You know your life has changed when average is thrilling.
Going five days in a row being average is breathtaking. It has been several years since this has happened. Lately, I have been waking up and then getting up. The internal fight I would have with myself is gone. All the drama I would create around getting out of bed has disappeared.
What is left is ME.
I wish I could take all the credit for this transformation. The Oscar goes to my Peer Advocate, and my new Psychiatric team. Together, they thought outside of my limited box and entertained a wide variety of options. Together, we brainstormed these and arrived at a consensus.
From there, I took the new medicine as prescribed.
As I enter my seventh week, more and more days are average. And I cannot be more pleased. I have seen the abyss. I have circled the drain many times in the past 43 years. And I have been in the abyss. Each time, the depths are deeper, steeper, and murkier. There is no light and the way forward is impossible to determine.
“Gloom, despair, and agony on me.” (Thanks Hee Haw)
Average is such a relief after being up against the wall. And I am not saying I was being close, or near or at the wall. I am talking about slam up against it, where the wall and I become one. And seeing any way forward is impossible. In those moments, I felt there were only two choices. End it or figure a way out so I could hide what was left and get back to acting normal.
For over 43 years, I hid depression and did not recognize that I had a third choice.
Seeking professional medical advice about these episodes of drain circling and abyss visiting, hadn’t been on my radar. But I will say that at times, I looked for other alternatives. I self-medicated with pot 40 years ago. But soon after getting married, babies took the place of pot.
Eight or so years ago, I began taking over the counter SAM-E.
This helped my mood, but my out of pocket was over $30 a month. Now that seems very inexpensive compared to the financial and emotional costs of being in the hospital. Eventually, I even went through my medical plan and was prescribed 20 mg of Prozac. My co-pay was $3 a month, one tenth of what I was investing in my self-created program.
Getting back to today, depression has not been happy about my progress.
Depression always want me to be unstable, unbalanced, and secretive. And yet, for five days in a row, depression has not been able to inject unhelpful thinking into my head. The insert switch has been turned off and depression cannot find a reset button. I know depression is angry and is working behind the scenes to develop a better plan to get me back to the “dark side.” (sorry about the quotes!)
Here are my seven reasons why Average is Electrifying:
- I am living a balanced life with depression. Average is a big part of staying on track. Avoiding the excessive highs and the debilitating lows make my life more predictable and enjoyable.
- Having a single “bad day” doesn’t frighten me. For months, having even just a few bad hours would get me thinking about circling the drain and wondering if I was teetering on the edge of the abyss. Now I can see that a bad day is just a bad day. It doesn’t need to signal the collapse of my entire world.
- My world is less stressful. The daily ups and downs are a part of what all humans experience and I am getting to participate in that without looking over my shoulder to see if there is something more ominous behind the daily problems. I catastrophize much less than before.
- Self-care has become a bigger part of my day. At first, I was railing against the term. Self-care sounded so selfish. Not feeling secure n my own worth, the only way I could show my worth to the world, I felt, was to sacrifice myself for others. Now, I remember that putting on your own oxygen mask before helping others increases my ability to help others, without sacrificing myself. When I don’t do this, we both suffer.
- Self-advocating for myself resulted in medicine that is effective. I spent many months in a morning funk, not able to focus or get motivated. For six months, I wrestled with myself about getting out of bed. Negotiating, pleading, compromising, I would feel guilty about whatever decision I would make about getting out of bed. Then I had to endure hours of fog and lack of focus. I DO NOT MISS THAT AT ALL.
- My life is more normal, more like I remember it, pre-depression. Now I am making lists, getting things done, and procrastinating much less often. My days are filled with the present, not the past or the future. I do not time travel as often.
- I am living a balanced life with depression. That has been my goal for over a year. Having a balanced life is moving my recovery to another level. And I couldn’t be more grateful and thankful. I am alive and I am living. SMART Recovery and WRAP, along with On Our Own have played a major role in providing me the tools I am using to lead a balanced life. I am eternally in their debt for giving me tools to save myself and move forward confidently.
Now I recognize that I must remain vigilant.
I am still pushing the rock up the hill every day. The tools I have learned are making my daily life better, but there is still much to learn. And without sounding mushy, “there will be a time to sow and a time to reap.” I get that.
But today, I celebrate five days of average, five days of living a balanced life with depression.
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 very much appreciate your comments.