It’s important to remember that we can create misery much easier than we can create happiness. I’ve fallen into a negative cycle of creating my own misery. Depression is like a sponge, it sucks in everything around it and swells up so big that you can’t see around it and before you know it, it feels to heavy to move. It drips all over everything, leaving reminders of its presence on just about everything you try to do to get your mind off of it.
It’s time to turn on the lights.
I’ve been depressed on and off for about 15 years. I’ve been medicated on and off for about a decade. I have debilitating anxiety and I make poor decisions. When I’m spinning around in depression and anxiety run rampant, I lament my failures and minimize my successes.
Me: Oh, well…I got a Masters degree, so I’m doing okay
Anxiety: You’re about 6 years behind most people so you’re pretty much a failure.
Me: Well, but…I am doing okay because I’ve worked toward several goals that I’ve accomplished and that’s something to be proud of!
Anxiety: You might have accomplished some things, but you are waaaay behind the curve on others. Plus you aren’t financially where you should be and you probably never will be. Not to mention that you aren’t successful as an artist, or a writer, and you don’t have many friends. Plus, you’re a bad person. And your family hates you.
Me: But I try to be a better person and I work with what I have…I have to be reasonable with my expectations of myself.
Anxiety: You’re a failure. You know it.
Me: I’m going back to bed.
Depression: Welcome home!
My inner dialogue goes a like above about 250x per day if I let it. My brain says that because I haven’t accomplished buying a house, having a baby, managing a successful marriage, being a good friend to everyone, all the time, making six figures, launching a company, writing a book, selling a few dozen original pieces of art, and looking beautiful/getting enough sleep along the way - this means I have failed. Miserably. At thirty years of age. So why not just give up? Throw in the towel and say it’s curtains on this life.
I can easily convince myself this is a good idea. And I forget. I forget about the people who do love me. The people who I love, too. The things I do have and the choices that I have made that aren’t crap. I forget about that. I focus on the things I haven’t yet done and “probably never will.” I have done this for many months now and it derailed this blog, my art, my self esteem…it derailed my daily routine, my nutrition, my ability to take care of myself. It reduced me to anger and tears and kept me in a cage. I am finally seeing through the fog and ready to fight. Again.
My depression and anxiety are overwhelming. I have to take the time to prioritize my mental health in order to maintain my physical well-being. I can’t let the bridges I’ve burned in the past (no malice involved here) prevent me from building the bridges to my future. I can’t cry for so long about lost friends and lovers that I push away the new ones. I can’t look at You, or You, or You and place myself on your timeline. I must forge my own path and make my own way and be okay with my imperfections.
If I can continue to work toward these goals. If I can keep my anxiety at bay and give myself the freedom to be human, to err and to try again…then I can begin to work toward the goals that I continue to have for myself.
There is nothing wrong with where I am in my life right now; the beauty of challenge is breathtaking. I have overcome so much already. I can continue to defy the odds. I will make it.