Funny, I do not see my 300th blog post as a time of celebration.
Hitting my 100th and 200th blog posts, I made it into a celebration of life; my life. I was excited to still be alive, to have a better sense of the way forward. With my 100th blog post, I was grateful that I was no longer “Up Against the Wall.” Having received tools, support, and insights, I was able to begin to piece together my life with depression.
At my 200th blog post, I still celebrated my progress.
Although my day to day learning had slowed somewhat, at that point I was at the tail end of my intensive training. I have consumed many books, guides, articles, and resource materials about concealed depression and MDD. This work on myself yielded helpful results.
I find that I can catch myself in unhelpful thinking quickly.
At first, I did not even realize that I was doing this. Setting myself up to time travel, or using all or nothing thinking, catastrophizing events were things I did without knowing it. Learning how these work and addressing these unhelpful thinking styles have been a major step forward in my life with depression.
I am so grateful to everyone who has had a hand in my recovery.
The list is ever-expanding, and I am blessed that this is happening. I discovered On Our Own, a Peer Support Non-profit that has become my go-to non-judgmental place. From the moment I stepped foot in the door, I felt safe. Being among people facing the same types of challenges gave me hope that I too, could find a way forward. And I always feel each one is a hero just for showing up.
To accelerate my recovery, I flew to Chicago in September of last year and attended the 25th Annual SMART RECOVERY Conference.
Going early, I met Ernie G. and learned about his work with the mental health community. I heard lectures from Doctors and attended two SMART Recovery meetings. The material and concepts I learned about I am still processing.
Liking the organization so much, I ended up taking three of their courses and am certified to facilitate SMART meetings.
My goal in taking the courses was not to lead meetings currently, but to give me a better idea of what tools were in the SMART toolbox. Once I get my own oxygen mask on, I will be able to help others navigate all the tools and resources available. I was approached to start a meeting but turned it down.
I am still finding my own way towards a balanced life.
This includes taking WRAP Training. I have a wellness recovery action plan that has helped keep me from circling the drain. It has revealed triggers that can move me towards unhelpful thinking. Listing what I look and feel like when I am well and when I am not quite on my game has been hugely helpful. Struggling with road rage over a slow-moving tractor on a country road, I went back to my WRAP plan.
It turns out, I had listed that as a trigger in my plan.
Seeing that reminded me that it was not the farmer on his tractor, delivering hay to his cows that was making me angry. It was my attitude towards the whole situation. Dissecting it, I realized that there are always places to pass, that the tractor often turns into fields and clears the roads, and that I have always allowed enough time to get to work, even with these distractions.
Changing my attitude towards the farmer gives me peace, and results in my arriving at work relaxed, not amped up and frustrated. So, as I head off towards the next milestone in my recovery from major depressive disorder, I am thankful to be here.
Even the global pandemic and COVID-19 hasn’t brought me to my knees.
So many of the tools I have learned I am applying to the coronavirus. As an essential employee, I am still going to work. I am wearing a face covering and washing my hands all the time. Having a job to go to is a blessing. With so many out of work, I know the pain people are feeling. I have firsthand knowledge of friends and family directly impacted by the job cuts.
Starting the count down to my 400th blog post, I am more focused than ever on learning how to live a balanced life with depression.
My thanks go out to everyone who has helped make my journey towards a balanced life possible. It only took me 64 years to see that I am important, too. I still struggle with guilt and shame for having the disease. Having help seeing that I am OK, just as I am, is making this journey possible.
Thanks again to everyone and I look forward to seeing you at my 400th post.
My concealed depression is written under the alias “Depression is not my boss.” I have certifications in SMART Recovery and am a Global Career Development Facilitator.
Diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder last year, I am sharing what I learn. If you know someone who might benefit from reading this, please share.
I always appreciate your comments.