I remember that time as if it was yesterday. Emptiness. Loneliness. Sadness. Even my partner, who comes back home every day late in the evening, couldn’t console me. I stopped eating, taking care of myself, going shopping like I used to every other week (after all, when you work at home, you don’t need beautiful dresses, skirts and cute, expensive T-shirts…). I would get up at 9 o’clock, eat a piece of bread with whatever I found in the fridge, strive to work in front of my laptop until evening, forget about dinner time, and without taking a shower, go to bed. The next day looked exactly the same. After a month, my boyfriend told me that it had to change because he couldn’t stand me being so “ghost-like.” He tried to help me in many ways, but nothing worked. At least, not for long. Then a miracle happened…
“A day without sunshine is, you know, night” – Steve Martin
Do you also work remotely?
My name’s Emily and my story begins when I decided to work as a freelance writer. I thought it would be exactly as they say:
Sleeping as long as you like,
Working in your pyjamas,
More time, because you don’t have to commute any longer,
Everything sounds great, and I agree. I sleep longer now. I can dress down. I spare money on gas and I work in a place I know, so I’m rather calm and relaxed. However, as far as my productivity is concerned, I had to eliminate a number of distractions to get things done. So far, so good, you might say.
There is one huge trap you might fall into when you work from home.
When depression strikes…
You see, when you work remotely, like me, after a few days you find yourself feeling lonely. There is no one at home. Just you and your laptop. If not for the rain behind the window, there would be a total silence. And silence and the lack of another person around you can lead to depression.
I remember that time as if it was yesterday.
Emptiness. Loneliness. Sadness.
Even my partner, who comes back home every day late in the evening, couldn’t console me. I stopped eating, taking care of myself, going shopping like I used to every other week (after all, when you work at home, you don’t need beautiful dresses, skirts and cute, expensive T-shirts…).
I would get up at 9 o’clock, eat a piece of bread with whatever I found in the fridge, strive to work in front of my laptop until evening, forget about dinner time, and without taking a shower, go to bed. The next day looked exactly the same.
After a month, my boyfriend told me that it had to change because he couldn’t stand me being so “ghost-like.” He tried to help me in many ways, but nothing worked. At least, not for long.
Then a miracle happened.
Should I Become A Kindergarten Teacher?
Sarah, my friend from college who got a job in a kindergarten, wrote to me. She told me about the difficulties of teaching preschoolers and how she wanted to give up a dozen times. But, when we later talked on Skype, she was beaming with happiness. Smiling. Laughing. Telling me about the fancy words her group of kids came up with.
I could hardly believe she found that job tough and depressing. When I asked her about it, she answered me that it’s all about laughter.
Kids can be terrible, kids can be tough, kids can irritate you every day. But, the key to teaching them, making them listen to you and behave can be achieved only through making them laugh. And when they laugh, you laugh. When they’re happy, you’re happy, she said.
Then, in order to give me a better idea about how her everyday life looks like, she sent me this video. First time in a month, I laughed.
“So, do you want to tell me that I should become a kindergarten teacher to escape depression?” I asked her.
“No, of course not. Just laugh more!” she said. “Trust me, endorphins can do miracles.”
Asking For Help
Sarah’s words didn’t allow me to sleep at night the next few days.
I thought, okay, laugh more. But, how can I laugh more if I don’t feel like laughing at all? This is what it means to be depressed. You have sad thoughts, see everything in dark colors, and life seems to have no meaning anymore. You’re lonely, trapped and lose faith that it’ll be better one day.
I couldn’t recover by myself. I also thought there was no one who could help me.
But, did I admit I needed help? No, I did not.
I was lonely with my problem because I wanted to be lonely. I stopped checking my Facebook, stopped going out and doing sports, stopped seeing my friends. Perhaps that depression was not the outcome of working at home but the outcome of me distancing myself from everyone around?
That day I decided to change it and first time since my depression started, I asked for help.
I wrote a message to all my friends asking them to help me fight off depression.
Surprisingly, nearly everyone answered me. Most replies consisted of advice to do sports, find a hobby or consider working outside of my home. Some people invited me for a coffee or to a cinema as well. Others, especially guys, wrote me to chill out and watch “The Big Bang Theory.” I also found a few messages with links to a number of videos on youtube with a line, “watch it and you’ll forget about depression.”
I watched a few episodes of the above series. I also checked the videos. And, you know what? When my boyfriend came back home one day, he couldn’t believe his eyes.
It was bright in the room, it was loud and I was sitting on our bed, watching the 5th episode of The Big Bang Theory and laughing my head off. A tea on the table, a bowl of noodles in my hand and a smile on my face.
I think that scene made his day.
Laughing My Way Out Of Depression
I can say it now: I successfully fought off my depression with laughter.
It is possible. It is real. It works.
The key is to make sure you laugh at least once a day. I know it’s easy to say, more difficult to do for those who are depressed. But, if you try, you’ll recover. Just like me.
During the few weeks when I was trying to laugh my way out of depression I came up with 3 great strategies on how to bring more laughter into my life.
An episode a day keeps the depression away!
Every day, in the evening, when my boyfriend comes back home, we’re watching at least one episode of any comedy series we can find. We laugh together. We tell jokes. We hug and cuddle more. In fact, we found out that by spending our evenings this way we became closer to each other. The bond between us is now stronger than ever before.
Also, we both enjoy our lives more and are happier.
Check it yourself. Watch this video and tell me, do you feel that? That’s the surge of endorphins. And, that’s exactly what is going to help you fight off your depression. Not sports. Not your friends. Not a new hobby. Laughter.
A funny wallpaper on your screen for a good morning.
As a freelance writer, I work at home on my laptop, which means, I spend more than 8 hours in front of a screen. That’s most of my day. So, in order to make that time more pleasant, I decided to download a new funny wallpaper every week. This way, when I wake up and turn on my laptop, I look at the screen and smile.
Ask yourself, is there a better way to start your day, but with a smile?
This is my current wallpaper. If you like this strategy, check other wallpapers on that site, download them and smile with me every morning.
Keep funny quotes on the door of your fridge.
Where do we go most often when we’re at home? To the fridge, of course! Thus, I decided to buy some fridge magnets, write down jokes and quotes that make me laugh and I put them on the door of my fridge.
They make me laugh whenever I go to the kitchen to eat or drink something. They also make my family laugh whenever they come with a visit. Everyone’s smiling more now.
Here are 3 of the quotes you can find on my fridge today:
“I’m not weird. I’m limited edition”
“We’ve had vicious kings and we’ve had idiot kings, but I don’t know if we’ve ever been cursed with a vicious idiot boy king!” Tyrion Lannister.
“Professor Trelawney: Would anyone like me to help interpret the shadowy realms within their orb?
Ron (whispering to Harry): I don’t need help. It’s obvious what this means. There’s going to be loads of fog tonight.” Rowling, Harry Potter Series
The Present Day
Now, since I won the battle with depression, I help others be triumphant too. I write a lot, stick to my 3 strategies of laughing more every day and I successfully keep depression at bay.
I’m no longer scared of working at home as well. I got a rhythm. I also, often, spend some time searching for other ways in which you can beat depression, like the chemical way, and write about them in my posts.
I believe that we need to talk more about this disease. Yes, it is a disease. One that eats you from within. A bug that devours you bite after bite.
Once we find it, see it real, we can destroy it.
One cure is laughter.
Get your dose of laughter every day and you’ll see, depression will disappear.
It helped me, so it can help you too.
“A good laugh heals a lot of hurts” – Madeleine L’Engle