Last April, as I left the hospital diagnosed with major depressive disorder, that was all I could think about.
Now, a year later, I have the added worry of COVID-19. This begs the question, what will the coming year look like? Tackling my depression, I found proven techniques, tips, support groups, therapist and a Psychiatrist to help in my recovery. Combined, they all have helped me construct a life that leads toward living a balanced life with depression.
If that were not challenging enough, now I must understand what COVID-19 means for the coming year.
Considering the professional community is still adjusting to the pandemic, it is no wonder I am a little fuzzy on what the coming year will look like. First it was don’t wear the mask. Now, everyone should be wearing a mask. In fact, in the DC Metro area, many jurisdictions are mandating them. There is talk about how to “open America” again balanced against the inevitable rise in cases of COVID-19.
What will the coming year look like?
Each one of us will need to ask that question. Part of the answer lies in how we frame our answer. I do not have control over my DNA which includes depression. I do not have control over a pandemic. But I do have control over my attitude towards both.
This one thing allows me to decide what is important in my life.
And then, it gives me the power of how I react to what is happening. I am not going to say that having that power makes deciding how I will move forward easier. But it is the one thing I can do. It is very easy to wish that things had been different. That I did not have depression all my life. That I lived in a world where there we no pandemics, no threats to our existence. But that’s a waste of time and energy.
I have the same 24 hours in a day everyone else has.
How I choose to use them is what makes them mine. I can wallow around in my own crapulence, or I can get moving and accomplish something. Lately, I have been writing about not being able to move forward. And each time I write, I am marching in place. It may look good on paper, but it does not feel like I am making any progress.
I have decided that I will not be intimidated by COVID-19.
This was the same decision I made last April about my depression. After 43 years of hiding it, ignoring it, and generally just hoping it would go away, I spun around 180 degrees and faced it. I asked for professional help and I went after the very thing I had hidden from, learning everything I could about it’s sneaky and secretive ways.
I no longer fear depression or my diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).
But that doesn’t mean I take depression for granted. I am vigilant and ever watchful for any signs of its attempts to assert itself into my daily life. I am getting very good at catching myself in unhelpful thinking styles. While I don’t always do it at the moment, I have been successful at recognizing them in minutes hours, and occasionally a day or two. This is 100% better than not seeing these for what they are and not addressing them.
One positive note, many of the tools I have learned to combat depression are effective against COVID-19.
READ MORE: Which new normal? COVID-19 or MDD
In that sense, both depression and COVID-19 can be addressed, for me, using a similar mindset. Getting to decide how much energy I expend worrying about both is my choice. I am not advocating sticking my head in the sand, But I do not have to run around like chicken little, screaming the sky is falling.
Now I am not saying that making these decisions about my attitude is easy or straight-forward.
But they are possible, and I am doing it. However, as I wrote yesterday, I am feeling a little stuck and have not set a course yet for what comes next. This is where I am right now. Making my choices about how I will view what is happening.
I do not feel scared, but I do not have a clear picture yet of what the coming year will look like.
I have a therapist appointment tomorrow via video chat. I am planning to use that session to work trough this question. I will write more once I know more.
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.
Last year, I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder.If you know someone who might benefit from reading this, please share. And your comments are always appreciated.