I have depression. It is hard for me to admit it to myself, and even harder to tell friends and family. I want to pretend like everything is ok, and hope the rest of me will catch up. That’s not how it works though.
Earlier this year, one of my friends told me “podcasts are single-handedly getting me through college.” and while this is a bit of an exaggeration, what she said is true for me too. Podcasts have become an integral part of my daily routine.
One of the most challenging characteristics of depression is the lack of motivation. There are days when it takes monumental effort to convince myself to get out of bed. There are days when I fail to do so. But I try to start a podcast. Hearing other people talk about what they are passionate about, reminding me that there are things worth doing that day, helps me convince myself to face the day. Even after I get up, podcasts help me get through daily chores. It’s much more enjoyable to fold a load of laundry while listening to comedy shows. Podcasts are the only reason my room is clean right now.
Another, less common symptom of my depression is insomnia. On my own, it’s nearly impossible to shut down my racing mind, falling asleep can take hours, and in the middle of the night, I’ll realize, I’m awake again, my mind still cycling through my worries and to do lists. Podcasts have been the saving grace of my sleep habits. I can’t focus very well on a book, plus as soon as I turn the lights out, my anxious thoughts are back. Podcasts let me leave the lights off, but still give me a story to escape to.
Without podcasts, I don’t think I would be a functioning human right now. I am not the only mentally ill person who has found comfort in podcasts. There is a whole genre of mental health podcasts created by and for people with mental illnesses. The community helps fight stigma and encourages people to seek out the help they need. It is a large part of the reason I have been able to seek help for myself.