The past week or so has been a series of crappy, frustrating events.
Or that is how I took them. My positive attitude checked out and left my “woe is me” attitude to do all the work. This is never good.
I gave away my control of situations and circumstances and allowed them to batter me senseless. The process was out of control and I was circling the drain.
It took me over a week to understand what was going on.
I finally saw the folly of not deciding how I was going to view the problems I was facing. And it turns out not all of them were even problems. Once I broke them down and looked at what was really going on, it was my attitude towards the events that was making me feel so awful.
The change was not a lightning bolt or a comet crossing the sky in an ‘ah ha” moment.
The change was more subtle, sneaking up on me over several hours. After several hours, I could tell that things had changed in my mind and everything felt better. My outlook is back to seeing hope for the future.
I see a path forward that has many exciting options.
And I see myself in control again. Yes, I gave away my control of the situations to others and let them decide how I should feel. Or maybe it’s that I just couldn’t wrap my head around the event, and so my default response is to withdraw and let the stuff hit the fan, with my choices doing most of the flinging into the whirling blades.
Almost 24 hours later, I still feel in control.
Spending over a week doing the hard work, using many of the tools I have learned finally paid off. I am proud of myself for not stopping. It would have been very easy to throw my hands in the air and say, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.”
But instead, I held my ground and slogged forward, trying to make sense of why I felt so low.
When I have automatic thoughts, I am getting much better at recognizing them for what they are. I can ask better questions and see at once how these thoughts are not rational, and should not be given any more attention, but rather, I just watch them float away on a leaf, and disappear around the bend in the river.
It turns out that statements and actions by others are actual events that must be faced.
And ignoring them, or shrinking from them, or giving up my control of my attitude towards them, is no longer an option. I am here to live in the moment, to not time travel into the past or project myself into the future.
My past can help me see patterns, to see what worked and what didn’t.
And while past performance is the best predictor of future performance, the exciting thing is we can change, we can make better decisions, and life can start a new at any moment if we choose to do it. This is what happened to me in the past 24 hours.
By changing my attitude towards the events of the past week, I have changed my life once again.
There are options, there is a way forward, there is hope that I can lead a balanced life with depression. I am still a work on progress and the path forward is not a straight line. That’s important to remember that there will be ups and downs. This down was unnerving.
It was deeper than the other dips I have experienced since I was in the hospital and diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder.
I am so happy that I stayed the course and continued to use the tools I have learned, to work through this downturn. I wasn’t about to give up, but the process to understand my feelings, my emotions about the events and then figure out my attitude towards them, now that was work.
My mind flashes to the story about the miner who struck a vein of gold in the 1800’s. He borrowed money and bought equipment and started to mine this rich vein. And then the vein of gold disappeared. Dejected, he stopped work and sold the mine and equipment for 10 cents on the dollar.
The man who bought the mine hired a geologist to survey the mine. The expert told him “just dig forward about 2 feet and you will pick up the vein again’ . And that’s exactly what happened. The new owner reaped millions of dollars in gold.