Being in control is important to me.
I think most people seek this in some fashion. Even the most depressed and anxious people have their limits. And I know there are lines I will not cross. Sometimes I learn where these lines are when I explode. Tamping down my responses, I am a powder keg ready to explode.
I pack more and more emotions into this vessel, in my attempts to remain in control. I never remember that eventually, I will lose it. And what would have been a simple thing, turns into me lashing out at the entire universe.
Finally, I have admitted to myself that I have depression, but depression does not have me.
Anxiety can creep in from time to time, too. This sets up two different dynamics. The depression flings me into the past. I regret decisions I have made and can easily get into “shoulda, woulda, coulda.” From there all kinds of unhelpful thinking sees its chance to come to the party.
Pretty soon, I am catastrophizing, and couching upcoming events in all or nothing terms.
As I begin to descend into the deeper reaches of my depression, I start to withdraw into myself. I convince myself that only depression and I understand what is going on. When I am with depression, it lets me feel in control. I use this feeling as justification for undertakings that depression and I will embark on. And anxiety puts me in the future, time-traveling as I create all kinds of scenarios about what might happen.
Depression always let’s me feel as if I am in control.
This aspect of my depression is why I do not always see the big picture very early in each adventure I take with depression. I develop these cockamamie ideas and think they are mine. Depression goes along with this plan, without letting on that the idea was not mine. My depression plants the seed and then comes around to water it.
Without asking, depression would always fertilize the ideas it was planting in my mind, to be sure they would bloom.
I don’t have to tell you what this reminds me of. You are probably already envisioning the adage:
“I feel like a mushroom. I am kept in the dark and fed horse manure.”
My depression has a strong track record of success. It has taken me down the rabbit hole and created four major depressive adventures. But less obvious to me is how this works daily. I get to feel in control, but I am not. Depression has tossed in something from its bag of unhelpful thinking styles, and I am left to figure out what to do with it.
To reverse this, I have written about my 101 Coping Statements for my depression and anxiety.
And writing about these coping skills for depression and anxiety has helped me to see that I have options. There are ways I can change my attitude towards any situation. This can put me in control instead of me following depression’s lead. And being in control, for me and most people, feels good.
Being in control is the goal, though, not just feeling in control.
Depression has this thing it does to me where I develop a feeling about doing something. I work on the idea like it was my own. And then when it doesn’t work out and things come crashing down around me, depression is not even there to help pay the bill.
My depression does a “dine and dash” thing, always leaving me hanging with the consequences.
Depression is chicken sh&%, never facing up to what we have done. Once again it made the disaster my idea. And depression leaves me to face the abyss when it doesn’t work out.
And for me, the ideas depression successfully plants in my brain, never, ever work out.
Again, that is why I have collected and written about coping skills for depression and anxiety. With over 40 years of experience with depression, I have finally called it out. There will be no more secrecy, no more sweeping the crumbs of my depression under the rug. I will no longer walk away as if nothing has happened.
I will be in control of my attitude towards my future with depression.
It is true that stuff happens. For over 18 months we have been dealing with a worldwide Covid 19 Pandemic. It is killing millions of people around the globe and the best minds on the planet have not quite figured out how to eradicate it.
Personally, I am doing my part to help stop the spread. For me, that is part of my attitude towards the pandemic. I have decided what is most important for me and my family and have acted accordingly. And for this worldwide event, my actions have matched my attitude.
In late January, I received my first vaccination against Covid.
This was followed 30 days later with dose two of the Moderna vaccine. I have been a mask-wearing person for what seems like forever. Using the information available, I must make decisions that put me in control. Anti-vaccer’s have used the information to reach a different conclusion. And this has sometimes led to a very different outcome.
The pandemic has put a person’s ability to be in control to the test.
I am living my life and my attitude about the pandemic is in line with my actions. My attitude is that I will take steps using the information I have collected This will provide the greatest opportunities for a healthy life for me and my family.
The pandemic has isolated many and depression is markedly more noticeable.
As the pandemic unfolds, coping skills are being sought after. Daily ideas about how to reverse depression’s control are found and attitudes change. And sometimes people cannot see that they have choices or that they can control their attitude towards events in their lives.
When I have been at my worst with depression, seeing anything except the wall I felt smashed against, was nearly impossible.
Today, I know I have choices. But I also know that depression has been working on my next great adventure. Depression’s objective will once again be to let me feel like it is my idea. Depression will help me nurture the idea. Then it will start to suggest that I keep the idea a secret. Its intention is to make me feel like only depression and I truly know what’s right for me.
Anyone else that has an idea about the new plan becomes the enemy. Their ideas are generally grounded, and depression does not like that one bit. And depression makes it clear that my best chance of success is to secretly follow the plan that it secretly helped me develop.
And that works until the plan falls apart.
This has repeated itself for over 40 years. Until I stood up to depression and said, I will not listen anymore, all I was doing was kicking the can down the road. Now, 28 months after my hospitalization, I am beginning to see the power depression can have over me if I do not control my attitude.