It never goes exactly as planned.
You try to anticipate every possibility and even plan for the unexpected. But the process of changing the platform your blog is hosted on takes time.
My website guru has done a fantastic job of getting my website onto a platform that is more robust. If you ever need website work done, contact her, Katie Wilbur
My readership has increased 10-fold in the four months I have been blogging.
I appreciate and want to thank everyone who has stopped by and read my work. And I am excited to see many of the same names again and again, coming back to view my latest blog post. My journey is far from over. After 43 years of concealing my depression, I am now facing it and living with it.
This action of acknowledging that I have this disease, has been very freeing. Instead of hiding from it, I am embracing it. Instead of not wanting to know about it and sweeping it under the rug, I am reading everything I can. I have joined support groups that have given me wonderful insights into how to live with and manage depression.
I grew up being the poster boy for “I’m in charge.”
“Nothing gets to me; I do not have any weaknesses.” I thought my role in the family, with my personal relationships, and certainly in my professional life, was to be “evergreen.” I was the guy you could always count on, the one who never got sick, who was always there, no matter what.
It turns out that is not true for me, or for anyone.
We all have limits and not acknowledging them can have dire consequences. In my case, I was so good at hiding my relationship with depression that it took 43 years before it finally caught me. And you can believe if I had figured a way out this time, and had not hit the proverbial wall, seeing no path forward, you would not be reading this.
I would still be evergreen, denying the fact that I have depression.
And worse than just concealing my depression, I would still be inflicting damage onto myself and those I care about. Depression has this way of sliding me into unhelpful thinking. All or nothing, minimizing and maximizing, and fortune telling are three that depression has found I am good at accepting as truth. And when these are in my head, normal and logical thinking goes out of my head.
I get obsessed with an all or nothing idea.
From there, I begin to push away all competing ideas, including ones that are much more rational and more in keeping with what a person who is not suffering from depression might think. I have a list I am now using of questions to ask about these unhelpful thoughts. Asking these better questions has been a good way for me to see that many of these ideas are depressions way of creating havoc.
And worse, depression wants me to be secretive about the idea.
So in the past, I would get an automatic thought about something, I would find an unhelpful thinking style to support it, and then I would begin to build a case in my mind for that action at the expense of all other actions or even the reality of the actual consequences of the decision.
And instead of running the idea past one of my supporters, I would begin to hide the whole scheme, becoming secretive because depression always reminds me that no one understands and that it is better for everyone if they just don’t know. And this way, there is no confrontation and less stress and anxiety associated with the unhelpful thought.
I can move forward with depression as my guide, and not have to face the reality of the decision.
What really has opened my eyes since I was in the hospital, was how depression not only goes after the big picture ideas, like my early retirement, but it finds way to get involved in small day to day decisions, leading to lots of little drama that should never happen.
This includes small things like obsessing over the recycling cans in the sink after I had worked out a plan for me to unload the dishwasher and someone else to fill it. Depression made me obsess over the cans as I was emptying the big recycling container in the kitchen. There were no reasons to have those cans. For three years, I have never cared that there was a can soaking in the sink when I took out the recycling.
But at that moment, I was fixated on it, it was an all or nothing thing, and my actions showed the other person that I was not able to live up to the agreement. I turned, with depressions my guide, a cooperative, teambuilding experience, into a chasm between me and someone I love. Not very trust building.
Now that is crazy. (and I know that is labeling; another unhelpful thinking style)
Now that I see depression is not satisfied with just the big decisions, I am much more vigilant. As I collect more tools, do more reading, and consider new situations as they arise, I am seeing just how sneaky depression can be.
It weasels its way into seemingly unimportant decisions and changes them into international incidents.
I know I said I would not “should on myself,’ but it would very easy to do that over all the tiny decisions depression and I made together over the past 43 years. I would need many more gigabits of memory to record all the little decisions depression and I made. I have been so aware recently of the big picture issues, that I hadn’t seen how the same process plays out with the small, day to day decisions.
It makes sense that Depression wouldn’t only go after the big decision.
Afterall, getting me trained to think in unhelpful was has always been one of depressions goals. And getting me to repeat tiny, small, unassuming bad decisions day after day is a good way to train me. And then when the big decisions came along, I am already predisposed to think in an unhelpful style, because I have been doing it all along with the small decisions.
“I’m on to you, depression.” So, I keep saying out loud, “I have depression, depression does not have me.”
Tomorrow, I will be able to get into the backend of my new site and post this. Until then, I will accept that people can find my blog, and not stress that I cannot get this out today.