Carolyn Hax: That hopeless feeling is the depression talking


Dear Carolyn: What do you do when you’re depressed but you feel as if you can’t tell your spouse because she’ll worry, and she’ll be upset because you didn’t tell her sooner, and she’ll be upset because this isn’t my first time in a deep hole like this. I just feel overwhelmed all the time. I can’t tell her. I can’t tell a therapist because all the therapists are booked up, and it doesn’t matter anyway, because then my wife will find out, and she’ll be upset that I didn’t tell her.

Depressed: Please stop believing these reasons not to act. That is the depression talking; it tells us what we can’t, aren’t, won’t. It tells us to assume the worst outcomes. It tells us our people don’t love us or will judge us or get upset with us. It tells us whatever will keep us down.

Think of your depression as an organism that’s protecting itself.

Then think of what helps your depression grow stronger: Keeping secrets. Delaying treatment. Giving up. Adapting to fit the untrue narrative.

Then think of all the things your depression doesn’t want you to do: Seek help. Tell the truth. Get fresh air. Try. Believe in yourself, your people, treatment.

Whatever your depression wouldn’t want, that’s what you need to do.

So make a primary-care appointment, presumably easier to get and better than no care at all. (Other therapy options and crisis lines: Ask your wife for help — first with the therapy hunt, then with making and keeping appointments, as well as with getting or staying active, because all of these are easier for non-depressed people to do.

Even if you’re right about her bad reaction, neither it nor your health is improving from the delays. Take small steps, and take care.

Hi Carolyn: Thanks to a job switch, I now make three to four times more than my closest friends. For years, we have enjoyed attending shows together, choosing the cheapest tickets for financial reasons. Now that I can afford it, I would rather purchase more expensive tickets for a much better view, but that would mean no longer sitting with my friends.

I offered to pay for their upgrades once and they were offended, so I never did it again.

I don’t want to stop seeing shows with them, but I’m tired of sitting in the nosebleed seats where all the performers look like ants. I recently turned down their invitation to “Hamilton” with an excuse about having already seen it, then I bought orchestra tickets for myself and my sister. I know lying was wrong, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell them the truth. What is a better way of handling this?

Show Stopper: Sometimes the best way is to use all the ways.

A few times, you buy nice seats for you and your sister, and you turn down your friends’ invitation because “I’m going with my sister.” Why lie?

A few times, you buy two nice seats and say to your friends: “Hey, I have an extra seat. Anyone free to join me?” And you try to distribute these opportunities fairly. Buying a season-subscription package could normalize this and save you some explaining.

A few times, you go see the ant cabaret without complaint, because the experience isn’t just the show; it’s also the sharing with friends.

If you’re mindful about scattering these occurrences around (and beyond just theater), then they won’t be obvious — plus you’ll see the majority of shows from the best seats, and all of them with people you love. Not a bad deal. Congrats on the new job.

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