“So how do I do normal? The smile I fake, the permanent wave?”
Above are lyrics from a song called “Hear Me Out” by Frou Frou. That line has stuck with me over the past few weeks. I have been feeling better and more mentally healthy. However, managing “normal” sadness has been somewhat of a struggle.
Sadness is normal. No one feels happy every minute of every day – and if such a person exists I am dying for their secret! I can’t help but feel a little paranoid when I do get sad nowadays. I catch myself thinking, “What if this brings me back to depression again?” I don’t want to go back to feeling like that. The wave of relief I feel the next day when the sadness hasn’t lingered is hard to describe. Truthfully I’m terrified to become so depressed again.
So, how do I do normal then? I suppose the same way I managed my depression. Talking to friends or family about why I’m not feeling that great. Taking care of myself physically by going for a leisurely walk. Making sure that I express my sadness appropriately. It’s okay to cry and maybe spend a bit too much time on the couch. I just have to make sure I do leave the couch and not stay there for days.
I’m trying to accept the reality that maybe in my lifetime I will experience a depressive episode again. This is round two for me, and as far as I’m aware I’ll be walking this earth for quite a while. It could very well happen. Another HMC blogger, John D, posted about his own “Crisis Plan” and walks you through his own steps. This is a really good plan to have in place for yourself ahead of time. It’s a helpful real life example.
If you’re looking for a more detailed explanation to make a plan of your own, check out this Youtube video. It talks you through making a WRAP plan. The video itself is very thorough and you can pause it at any time if you want to make one while watching it. WRAP stands for Wellness Recovery Action Plan. Anyone can make one, whether you’re experiencing a mental health problem or not. WRAP is described as “a self-designed prevention and wellness process that anyone can use to get well, stay well and make their life the way they want it to be”. For more information on WRAP, click here.
This is something I can do, and will be doing to help myself feel prepared. I can share it with people I really trust so that they can help me too. That way, if depression does decide to rear its ugly head maybe I can manage it better and not let it overwhelm me.
To answer Frou Frou’s question, I think doing “normal” is accepting the ups and downs of life and learning to manage them. Learning to ride the waves as they come. I don’t have to fake anything. I can show myself as happy and sad and all the emotions in between.
About Cassie S
25 year old psychiatric nursing student. I live with depression off and on and have since I was 12. Learning to ride the waves as they come. I'm an introvert who enjoys reading, art, and spending time with friends and family. I also really enjoy being active: running, biking, hot yoga, dodge ball and slo-pitch are a few favourites.