SnapDragon Speaks: On The Stranger-Friend.

Don’t Wait, 2020. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

Once upon a time, when I had recently graduated from college and found myself alone in a large city, I felt those first unsettling pangs of depression.

Quiet. So quiet. So very very quiet.

At 22, it was the first time in my life I experienced true solitude.

No parents. No siblings. No roommates.

Just me, and The Great Wide Open.

I felt. . . weird. Apprehensive. Was this how adulthood was supposed to feel?

So one evening, as I perused the internet for some comfort, I found a blog.

Sadly, I have absolutely zero memory of the writer’s name, or what site it was, or how I even stumbled upon it.

But as the writer described his own journey with depression, I do remember, very specifically, his strategy for overcoming it. (Or, I should say, helping to ease it.)*

(She clears her throat before attempting to paraphrase something that has come to mean so very much to her.)

He said something like this:

Whenever I feel down, I pause. I pretend to leave my body and view my actions as if I were a spectator in my own life.

And, my Dear Reader, it works.

Because just maybe, in the cruelest of ironies in this dog-eat-dog world**, we assume other people have their shit together.

We assume their days are scheduled with non-stop Somethings.

We hit The Like Button over and over again, and forget that those people with the never-ending Insta-stories of fun are real.

They’re just like us, yo.

They climb into bed each night, perhaps too tired to floss or even change into PJs.

They have kitty litter to scoop, toenails to trim, and moments when they feel like the only person on Earth without plans.

Fear of Missing Out: It’s all too real.

So dear friends, I urge you to hang in there. Watch yourself. Be your own friend.

Because you are interesting, and wonderful, and worthy.

Because things will get better.

And because whether we’re living in a houseful of people or going it alone, we are in this thing together.


. . .

Dear Reader, what helps you when you’re feeling low?

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer, artist, and avid user of Post-It notes.

Follow her Two-Bit Musings and more on Snippets of SnapDragon.

. . .

*Always, always listen to medical professionals first and foremost.

**Namely, America, my home.

39 thoughts on “SnapDragon Speaks: On The Stranger-Friend.

  1. Great piece! Like you (when I’m at my best and that’s not all the time), I attempt to look at myself from afar. I also cut myself a little (or a lot!) of slack. I don’t have to be awesomely happy or even a little happy all the time. I remind myself that we’re all in the same boat (sorry for the cliche). And we are in that same little inflatable and on the high seas. I think it’s easier to be thankful right now because so many people have things so much worse than I do–I am truly lucky because I’ve got a great wife, have a job, am healthy, all the essentials. Thanks for sharing your story!

  2. I love the authenticity and simplicity of this post. And what a great trick, that when we’re feeling low we can choose to imagine ourselves as a spectator. I might use that one ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I absolutely agree with you, it’s important to see that we all suffer and have techniques to come back because it’s impossible to be fine all the time, things will always happen but we will always find resources when we need them

  4. One caveat about looking at your life as a spectator–if you suffer from depression in a way that causes very distorted, negative thinking patterns, you might not be in a good position to evaluate your life that way. In cases like that, I believe assistance from a good therapist who can challenge those negative thought patterns is very important. Barring that, I would hope the person in question would be able to apply fair standards to themselves. It’s very hard. No easy solutions.

  5. Excellent article. I can relate. I often look at myself as if I am a neutral observer/spectator without judgment. It works and provides a bit of stress relief.

  6. Love this, Snap! I am at that very age where I’m experiencing true solitude for the first time in my life, while also in the midst of this pandemic. Working from home, living alone in a new city, my family lives in IL, and my boyfriend lives in Italy….. Yes I know solitude. When i’m feeling blue I try to go on a hike, but sometimes I don’t even feel like doing that, so I write, and I write, and I write. I write pages of word docs to delete them, poetry, anything that inspires me. Then I find that I can enjoy the solitude. ๐Ÿ™‚ <3El

    1. Yes! Writing can work wonders that way, canโ€™t it? And being in nature always seems to help. I canโ€™t imagine how solitude is magnified during this pandemic…. Hang in there, my friend. You got this. ๐Ÿ•Š

  7. I definitely needed to read this today. Yesterday I was just wore out and started to recognize depression in myself when I’d taken an hour nap in the middle of the day three days in a row. Those are definitely signs of mine. And this morning, I decided to get some stuff done and out of the way, keep busy, and make plans to get out of it.

    I don’t have much of a fear of missing out, because I’ve been so used to doing my own thing. I do miss simple stuff like hanging out at a coffee shop and chatting with strangers, things to get me trying to interact with people in person, and the lack of that has been draining on me. But I am definitely a person who seems to look around me and think that everyone else has their shit together except for me. I know that can’t be true all the time, but somehow other folks, even on bad days, seem to make living look effortless.

    It’s hard to get over, but I’ll have to try some of those methods above. First thing will be finishing up some cleaning and get on the elliptical in a bit. I’ve not had the energy to do so in a long time, but dang it, I’m gonna today when my dishes are done. Each little bit fights the demon.

  8. Yes, I think this also can mean that we use our own self talk to encourage ourselves as if we are our own best friend and as we would see the good in others. Lately, I have given myself permission to read light and fluffy novels during the day surrounded by the mess. Instead of telling myself this is a lazy thing to do, I am telling myself that it is an act of selfcare.

  9. Thank you for sharing about your experiences with depression. For me, sometimes I need to take a day or two and be ok doing very little. Watch Critical Role episodes, read a light-hearted book, go for a lot of walks. Another thing that helps me is having a pressure-free hot drink with a friend. No obligation to talk, just time spent, listening the world around us, unless I feel it useful to speak done words.

    1. Well said, Hamish! I love those strategies. Iโ€™ve never heard of โ€œCritical Roleโ€, but Iโ€™ll have to check it out. Thanks for your comment, friend! ๐Ÿ•Š

      1. It’s a group of self proclaimed “Nerdy-ass voice actors playing Dungeons and Dragons”. I got lost in the adventures they took their characters on, in the best way, and is just so much fun. Fair warning, the first campaign has 114 episodes, which equates to about 300 hours of viewing time. I put an episode in while I cook, or do the dishes, or do yoga, or some other activity which doesn’t require deep intensive thought. I hope you enjoy it. It’s like a TV show, but without a script, and I found myself really falling in love with the characters.

      2. Haha. I appreciate the heads-up! I definitely need short episodes these days, what with taking care of baby, and all. But Iโ€™ll keep it in mind! ๐Ÿ•Š

  10. Sometimes I don’t feel as comfortable as I would like, however after years of therapy, now I can uplift myself reading great articles (like yours), listening songs I enjoy the most, or planning my next steps in my life. People are important as well, but I found a way of self relieving. Thanks for sharing your experience and your opinions. Reading your articles is always a pleasure.

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