I tell myself I avoid drama, and yet many of my waking hours are spent creating all or nothing situations in my head.
I interrupt someone and get a short response. Immediately, my mind goes to the worst possible meaning of that response. They don’t love me. They’re mad at me for something. What did I do?
And silence is even worse.
My depression uses silence to get between me and my family. Depression will say “they didn’t say anything just then, so there is no hope of you living a balanced life with them. It would be better for you if you moved out, bought some land, and put up a Yurt.
If I can’t get the exact response I expect, then there is nothing left.
Immediately, I am alone. Thinking about this, I am painting myself as the victim. Consciously, I try to never be the victim. I do not engage in negative self-talk. My mind stays on the positive when I am speaking. But behind the curtain, depression is working to make sure I know that no one loves me but it. And I must listen to depression to keep myself safe.
Having listened to depression for most of my adult life, changing my thinking is not easy.
READ: 28 weeks into recovery, now I have residual depression?
I have learned about unhelpful thinking styles and have made progress in catching myself when I engage in that type of unhelpful thinking. Yet, for every success I have, there are two all or nothing thoughts that are developing in the background.
There was a lot of stress in the house leading up to yesterday’s virtual baby shower.
I knew that in my conscious mind and made sure I asked what I could do to help. But depression had already seized this tension to get me thinking all or nothing. If there is tension it must be my fault. It must be all my fault. And that means I must escape, to keep myself from creating more tension.
So, in my mind, I am distancing myself from everyone and interpreting any interaction in that all or nothing style.
When depression pulls out the all or nothing card, my mind starts down the road to me being alone. This makes it easier for depression to steer me towards the abyss. Or at least, circling the drain. I forget all the tools I have learned to examine this type of thinking. My subconscious mind is mulling over how to run. It reverts to fight or flight, and it has had enough fright.
On the surface, I am acting like nothing is going on.
Remember, I am an expert at concealed depression. I put on my high-functioning depression face and hit the ground harder than ever. No one is to know that I am feeling isolated. There is no reason to share my feelings with those I love. Only depression has a true answer to my problems. And depression will only give me that answer in private. And I must promise to keep it a secret, to never tell anyone.
Depression thrives on secrets.
And I have done my share of keeping its secrets, sometimes from even myself. Once I was an expert at concealing my depression from others, I focused on ways to conceal it from myself. This just reinforced my depression and over the years has helped it develop into the circle the drain episodes. And often, I was supporting this without realizing I had made depression all and normal thinking the only thing I was thinking.
Identifying this is only the first step to correcting this type of thinking.
READ: I’m still breaking up with depression
And I only spent five days off the reservation, with depression leading me to its own version of the promised land. And even as I was thinking this way, I was mad as hell. Anger festered as I realized what I would be giving up following depressions lead. Depression doesn’t give a darn about me, it just wants what it wants.
And I become the host for it’s all or nothing plans.
My concealed depression is written under the alias “Depression is not my boss.” I have certifications in SMART Recovery and am a Global Career Development Facilitator.
Diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder last year, I am sharing what I learn. If you know someone who might benefit from reading this, please share.
I very much appreciate your comments.
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