After my days on 5 East, I was certain depression would not be in charge of my attitude ever again.
Well, that feeling came to me months after my 4 days there. Being alone with the staff, I was still very much up against the wall, and the fact that I had finally taken a different action and gotten a different response was still sinking in. Leading a balanced life with depression was my most ardent wish.
But it was on 5 East that I began to learn what I can and cannot control.
And today I am still learning. Until recently, I felt that my relationship with depression was vastly improved. Well, off and on I have felt that way. Recently, I have been more than OK, but not great. More than OK should be OK, but right now, for me, it is not OK. And I am having trouble changing my attitude about being OK, or more than OK.
I want to feel joy again.
Joy is the emotion I am missing in my arsenal. I have the rest firmly ensconced in my brain and my psyche. I can get in touch with fear or sadness in the blink of an eye.
Just for the record here is the list of core emotions:
- Sexual excitement
Inhibitory emotions are:
And as you can see in the Change triangle image, defenses are anything we do to avoid emotions.
I am an expert in Defense. I can avoid emotions with the best of them. Give me a situation and I can describe it in detail, down to the color of the dog’s collar. But ask me how I feel about the situation, and I am at a loss. The Change Triangle Says: Listen to the Body., Discover Core Emotions., and Connect to Your Authentic Self.
Now, instead of focusing on how to change my attitude and connect to my authentic self, my mind is thinking about the term Authentic Self, and how uncomfortable that makes me feel.
Ok, so I feel some things, but not always the feelings I need to feel. We all have triggers and some of my triggers center around catch words designed to evoke calm and positivity. Self-care is one such trigger, and the authentic self is another. So even as I believe in the reasons behind these words, I bristle at having to use them.
Telling myself that I can invent my own words for these actions has helped in the past.
And I remind myself that it is not the word, but how it makes me feel that is important. And I can feel self-care without having to label it as such. Likewise, I can connect to my authentic self, without having to say authentic self.
Depression has been holding its cards close to its chest and isn’t interested in allowing me to see that I have choices.
It wants me to only see the two Kings in my hand, and to assume that it has a Royal Flush. It is betting as if it has a royal flush, so why should I challenge depression, or call its bluff? Depression has its game face on and is ready to challenge me at every opportunity.
I understand this now, so why am I letting depression get away with this?
My relationship with depression should be moving towards a more balanced relationship. Achieving balance, though, is not a one-and-done experience. Staying in balance requires constant adjustments. Staying in balance requires me to counter every move depression makes.
Remaining in balance for a lifetime is work.
And while I am putting in the work, I am often, steering clear of my feelings. Connecting with Inhibitory emotions is OK but being defensive and not feeling anything is still my default setting. But I certainly know how to use inhibitory emotions to block getting to my core emotions. So, I end up standing in my own way and allow myself to stop short of deciding for myself.
After 4 months of vacillating, I am finally back at the gym.
But the inter-departmental rivalry between myself and depression kept pushing off the final decision. And then one day I just said, I am going to the gym, and I did. I made the decision and have gone 10 times in less than 2 weeks. A wonderful calm came over me after making the decision. I am excited to have the sore muscles that come from becoming stronger, fitter, and more in balance.