My depression can only push me so far or it will lose its host.
After all, if I die, then depression dies too. So it is in depression’s best interest to keep me alive and kicking. Even when it has me in the abyss, its focus is on keeping me up against that wall. If I cannot feel anything or envision any way forward, depression is happy.
If depression pushes too hard when I am most vulnerable, It might lose me.
So, keeping me alive is important. All of the issues of the day are not important to depression. As long as it has me second-guessing my relationship with the outside world, then it is doing its job. If it can get me to keep secrets, then it gets bonus bucks. And the more that it can have me implement its plans, the stronger it becomes.
Why I listen to depression is something I am still working on.
But I do know that depression is not very happy about the steps I am taking to learn about it. Depression wants to be the be-all and know-all in my life. When it sees me flying off to a SMART recovery conference in Chicago, it gets nervous. And when I attend a peer support session at On Our Own, depression starts to cry.
Depression wants me to stop all this resisting and just say “I give up.”
After all, depression has been with me my entire life and it tells me it knows me better than I know myself. And it thinks it knows me better than my family, my friends, and those I work with. My depression thinks a lot of itself and wants me to see it in the most favorable light.
And I have fallen for this unhelpful thinking style more than a few times in my life.
The outside observer looking in may characterize some of my actions as giving up. After all, I am listening to depression and following its lead. During these times, depression plays a starring role in my life. And while it lets me think I am in control; my depression knows that it is really calling the shots. Depression is happier when I just follow along and comply with its wishes.
Giving up and committing suicide is not what my depression is looking for when it gets me to say, “I give up.”
Depression is saying “you are mine” and I am the one behind the curtain pulling the strings. It is me that keeps you going and protects you from yourself and others. My depression tells me that by being secretive, I can develop a better relationship with it. By using one of its unhelpful thinking styles, depression wants me to see how much easier my life is when it is in charge.
Learning about the Change Triangle, DBT, or having a Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) I can consult, offends my depression.
My depression wants to be the top dog, the master of me and my world. And there are times when it has succeeded. But in the 4 years since I was in 5 East, depression has been less and less in control. The more I learn about depression and my relationship with it, the more I can see what it is up to. And the more I see what it is doing, the more I can employ the tools I have learned to stay one step ahead.
Or at least I can see very quickly what it is up to.
The more I practice coping skills, the better I am at seeing what depression is trying to do. I can see where it is trying to lead me, and how it just wants me to say “I give up,” so it can be 100% in charge of my life.
Facing my depression, I can finally say, “I have depression, depression does not have me.”
This statement has my depression panicking. It sees my new understanding of depression as a direct threat to our relationship, Depression is trying everything it can do to keep me from learning how to lead a balanced life with depression. And it gets angry when I am able to catch myself using its unhelpful thinking.
So, the forces of good and evil are still working things out in my head.
I am certain that both sides want me to stay in the fight, and both sides see themselves as the good guys. But I can see past the stuff depression is dishing out and can finally call it out. Facing depression and using its name is very empowering. Instead of sweeping this last episode under the rug, I am examining it from every angle.
After 45+ years, I am learning why depression happens to me, and how I can recognize it before I am circling the drain.
I consider this a victory for me, and my depression gets disappointed. Having me give up has been one of the major goals that my depression tries to achieve. Each time it gets me to participate, it shows me the future and how easy it will be when I just give up and listen to it.
“I am done with my depression running my life.”
Saying “I give up” has never been my objective, even as I admit to saying this over the years. Now, today, I am that much more committed to understanding my depression and to finding ways I can lead a balanced life with my depression.