The 100 Years Club Installment #56: My Pity PartyReading Time: 3 minutes
It’s my pity party and I’ll cry if I want to.
“You have such an exciting life,” I often hear from my friends and random strangers who follow me on social media. But remember that social media life is not real life.
I went into a deep dark funk for several days last month and hid it from most of the world. Although I practice gratitude and, on a rational level, I know I’m pretty lucky, depression (small episodes and crippling stretches) is real.
Close to 60% of people my age believe depression is “normal,” which is actually kind of scary. Suicide rates are way higher in my age group than among younger populations. See below for more stats about depression and aging.
I like to look at patterns and I always try to dissect what’s feeding into my moods and behaviors.
When I went through my “dark cloud” phase (aka the pity party), it was due to:
- Loneliness: I still don’t quite fit into my home state and many of my friends and family are back east. My birthday is approaching and I don’t have plans.
- Complaining and negative people around me. The obvious cure is simply avoiding them. People who suck out my brain and time without ever reciprocating also wear me out.
- FOMO. Social media can be toxic and looking at happy couples and exotic trips are never good for one’s mental health.
- Ageism. It’s real. We’re trying to raise awareness and promote intergenerational collaborations, but the media is still filled with imagery of helpless “old people.” And, unless I want to do water aerobics, I’m not allowed to go to the nearest gym early in the AM. (And, as we know, endorphins are good for mood elevation.)
- Frustrations about getting simple things done. A broken TV, a doctor who screwed up my test schedule, colleagues who don’t hold up their end of workloads, and people who cancel plans at the last minute all irked me. When you’re in self-pity mode, even the little things can set you off.
No amount of gratitude journaling or sunshine works when I’m in that funk.
But I’m not writing this to drag you to my pity party. I’m simply saying that you don’t always know what’s going on behind those IG posts and colorful Facebook pix. You can:
- Monitor your own moods and behaviors and understand your triggers.
- Check in frequently with friends and family (especially when they live alone). When someone is in a negative space, don’t go on and on about how happy you are. Try to just listen, learn, and support. See below.
- Seek out professional help when you’re in an unshakeable funk.
I’m feeling much better now.
I start working out of my new office at Industrious on Monday and I’ve made lots of social plans for the month ahead. I’m reading a new book and I have new knitting and cooking projects lined up. And I’m looking forward to a family Disney adventure in March and a speaking gig at a retreat in May.
And, of course, writing this post was in and of itself liberating and uplifting! The next party I throw will NOT be a pity party!
Facts about funks, depression, and aging:
|4 ways to shake a bad mood
|How to comfort someone when they’re sad
|FOMO: A scientific study
|Ageism and mental health