Don’t ask me how I am. Just don’t do it. Asking me how I am will only result in one of two things: a dishonest answer or honest tears. I don’t particularly care for either outcome. This is because I’m miserable. I’m hellaciously depressed and have recently undergone a couple of unfortunate situations. i do the best I can to ignore all that — after all, nothing can be done — but when I think about how I am, I get really upset. I know how I am. I’m horrible.

Why I’m Miserable

It doesn’t really matter why I’m miserable, I suppose. You could be miserable for a myriad of reasons. For me, it happens to be the intersection of interpersonal rejection, housing displacement, and depression. Any one of those things could make a person miserable, but having all three is a ticket to assured misery.

How Being Miserable Affects Me

For me, the depression and misery represent the overwhelming arch of my day. I wake up miserable. I experience misery. I go to be miserable. If you’ve ever been seriously depressed, you know how true this is. Some people do experience wavering amounts of depression during the day, but I’m not in that group right now. I’m in the group of people who experience depression and misery, and that is all.

I know that sounds unrelentingly, unwaveringly horrible. And it is. But it’s not meant to depress you, the reader. It’s meant to represent a reality that many people face.

How I Deal with Being Miserable

There are copious amounts of depression coping techniques out there. I’ve written about many of them. But the one I use most often during a miserable day is this: distraction. Distraction is my most useful misery coping skill. When the depression is deep enough and dark enough, distraction is the only thing that remotely helps me to get through the day.

Distraction from Being Miserable

Distraction takes many forms. Most frequently, I distract myself in multiple ways at once. For example, I often have the TV on while writing. The writing itself is distracting, but if my brain wavers from the topic, the TV noise will be what it focuses on. If the TV weren’t on, the writing wouldn’t be enough to keep my attention off the misery.

When I’m not writing, it’s a phone news feed-TV combo. Sometimes, it’s a puzzle-TV combo. Sometimes it’s a cooking-music combo. The point is that one stimulus isn’t enough. My depression and misery are so strong they defeat one stimulus. The distraction must be in multiple domains to work.

And I absolutely never ever can think about how I actually am. I must focus on anything but that. The reality of where my brain and mind are at is soul-destroying.

Can You Distract Yourself from Misery Forever?

I’ve been depressed for so long it feels like forever, but no, distraction from misery isn’t a forever solution. You can’t fix a problem that you can’t look at. You can’t address a problem you can’t articulate. You do need to understand your misery and depression to have any hope of lessening it.

But in my experience, you have to look at the misery and depression very carefully. If you move too quickly or allow yourself to get too sucked into it, you’ll get painfully, maybe badly burned. You have to only look at it a glimpse at a time. You have to barely brush against it. That way, you can get to know it without it devouring you.

How to Defeat Misery

As I said, there are a million depression coping techniques out there. There are also a million psychotherapy suggestions and medication options, too. Any of these things could possibly work to defeat misery. But, in my experience, in an endless, intrinsic, inky-black depression, it’s medication that shirts the narrative. While coping techniques can save your life, it’s actual treatment that can make you want to live.

I’m in a particularly nasty situation as I’m mostly treatment-resistant. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to give up. The desire to give up is real. Misery feels impossible to survive. But I can survive it. I have gone through it before and will again. And if I can, then you can, too.

Image by Flickr user super awesome.


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