Depression can be sneaky.
It has infested itself in my being and has taken up residence in my body as if it belongs there. I am angry this morning.
And as I think about why I am angry; I am recognizing things that are happening that I must learn to think differently about.
Living with depression is a full-time, 24/7 job.
Keeping it from being in charge is what I am learning to do. The tools, tricks, new ways of thinking and my medication are all working together to bring me to the front and push depression to the back, where it is less effective in controlling my mood, thoughts and actions.
Here are 11 things depression has thrown at me in the first few days of this week.
- “You should be ashamed of yourself.” – I am not perfect, and things do not happen exactly as they should, but I blame myself for things that I see could have been done better. I blame myself for things that have nothing to do with me. I blame myself for not solving all of the world’s problems.
- “You are an imposter” – You don’t deserve to be in the role you are filling, everyone else could do it better.
- “You should be more secretive.” I am talking to my support group, to my therapist, to others I trust. And this is making depression mad.
- “You should stay in bed.” Depression reminds me that if I just stay in bed, then nothing will happen. And it is right, nothing will happen. So, I force myself to get up and face the day.
- “You need me.” Depression wants me to see it as my friend, my advisor, my guru. It has built this relationship with me over 40 years and wants me to remember how important it thinks it is to my health and wellbeing.
- “You can’t trust anyone else.” – Depression has been there for me, but never in a way that helps me. It has its own agenda and pushed that at the expense of my health and well-being.
- “You shouldn’t try to leave me.” – Depression reminds me we have been together for almost my entire life and it wants me to think we belong together. It has this image of us riding off together into the sunset, hand in hand. But it never tells me that at the last minute, it pushes me into the sun, while it walks away from the fire.
- “You can trust me.” Why would depression lie to me? It wants to be my friend, my mentor, my supporter and it goes out of its way to throw unhelpful thinking and automatic thoughts at me to show me what I can do. It is ok with me shoulding on myself and circling the drain, heading to the abyss. Depression thinks I can find comfort in the pain and suffering.
- “You don’t need to fight me” – Every little success I have in recognizing and changing my actions and attitude makes depression uncomfortable. Or worse, it springs into action with a bevy of new ideas all designed to make me feel up against the wall and incapable of controlling my own thoughts or actions without it’s help.
- “You are nothing without me.” – You have no worth unless a title is added. In the context of being a manager, a father, a son, I can think of myself as being valuable in that role. But heaven forbid I try to see myself, just as I am, as having value. Depression hates that.
- “You will never get rid of me.” – Depression thinks this is a great thing. It sees us as a team, fighting together against the whole world that doesn’t understand us. We must stick together and fight off anyone who or anything that tries to separate us.
The list could be longer.
The lengths depression is going to in its attempts to stay relevant in my life are epic. It would be easy to give in. In fact, I have over the years, often without realizing it. Of course, now that I have new tools medication, a therapist, psychiatrist and multiple support people, I can see the reality of my life with depression.
So, I face today once again saying, “I have depression, depression does not have me.”
How are you facing your days?