I just want a day off from pushing the rock up the hill.
Is that too much to ask? Day after day after day I wake up and stare at the same freaky rock. Some days, I admit, that rock looks like a huge boulder and the hill look like a vertical wall of solid granite. These are my “half-dome” days, when the hill looks to me like Half Dome at Yosemite National Park in California.
And then there are my “lake placid” days, where the rock is a pebble and the rise in the hill is nearly impossible to see.
I appreciate those days and would love to say most of my days are like that. However, my days fluctuate and so does the size of the rock and the steepness of the hill. Having days that are not the same is a human trait, not just a trait I have because I have depression. Everybody has incredibly beautiful days. Days where the sky is bluer, the grass is greener, and everything “comes up Milhouse.” (Thank you Simpsons)
When the day is easy, I forget that there are any other kind of days.
Maybe this is how it should be. But when the opposite kind of day appears, I spend the day focusing on positive affirmations. I tell myself I can get through this, that I am stronger than depression and I will prevail.
On the good days, my self-talk does not include tempering my thoughts.
I relish the good times and the way it makes me feel. Having a good day increases my creation of positive endorphins. For years, I have used “to-do” lists, both at work and at home. There have been times where I will do a task that is not on the list. Often, I will then write that task on my list just so I can cross it off. That makes me feel good, creates positive endorphins, and builds on my sense of accomplishment.
Being a “glass half full” kind of guy, I cannot wrap my head around negative self-talk.
When I hear someone say “I’m so stupid” or “I’m not good at …” I want to explode. They often think it is self-deprecating humor, but it is an extension of their vison of themselves. I know that I am not avoiding this 100% of the time, but I know that I very rarely ever think of myself that way.
Even as I was getting out of bed this morning, I knew today is going to be a lake placid day.
The past few days have been challenging and my vision of the rock and the hill was large. It was like being off my feed. Things were not “head for the abyss” bad, but there were no unicorns either. The projects I completed at home and at work gave me some satisfaction, but this did not make the rock, or the hill seem smaller.
Having a positive outlook for the day does not mean that there will not be any challenges.
What it does mean is I know that I can decide how I will react and respond to those challenges. My attitude towards the day will frame how I handle each part. And the good parts will seem even sweeter, while the harder parts will be quite a bit less stressful.
This is a remarkable gift, the ability to control how we think.
I take this for granted so often, when I should be saying thank you, thank you, thank you. Today I may encounter some of the same challenges I had yesterday. But I am already confident that I will be able to handle them with much less drama and stress.
Understanding my role in what happens to me, helps me put my depression in perspective.
I am looking forward to the day and whatever it brings. My positive, “lets do it” attitude will be beside me as each event unfolds. And this positive energy will help me consider the best way to approach each part of the day. It may be redundant to say, but my motto for years has been, “I love getting up in the morning, because I learn something new every day.”