Getting stuck in my depression happens a lot.
Things on the surface appear to be going well, but underneath the surface, there is a mish-mosh of stuff going on. Oh, the miracle of concealed, high-functioning depression. Of course, the easy way out is to blame my lack of forward momentum on my depression.
I can say “If I didn’t have depression, then I would …”
But this is a form of unhelpful thinking that leaves me “shoulding” all over myself. And worse, even if I believe that my actions or lack thereof are because I have major depressive disorder, there is a deep sense of guilt and shame. Would I really have accomplished more if I didn’t have depression?
Or is depression my excuse for not achieving more?
And then we get back to what the head psychiatrist asked me while I was on 5 East. When is enough, enough? Why must I get one more certification, one more title, one more anything before I can feel fulfilled? What drives me to keep going, always feeling like I’m not quite there?
Is my depression keeping me from doing more, or is my doing more how I can beat my depression?
I have come back to this idea many times. And I have searched scholarly papers on this topic. I can find some research into cause and effect, but nothing specific to depression that answers my question.
It really comes down to wanting to know “how much of what has happened is depression’s fault and how much blame is mine?”
I have broached this topic with my peer support advocate. She has had some general insights but steered me towards doing my own research. What her motivation was, I am not sure. Depression is making me overthink this. Do I take her idea at face value, or is she just telling me what I want to hear?
She has never steered me wrong before.
In fact, her insights into the effect Prozac was having on me were the whole reason I spoke with my psychiatrist. Based on this conversation, I am now on 300 mg Wellbutrin XL. And I am able to get up without that groggy, I don’t want to get up feeling. Plus, I am ready to start when I get up. With the Wellbutrin, I can immediately begin the day without having a couple of hours of bumbling around, not quite awake.
So why would she misdirect me about learning more about the causes of my depression and its relationship to my accomplishments or lack thereof?
This puts me back to getting things done. I have a to-do list for today. On top of that, I have a larger to-do list for projects that are longer-term. And then I am finally starting to write down my personal bucket list.
Once again, when is enough, enough?
Finishing things on any list allow me to cross them off. Doing this creates positive endorphins that flow into my body. I enjoy this enough that I will sometimes write something I have done on my list, just so I can cross it off.
I know writing my 500th blog post is still 10 posts in the future.
Today I will work on my daily to-dos and give the larger picture of guilt the day off. It will be there anytime I want to engage with it. Whether it is depression’s fault or my fault, it is still my body and my actions. This is where, for me, it gets complicated.