Some days, you just can’t even. Everything is a nuisance. Other days, you just can’t. Less of the drama, more of the lack of energy and drive and motivation. Can’t even get out of bed. Can’t even take a shower. Can’t even. Have you been there? Or do you know someone who has? People will often trivialize these feelings, “just be happy!” but, it hurts a little deeper than that.
In our world today, chances are – you, or someone you know, has been there – when you just can’t. You may not even know it. You may not recognize the level of their can’t. But they’re there. Trying to make it from one day to the next. In their numbness. In their regrets. In their being.
We often describe this feeling as, I just can’t. More scientifically, when it can last longer lengths of times, we identify this feeling as depression. Sometimes we’re going through difficult life circumstances (a death, a break-up, loss of a job, hating our life circumstances, you name it) Other times, we cannot pinpoint this reason for feeling of empty or heavy or lacking motivation or joy.
Depression can be triggered by difficult life events AND can be brain based. We often hear, “just snap out of it”. If only it were that easy. While depression absolutely holds roots in our genetics, it also has a brain based expression. Harvard researchers are finding that it is not just a “chemical imbalance”, but also has to do with how our brain generates new neurons and how our neurons are firing and communicating.
The research has found that individuals who are prone to depression have slower neurogenesis (the brain creating new neurons), which can lead to smaller areas of the brain, such as the hippocampus. This neurogenesis also affects other areas of the brain, such an overactivated amygdala (which is associated with our anger, sadness, pleasure, sorrow, and fear emotions) and miscommunication from the Thalamus (whose role is to identify sensory input to our cerebral cortex).
All of that to say – depression – it’s science! And, there are ways to help overcome the overwhelming feelings when you just can’t.
For those of you who don’t know someone who just CAN’T: Be kind. Choose kindness. You don’t know who is in the depths of darkness and doing their best. This doesn’t mean you can’t have boundaries, it just means to be kind when you uphold them.
For those who know someone who just can’t: Follow the same instructions as above- be kind and uphold your boundaries with kindness. Ask how you can help. Sit with them in their darkness- it’s not your job to fix them- sometimes they just need someone to be with them. Help them find professional support.
For those who JUST CAN’T: Don’t be mad at yourself -Give yourself permission to just be for a moment. Challenge yourself to get outside, whether it be for a walk or to soak in the sun. Give a friend or family member a phone call. Help out a friend or stranger- volunteer. Celebrate your small victories. Reach out for help- both professionally and to friends. **Set up a consult to talk to a professional -Counseling, Medication, and Neurofeedback are both professional options to help overcome depression.
Keep fighting – you’ve got this. Baby steps are still steps. And we’ll be here with you every step of the way.
*The information contained herein is not therapeutic advice nor a substitute for therapy. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any mental health problem. If you are located within the United States and you need emergency assistance please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. If you are located within Colorado you may also call the Colorado Crisis Line at 844-493-TALK (8255).