really goes along with the first lesson. I am 100 percent a shower crier. It’s only there that I feel like I can release my emotions by crying. Like I’ve said, I’ve been in therapy off-and-on for the last three years. You want to know how many times I’ve cried in session? Zero.

There’s been the occasional watery eye, but I’ve been good at keeping the real crying to the shower. I want to be able to cry in therapy. I know it’ll help me feel better, but I’ll refer you to lesson 1 about why that’s hard for me.

My therapist has told me it’s OK to cry before, and I wholeheartedly believe her. One day it’ll happen, and I’ll actually be happy that it happened. I just hope it’s not like the “don’t break the seal” rule when you’ve drunk too much.



3. You’ll only get what you put into therapy.

Talking about your week or ranting to a therapist can be helpful but in my experience, that’s not enough to see real change or feel better long term.

I prefer therapy that comes with homework. One of the things I do is fill out weekly mood charts I’ve customized to my experiences and coping skills. This helps me remember how I felt the week since my last appointment and can help identify triggers or an oncoming depressive or hypomanic episode.

There’s also less concrete homework such as challenging your thoughts. I struggle with self-doubt and negative self-talk. If I come into therapy each week and explain the same thoughts but don’t question them or challenge them, I’m not going to quiet those thoughts.

Therapy is not a passive activity, and you’re most likely paying for it. Get your money’s worth by being active in your progress.

4. You’ll learn new things about yourself, and you’re not going to like all of it.

I’m a writer. I like writing. The first time a therapist pointed out that I have a restricted emotional vocabulary, I was mad. As time went on, I realized she was right. I struggle to name my emotions past the superficial sad, happy, angry, etc.

Once I realized this, I slowly began building out my vocabulary. It’s still not where I’d like it to be, but I’ve noticed that specifying an emotion helps lessen the power it has over me. Labeling my emotions more aptly gives me the power instead of them having power over me.

Our first instinct when we learn something about ourselves we don’t like is to deny it. You’ll learn more if you consider it.

5. You have to accept and process how you feel before you try to change it.

Being patient is not my strong suit, especially if I feel miserable. There is nothing about depression that would make me want to say, “hm, I need to sit with this.” My initial reaction is to fight like hell to make it go away. Unfortunately, that usually doesn’t include assessing why I’m feeling depressed (if there is a reason). I can’t just run over the depression by keeping busy 24/7 or burning up all my coping skills (healthy and non-healthy). I need to recognize how I’m feeling and work through it.

It’s a bit like telling someone who is drowning to take a moment and reflect on drowning. It seems counterintuitive, but I’ll run myself into the ground trying to get out of the depression if I don’t first accept that I’m depressed.