If the rock was like the one that pushed me to the hospital, I’m not sure I would be here.
That morning, the rock was so massive and the hill so steep, I couldn’t imagine how I was going to move it. Just the thought of pushing against it was impossible to think about. Everything was numb, and the rock was there staring at me.
It felt like it was daring me to try moving it.
And the rock was right, moving it was nearly impossible. Being that far away from my feelings, all I could do was plod along. Pushing the rock up the hill was a part of every day, but that morning I was certain that I could not go on doing the same thing.
Again, I know that morning I only saw three choices.
The first was to stop pushing the rock up the hill. Suicide was on the table, open for discussion. However, I was chicken, and the thought of that idea was scarier than going back to the rock and the hill. Second, I knew that I could continue to push that rock up the same hill. But every day I have a different expectation of what will happen.
Unhelpful thinking has me saying “This time will be different.”
And of course, this time is the same as every other time. Doing what I always do, but expecting a different result no longer was an idea I wanted to consider. Time travel, all-or-nothing thinking, and fortune-telling ideas my depression was offering were no longer enough.
That morning, I no longer believed the unhelpful thinking that I had considered the truth for decades.
This left only one option. I had to put on my big boy pants and face what I was feeling. Or face what I was not feeling. Either way, that morning I committed to facing my depression head-on by seeking professional medical advice.
Four and a half years later, I am still facing my concealed, high-functioning, depression.
What a mouthful. I am not sure if I would be here had I, not chosen door number three that morning. Door number one was the most frightening prospect and that morning I realized that door number two was a dead end. I used door number two to motivate myself to get out of bed. Expecting a different outcome seemed perfectly logical to me back then. Now I see that all I was doing was fooling myself into some sort of action.
That morning, I couldn’t just start pushing the same rock up the same hill.
I needed to do something different. And all I could think about was seeking professional medical advice. Doing so has made a significant difference in my life. Yes, I still see the rock when I wake up. Most days, it is surprisingly small. Some days it is softball-sized, some days as small as a marble. This is a far cry from the car and house-sized boulders I felt I was pushing before 5 East.
And the mountain is often just a series of rolling hills, not the vertical crags I saw in the past.
Every day I am grateful for the chance to start anew. Mostly I do not take things for granted, but value the chance to engage with them. I even use the term self-care. This was and still is hard for me. Taking care of myself first seems foreign to me. Well, it is foreign to how I think,. I am certain that I do my self-care, often without thinking. And I usually call it work, or chores, or my to-do list.
Just sitting on the porch in the early morning, drinking coffee, and watching the wildlife is the closest I get to self-care.
But that is me. Someone else’s idea will be different. And that’s good. We should all do what is right for us. By changing my attitude towards events, I can also change both the size of the boulder and the size of the hill.
That’s a way of looking at what I do that I just now realized.
Hold that thought. I just changed my thinking about today’s rock and today’s hill. I’m going to finish my coffee on the porch and then enjoy my day off work. By changing my attitude towards my depression, the hill is a slight incline this morning, and the boulder is nothing more than a pea-sized rock.