I coined the term “depression blanket” today in my therapy session, and here’s why I think it explains perfectly how I’ve been feeling since summer began.
I imagine this thick, woven blanket wrapped around me like a cocoon. I imagine its either a cold day, and the blanket feels good, warm, comfortable – or its a really hot day and the AC is on. The blanket still feels perfect.
This blanket is my figurative depression blanket, and I realize I’ve found a home nestled inside it. I hide inside it in order to avoid socializing or activities my mind deems unnecessary. I’ve done this multiple times since the summer began. Somehow I feel like if its past 8:30 pm, its bedtime and going out is unnecessary because its unsafe. The “unnecessary because its unsafe” portion of that sentence could potentially be true, but its definitely more of an anxiety issue I need to work through. I use that reasoning as an excuse for friends when they ask about making plans; I’m always so internally reluctant to go along with them. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. It’s really difficult for me to find a reason to socialize when I feel like almost everything is pointless nowadays.
Now, I have become more aware that I was hiding within my depression blanket instead of behind these excuses of safety and necessity. I would rather stay inside, wallow in my feelings (whatever they were at the moment), and then later feel annoyed when people talked about what happened when I wasn’t there. I knew it was my own fault but I was too comfortable in this negative feedback loop to stop being lost inside it.
It felt good and it felt safe to just stay where I was and not be pushed out of my comfort zone. However, this week I have been pushed out of it, and that very action has made me understand that I do have this invisible blanket around me. I hide behind my depression sometimes, and I’m somewhat glad to finally be aware of it, no matter how much ignorance was bliss while it lasted.
A great way to explain these two parts of me, my cocooned depressed self and my ordinary outside-the-house self, is Paramore’s After Laughter. My cocooned self began when school ended, and coincidentally Paramore’s new album came out that same weekend. The lyrics are undeniably depressing, raw, honest, and emotional, and they’re about the lead singers struggles with her own depression and anxiety. I have not heard something that spoke to me on that level in such a long time (or maybe ever). On the flip side, the musical component – the instruments, beats, melodies – are all so upbeat, danceable. These two should not work well together, but Paramore pulled off the exact duality I feel. While I’m in my depression blanket, I feel those lyrics so intensely. I got lost in those lyrics since May, and I let myself stay cocooned up. I liked being lost in them. But I felt it for so long that I got stuck in a funk, and its taken longer than I ever anticipated to get out of it.
I understand now I need to feel the melodies, the music, the danceable beat of the music more often. By letting myself feel the music over the lyrics does not mean at all that I can just turn off the depression. It’s not like that. It’s more like, I know both selves live on inside me; I just need to figure out how to handle them. Both vibes exist harmoniously in After Laughter, so I need to make a better effort of letting them exist harmoniously in myself.
Photo Credit: Joan Miró, Peinture (Painting), 1926
Title credit: Paramore, “Caught In The Middle”