Sometimes, I can see what my future might look like.
Other times, the screen goes blank and all I hear are crickets chirping in the background. My goal is to build a balanced life with depression. I am not expecting to find a cure or to be in a test group that validates a successful drug program.
I am not so sure that even a reset of my thought processes would remove depression.
But I remind myself that I do have one thing I can control. It is not what depression may cook up and then offer me as a new, secret plan. Depression has pulled that many times in the past. Some plans have been disastrous over many months and years. And some of depressions schemes are short-lived and relate to a specific situation.
I can control my attitude towards depression and its wild ideas.
That is my plan. It is not exciting or extravagant. And it certainly is achievable. Yet it has been a challenging thing to do. There are times when I feel myself giving in to unhelpful thinking. Depression loves to tease me with some of its favorite unhelpful thinking styles. All or nothing, time travel and minimizing are ones I seem to encounter frequently.
My plan is to recognize these unhelpful styles before they inflict considerable damage or harm.
Since my time on five east, I have collected many tools that are helping me stay away from unhelpful thinking. Or at least I can recognize it as it is happening, or shortly thereafter. In the past, I could go for days or weeks knowing that something wasn’t right. But I had no framework to compare against.
It was just me and depression hanging out.
There was no plan on my part to understand what was happening with each depressive episode. And I know that I wasn’t looking for a cause. I had no interest in understanding what was happening and what was causing it.
I just wanted it to be over so I could get on with my life.
There was no introspection, no recap of the events. I had no interest in learning from what had happened. I just wanted to get on with my life. There have been many times I would just sweep what was left of the episode under a rug and move on as if nothing had happened.
I was ashamed and embarrassed that I had acted so stupidly.
I just wanted to distance myself from the event in the hopes that no one had noticed. And I comforted myself with the thought that I hid my situation carefully and that no one saw what was going on behind the curtain. There are still people I have distanced myself from because of these events in my life.
I cannot get depression to replace these times in my life.
As I see it, depression would owe me years of a better life. And then let’s not forget the monetary costs associated with my unhelpful behavior brought on by depression. My situation would be more comfortable had I not followed depression’s ideas.
Of course, this leads once again to me “shoulding all over myself.”
And that is no longer my plan. I cannot get that time back. Nor can I recreate these situations to take advantage of the positive aspects of life that I gave up to secretly follow depression. I am careful to not spend much time on shoulda, woulda, coulda. All that does is steal time away from living my life to the fullest.
And that’s really my plan, to lead a balanced life with depression.
While my plan doesn’t specifically prevent me from holding a pity party, it does set limits on how long this will go on. I find myself indulging in this backward-looking exercise less and less often. This is helping me move forward. I do not have a rigid rule on when and how often I can cry about what could have been, but I am finding I go there less and less these days.
The future for me is whatever I conceive it will be.
And I am ready to face it, armed with all the tools I have been introduced to. My days are once again full of wonder, and I am back to sharing my motto with the world: I love getting up in the morning because I learn something new every day.