Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
How do I know if I am in a depression? I have been tired for so long, a
prolonged feeling of real depletion. I have seen every kind of doctor
imaginable, from alternative care providers to neurologists. Mostly, I
feel stuck. I get up, go to work, come home, watch TV, and go to bed.
My life is punctuated by the occasional movie or beer with friends, but
nothing seems to excite me. It’s not physical; I’ve seen my doctor and
had all the requisite blood work and tests. I’ve been in counseling
before and know the signs of depression. This isn’t deeply emotional at
that level. It’s just that my life feels too familiar. How can I find some
spice, even a distracting love affair?
Falling in love rarely happens when people are as low as you describe
yourself. Or, if it does, it could easily be a wrong choice that might
distract you in the short run and complicate your life for a long, long
time. Better to pick yourself up and get some zip going on your own,
and then present in the world as a fuller human being.
Take some time to think about when you last felt excited, when you
weren’t tired and lackluster. Think about what you were doing, what
hobbies interested you, who you were hanging with, what was
different about your life. Shake things up. Make a commitment to try
new things, whether that’s taking an art class or getting a friend to go
dancing with you. Focus on getting out of the house more and
worrying less. Reach out to friends you trust and ask them to include
you when they do fun things. Look at your job and see if there’s a
project you can volunteer for that would challenge you. Find an
organization whose values you care about and volunteer some time.
Don’t, by the way, discount another round of counseling. But don’t
limit yourself to it. You need more than talk; you need more play.