I don’t like it, but I cannot seem to stop depression from doing it.
Despite my depression, there are parts of most days where I am in love. I am especially in love when I am thinking about her. And there are moments when we are together that are special. We play board games together on the back deck and take walks around the property with our dog.
These are the times I am falling in love.
And then my depression seems to think I am enjoying these moments too much. It focuses my time and energy on every little, trivial idiosyncrasy, and cannot let go of them. Depression gets me thinking I would be better off alone. Alone, except of course with depression.
My depression sees the world through me and my actions.
And it can decide to see some weird stuff. Why depression would want me circling the drain is beyond me. But that is where it always wants to take me. And just past the drain is the edge of the abyss. Why it wants to get me up against the wall is beyond me. I am still working to understand the reasoning behind the schemes my depression cooks up.
And my depression doesn’t stop me from falling in and out of many other circumstances.
It very much wants me to stay away from things that please me. I have been painting the deck for two years and it is still not 100%. How can that be? I am very good at seeing all of the tasks I feel I should be doing around the house and property. Knowing I can do them is rewarding. But getting to them is often a struggle.
How is it possible to defer things that give me joy?
Months can pass before a project resurfaces. The deck, repainting the fence, and installing a second gate at the bottom of the fence are all projects I enjoy. But I cannot stay on task for very long. And getting to a feeling of joy is still a work in progress. I know I have told myself “If only I could …,“ then everything would be alright.
I am realizing that I have been telling myself that my entire life.
There are hundreds of examples I can think of where I was so close to the finish line and then I blinked. My solo sailing trip in my sailboat comes to mind. I got into the alligator-Pungo canal and fell out of love with going the rest of the way to Florida. I logged over 700 nautical miles as a solo sailor and was often in love with the trip.
But even my ship’s log was cold and lacking.
A friend of mine started to read it and asked, “Where is the emotion?” I was proud at the time that I was just noting the facts. It never occurred to me that I could write about my feelings. Or write about how an event made me feel. Even now, I search for a balanced life with depression. And while I love the feeling of a balanced life, I cannot make it last. My depression always has a better idea and a different idea.
And any idea depression shares with me usually needs to be kept a secret.
Or at least that is what my depression is telling me. And not just a secret from some people, but a secret from the rest of the world. My depression feels its best when it has me off by myself. From my lonely spot, I listened to what depression was saying. Using unhelpful thinking, I would be a fortune teller and convince myself that other people would not understand.
So, I concoct a story in my head, and pronounce it as valid, without talking to anyone involved,
This unhelpful thinking that my depression uses is now getting easier to spot. But my ability to catch any of the 10 versions is not foolproof. And while I often see the suggested action for the falsehood it is, I still fall short of catching these consistently.
Once again, I am off on a tear and neglecting what I brought my laptop out to write this evening.
Just before sitting down to write, I had driven out to our country store to grab some ice cream for dessert. As an app on my phone, I have the free version of Pandora. The first track that played tonight was from Pure Prairie League. The song was Falling in and Out of Love with You. Now I am thinking about how many people even know this band. I was shocked when my youngest sister-in-law did not know who the Beatles are.
Regardless of who knows what, I know that I have a connection with this song.
My depression has turned assured success into mediocre success. And it has done it consistently throughout my life. At the same time, I often wonder if I am switching between love and hate because I have depression. Or is it that I am falling in and out of love which causes my depression?
It’s the “which came first idea of the chicken or the egg.”
So how am I supposed to find out whether some of my secretive behavior is because I have depression or I have depression because of my secretive behavior? I cannot answer that yet. But I do know that I am still finding it hard to stick with one subject, one idea, and see it through to the end.
Now that’s not to say that I have not had any success in my life.
It is only that I get to the point where long-term rewards are coming and then I go off into left field, leaving much on the table. I’m the dog that chases cars. When I finally bite the tire, I don’t know what to do. So, I let go and go back to chasing cars. The latest adventure was my decision to retire early and expand my resume-writing business.
40 years of planning went out the window.
I was so close to doing it right, and then depression whispered in my ear, “Well you know…” And the next thing I know I am becoming secretive about my intentions and I only leave a few breadcrumbs as to what my intentions are. And then I retired wondering why I thought that was a great idea.
My depression was hand-feeding me the lines and fending off anyone who shared a competing idea.
Depression never let me, but that is not what I want to say. It is my fault, for, in the end, I was the one who said the words “I want to retire.” And as the reality of retiring sank in, my depression was off somewhere on vacation. It certainly wasn’t with me as my stuff hit the fan.
I had no real, well-thought-out plan when I retired.
All I had was a notion and a pocket full of ideas. I did not have a clear plan about what I could or should do. Early retirement was a concept, but there was no real idea of what a day would look like. I know that during the 14 months in which I retired, I missed solving problems within company policy. It seems I was falling in and out of love with work.
I choose falling out of love with work as an extreme.
Generating an all-or-nothing type of attitude, I drove forward, never considering that there could be more than one point of view. And even 4 and 1/2 years later, I still find myself at times jumping back into an all-or-nothing thought pattern. Yet I am still trying to decide if I do this because I have depression, or I have depression because I have these thoughts.
While my depression is not full blow now, it is still with me every day.
And it constantly challenges my thoughts. My depression wants, even needs to be in charge. Yet it wants me to take credit for each idea it generates. I expend a significant amount of energy every day, catching and then correcting each unhelp thinking thought that it generates.
No wonder I find opportunities to head to bed as early as possible.
So here I am, back to being in love with work. In reality, I was never out of love with work, but my depression periodically has me thinking that way. And this type of thought pattern is the same for every aspect of my life. I love my wife, my children, my home, and everything that goes along with it. All of these things are worth fighting for.