How to Handle People When You Cannot Handle People
April 21, 2014 3:14 PM Subscribe
Seeking coping strategies for dealing with the public on small and large scales during a major depressive episode. My old ways of dealing with a deep low like this are not compatible with the life I've built since the last time this happened, and I would like to keep that life together.
posted by EatTheWeak to Human Relations (14 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Here's the basic situation: I've been dealing with some pretty severe depression for most of my life. The past few years have been one of my longest stretches without a major episode and in that time, I've been making my living in a way that demands pretty intense engagement with the public. I'm an actor, a comedian, a promoter and a reporter - there's barely a dollar I make without engaging with the public in some way.
I got into counseling right away when some personal setbacks set me spiraling the way I used to. I've been here before, the condition runs in my family and I know what it feels like when depression pulls the point out of anything and everything. I've likened it to an athlete who knows he has a knee injury in the past - he knows what it feels like when his trick knee needs some rehab; I know what it feels like when my trick brain needs some care beyond me just tanking through things.
Regenerating my Social Hit Points is really difficult right now. All I really want to do during a low is disengage from the world completely, hide in my room, watch superhero shows and cry a bunch. Eventually, I remember music exists and then the working out again starts to happen, then I start to remember there's a point to life and that mine's actually pretty fucking rad when I can stay out of my own way. But I'm not there yet and my professional obligations don't really leave me with a lot of time to get there in my own time. Dealing with the public is usually extremely easy for me; that's why so much of my work revolves around it. But lately, it's a huge problem.
I've got an appointment with my counselor near the end of the week and we'll be covering some of this problem but between now and then, I've got rehearsals to go to, kids' shows to do, other shows to put up posters for (that is, repeatedly going into strangers' spaces and asking for a favor gaaaaaaah) and interviews to conduct. This episode is already screwing with my work: I barely got my last interview done / article filed in time, I spaced rehearsal completely this morning, gave a shitty performance last Monday and a mediocre one Friday, haven't been to open mic in weeks and am way behind on promoting anything. It won't always be this way but thinking about talking to anyone right now makes me want to shut down and vanish.
Dr. Google doesn't really have much to offer me about this. I know my usual way out of an episode but my new life doesn't really work with my old coping strategies and I want this life to still be intact when I begin to recover. I hoping that this might sound familiar to some nodes of the hivemind, that some of you may have figured out good ways to handle the public (like, sometimes a whole lot of the public) when the idea of being seen by anyone or having to process hu-mon language sounds impossible, makes you wish you could teleport back into your sweat pants in the blink of an eye.
My counselor and I are gonna figure out how to handle this long term. I need to handle the rest of this week first though. Any ideas are appreciated.