I do have a choice about this.
I can continue to feel sorry for myself and blame my lack of happiness on depression, other’s actions, or the pandemic. There are lots of potential opportunities to make myself the victim at the hands of any of these. And depression, why it can have a role in how I feel even when I don’t have a clue it is having a role in how I feel.
So, what in the world can I do about that?
Telling others, I am doing “ok” is ok, but it is not the entire picture. Based on where I was at the bottom of the abyss, I am doing fantastic now. But it is all relative. How I was feeling then is not how I am feeling now. Heck, around the time I was in the hospital, I cannot remember feeling much at all. Saying that I was numb would be very kind. I was an sh%$ show and had lost all touch with the possibility life has to offer.
Yes, I wrote that in the present tense, not past tense.
Now that I have pulled up and out of the abyss, I want to stay above ground. Staying away from or at least recognizing triggers is the first step. Having written out my own personal Wellness Recovery Action Plan is another layer in my protection plan.
Having someone I can call is another layer of help and protection that I have never thought I had.
I can call someone if I need to. This is comforting and makes me feel supported. There have always been those around me who would listen and help, but I never thought to contact them. I know depression really hates it when I share what I am feeling with others. And getting me to keep things a secret from everyone is depression’s goal.
One of my new objectives is to not get caught up in keeping secrets.
Depression can spin things around so that all I can see is depression’s side of things. It can create boundaries that make it hard for me to feel comfortable sharing my thoughts. And to talk about the ideas depression shares with me really pisses off depression.
And I admit, I spent over 40 years doing everything I could to not piss off depression.
In fact, I was so concerned about how I looked to others, that I went to great lengths to hide my depression. First, I didn’t call it depression. For years, I would jokingly speak of 1977 as “the lost year.” Each time depression would set me up, the end was always the same.
When it came time to pay the bill, depression was gone, and I was alone.
But rather than trying to figure out what happened and fix it, I did the opposite. All I could think to do was to bury the incident deep in my inner thoughts. Then I would sweep whatever crumbs were left under the rug and walk away as nothing had happened.
Until 27 months ago, I operated under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” rules of depression.
Now I know that I have a choice and I have options. There are resources that I am taking advantage of which I never thought to explore. Starting with a short hospital stay, I found a medicine that has made a huge difference in my day-to-day life. But even this was not a straight line, and I ended up switching doctors to get a new perspective on what was happening in my life. Switching from Lexapro to Wellbutrin ended 5 months of unrelenting procrastination about getting out of bed.
Even after I arose, a fog would follow me for several hours.
This was a daily occurrence, one that made it difficult to get going. I am so grateful to my new doctor and her ability to look at the big picture and offer alternatives. The last 16 months have been so much more normal because of this switch in medications.
So, I can get up and have a good day.
Then why do I feel like something is missing? Is happiness coming and I just need to be patient? Or is happiness something I must create for myself? Could this be a nature vs. nurture thing? Whatever it is, it is frustrating.
But it is not 24-7.
There are moments that can be classified as happy. So, am I making too much of the time that is just OK, instead of happy? Once again, I am stuck with this swirling around in my head. I imagine the answer is to just do something. Take a step, open my mouth, and smile. Maybe laugh at a funny situation or do something unexpected for someone which will make them smile.
I am very good at helping others smile, maybe I will start with that?
I’ll let you know how it goes.