I’m all over the board today. Thinking about, obsessing about, how I will spend my days has really set off a chain of thoughts in my mind. And some realizations.
The Prozac must be working as intended.
I have not had any suicidal thoughts in days. Not that I have ever acted upon them. Suicidal ideation is the clinical term they used when I was in the hospital. I am told one of the side effects of Prozac is possible suicidal thoughts. But I am taking the drug to rid myself of those same thoughts. Go figure.
My early days on Prozac are the topic of this blog post titled “Doing the Drugs.”
I’m still having trouble staying asleep, but it is possible that problem is turning the corner as well. I have replaced I-pad screen time with a paper crossword puzzle at bedtime. For a week, I have consistently taken Melatonin 20 minutes before bedtime. I am still waking up at night, but not as often, and I fall back asleep easier now.
Getting stronger, it should be a time of celebration.
Yet here I am, in the same breath, saying to myself “what’s the point if I do not have a purpose anymore.” I am being told to have patience. “Ok, so I’m patient already. Let’s go now.” My beagle reminds me that eight weeks is a lot longer in dog years.
Being a rescue dog, we learned she had a lot of trauma before we adopted her. So I am glad she is able to be a pet now. I am happy she is able to have a comfortable life. I like to watch her warming herself in the sun. No cares, just appreciating the day. Yet she appreciates it and relishes it, while for some reason I am fighting it.
Is it wrong to think that I am ready for more?
I know there are people who would love to wake up and not have anything specific to do. No structure, no overarching theme or plan. Just the day as it presents itself. I know people who love that. Turn the TV on, maybe go for a walk if it’s not too hot. Eat a little something now and then and not have to worry about anything.
For me, I don’t think it’s unhealthy to want to do things, to want to contribute to something, to want to feel like what I am doing means something. Why would it be unhelpful to think that way?
“Does it even matter?”
As I examine this thought using my tools, I can challenge it and see if it is true. I can ask better questions and talk to others to get a different perspective. If I only listen to depression, there is no chance to see that there are things I could be doing. When I ask better questions and challenge my all or nothing and minimizing thinking, I get to see there are more options.
You can imagine how freeing this is and how mad it makes the depression.
Until now, depression has kept this limiting belief alive in my head. It has made me feel sorry for myself. You can imagine how shocked I was to see there are other ways of looking at how I will spend my day.
“Does it even matter” is only one way to think about what my days will look like.
And this one way is very limiting. Yet I had promoted that to myself as the one true way, the only way to look at my situation, and depression applauded my work. To acknowledge that there are other ways to view the situation is freeing.
It turns out I could make a list of things that I have been wanting to do.
My list could include some of the day to day activities that depression and I have deemed off limits. And then there is my work-related list of things that would help move my business forward.
Just knowing that I can do this is a big step.
I keep finding ways that depression is intercepting my ideas and twisting them so I can only see one way to move forward. Each time I think I have turned the corner; I find another one of depressions notions has infected my thinking.
You probably already know I must stay vigilant.
Even as I begin my list and feel proud that I have recognized another unhelpful thinking style, I am aware that depression is lurking somewhere nearby, planning its next assault on my mental health.
I could spend time bemoaning this fact and spiral out of control wallowing in self-pity. Or I could act and use my tools to catch depression before I comply with its impulsive, destructive philosophies.
Even though I was telling myself I wasn’t doing that, when I finally went to the hospital, I was fully immersed in my depression, including a twinge of self-pity.
I am not going back to that.
Labeling was the one unhelpful thinking style I thought I had not used, even though depression made it very tempting. But I see I am labeling myself as “stuck” if I only see “does it even matter” as to how I will spend my days. What a limiting way to view the world.
Depression has stolen many things from me in the past.
Not facing it over the past 40 years has only encouraged it to dig even deeper into me, planting seeds of future calamity and impulsive behaviors. This idea that I do not have anything to look forward to each day, that every day will be the same, is the depression talking. (Click on the link to read what I wrote earlier about that)
You know that my support groups have told me to slow down. Are they correct? Is that what I need? Am I still pushing the limits instead of appreciating the chance to think about my future?
“Does it even matter” is depression’s single-minded way of getting me to look at my future.
Knowing that I can use the tools to challenge this idea, I have already made a list of 17 things I can do. 17 ways I can take advantage of this opportunity I have been given. Not everyone gets a gift like this. As I fashion my future, I am almost getting a “do-over, a mulligan.” Just saying that to myself and writing it down really makes depression mad.
Depression wants secrets, impulsiveness, and up against the wall thinking.
Challenging those unhelpful ideas is not what I have done in the past. But now, it is the only thing I will do. Coming up for air after being underwater in depression’s depths, I can see other options as clear as day. I am grateful for the tools I have been given to finally confront depression.
So, there are tons of things I can do instead of thinking I am stuck wondering “does it even matter?” Even as I write this, several other things have popped into my head to add to my lists. “How cool is that?”
I’d better get up early tomorrow so I can fit it all in.