I thought I would be “cured” by now.
Seven months after my hospitalization for Major Depressive Disorder, it feels like I should be on top of my game. I have medication helping me, a therapist, a psychiatrist and peer support.
In September, I flew to Chicago and spent the weekend learning SMART Recovery at their 25th Annual Conference. I have ordered and have read many books about depression.
Last month, I began the training to be a SMART Meeting Facilitator.
This has opened up and let me examine all the available tools in SMART recovery. I can see how they apply to people, including myself, in different stages of recovery. I have made copies of these and am putting together a book for myself of all these resources.
But if I’m not better by now, what’s the point?
Why am I struggling to get up in the morning? Getting started is getting harder and harder. It was like that before I went to the hospital and for the first few weeks after I got home. Recently, getting out of bed is consuming all my energy.
Once I finally get out of bed, I have already used up most of today’s reserves.
This leaves me pushing myself through my daily routine. Pushing myself to pack my lunch, get dressed, drive to work. At my day job, I find a respite from depressions grasp. I kick into my concealed depression mode and turn on the positive. I can do this for my entire shift, mostly because I do not stop once I start. There is a benefit to taking lunch, and I am given an hour for that. Yet, I almost never do that.
If I stop during the workday and take my lunch, it is very, very hard to put my game face on again.
So, I pack many small snacks, several sandwiches, nuts, sliced manos, an avocado cut up. Every two hours I do a “drive by” and grab something. Often, I will spend a minute reviewing my email or working on a project that requires me to sit at a desk. By multi-tasking, I feel better about spending time eating. I tell myself, “well you are really checking e-mail, so it’s ok if you gobble down a sandwich while you read.”
My plan is to search the tools I have available to me and see which can help me address this feeling of pointlessness.
My next therapist appointment is Thursday morning. You can bet I will be talking with him about this. And I can make a time to talk with my Peer Advocate. Yesterday, I was able to share some of this in a Peer Support Meeting. Every time I walk through the door for a meeting, I feel I am home. I am so thankful for On Our Own.
So, I have danced around my feelings of “what’s the point?”
Given my recent struggle to get out of bed, I am not sure why I do not really want to know what is going on. It seems as if I should be able to figure this out. Afterall, I have many tools, resources, and professional help in my corner. Plus, I am a very bright individual, who generally succeeds in anything I set my sights on.
Then why am I not figuring this out?
A book on tape I am listening to as I commute to work says, “life just wants to be.” They use the example of moss, which has existed for millions, if not billions of years. It just is. It will do everything in its power to exist, but it appears to only be interested in being alive. It shows no ability to drive a car or expound theories about life and its purpose. To moss, living and being alive is its purpose.
Right now, I am moss.
I just want to exist, to be. The future is ripe with possibility, but I have returned to not seeing it very clearly. This whole getting out of bed thing, is leaving me with little energy to jump to the next steps. Perhaps it’s the time of year. The shortest day of the year is coming soon, and I am not getting much outside time to soak up daylight.
If I look at the Stages of Change model, I may have jumped back to Contemplation, from Action.
My enthusiasm for the changes I have made is waning. My momentum has slowed. While I am certainly gaining new insights and developing new skills These are all in the Action Stage. Yet I am noticing I am becoming ambivalent regarding positives and negatives. This puts me back in the Contemplation Stage.
That leads me to overthinking and unhelpful thinking styles.
This whole “what is the point” is unhelpful thinking at it’s best. Between you and me, I think depression is pissed at me. Having spent the past seven months trying to understand how depression works, I have developed many tools and strategies to keep depression from gaining a new, stronger foothold in m my life. This is making depression work harder, to find new ways to undermine my recovery and to pull me back to the abyss.
Getting out my “ask better questions” worksheet, I will start there to address this unhelpful thinking.
I know there is a point to my life, and I want to play it out to the end. Recovery is not a straight line. I have been aware of that for months. But recently, I have made so much progress that I did not expect anymore setbacks. Being more realistic about the path I must take will help me not get so stressed and anxious.
This leaves me putting one foot in front of the other and continuing to move forward.
I can do that! Moss and I both want more than anything to live . Moss has a balanced life very simply. For me, living a balanced life requires much more effort. I don’t always see it, but I know deep down the effort is worth it.
I got out of bed today, so the hard part is over!
READ: I got up this morning