I’ve talked about the marathon and the sprint and the road trip that having depression and finding happiness is taking me. I also mentioned the little Devil on my shoulder that likes me to feel bad about myself. If anyone wanted to know what depression felt like, it feels like I have this little Devil on my shoulder and he’s got that Angel tied up and held hostage. The Devil wants me to feel bad about myself. He wants me to hate myself and think I’m unworthy of anything good or happy in my life. He wants me to believe that no one likes me or cares about me. He is always whispering negative thoughts in my ear so I become afraid to take a step forward in the right direction.
The Depression Devil who has it’s roots buried pretty deep in my shoulder today is telling me I’m not worthy of being happy. It’s telling me that it is my job to make sure I do everything to make sure others are happy, but I don’t deserve that in return. I am trying to learn that no matter how bad things are today, there is always a tomorrow and I am worth the chance of being happy.
The Depression Devil likes to make me feel like I’m a fraud. He likes to make me feel like that every time I step into the gym. I know what I have accomplished there and what I am capable of. Yet for the past week, every time I have set foot in the gym (especially since Christmas Eve when I went “running” out of there in tears) I have felt like such a fraud walking in there.
I feel like a fraud when I have a good day. When I actually feel happy and I have a little bit of optimism. Then the Depression Devil squeezes my shoulder and reminds me of how bad I felt yesterday, or this morning and I feel like I’m faking happiness and I have no idea what it really is to be happy. I worry that he will take my happiness away and then I figure that I’m better off being unhappy at all times.
If you know me, please know that is not true. I hate that you are seeing that face. I am not an unhappy person at all times. I love life. I want to live my life. I don’t want to be depressed. I want to embrace all that life has to offer. I’m just lost right now and I may need your reassurance and helping hand to find that. I’m not a fraud. I need to pause. Take a breath and think it all through. It’s okay to feel happy and that just because I’m having a good day doesn’t mean I’m faking it. Depression doesn’t rule my life.
I just finished reading this book by Dr. Robert Duff . I also follow him on twitter. I’m struggling right now and I wanted to share the notes I took from the book if you don’t mind indulging me. My comments are in bold
~depressive hopelessness is not the result of logical reasoning. It is a trick that your mind plays on you to convince you that it’s not worth trying. I am struggling today…well for the past week and a few days…with feeling hopeless. No, I’ve been feeling worthless. I don’t have anyone who cares about me. I don’t have anyone who thinks I am worthy of caring about.
~The voice in my/your head, the one that tells you there is no point in trying is completely wrong. I know the “depression devil” on my shoulder is lying to me. Isn’t that the root of the devil? He tempts you with lies. (Not that I am a religious person in any way shape or form). But the depression devil is very convincing. He is telling me that no one cares about me. That I suck at all I do. I should just go live in a cave and let the world forget I existed. Get out of peoples lives before I make them any worse. That everyone hates me.
~Before you jump to conclusions based on your gut feeling and the influence of the depression devil on your shoulder, give yourself the chance to examine the evidence. If it turns out that all of the objective evidence still points to something upsetting, then, by all means, be upset.
~Shitty things should feel shitty.
~If you are experiencing depression, it is almost guaranteed that you are distorting the way in which you interpret the world to match gross feelings in your heart.The way I am interpreting the world right now is through a fun house mirror. I know my depression is in full swing right now and I’m just holding on.
~One way to counteract this process and bring about a healthier pattern of thinking is to avoid keeping it to yourself. I am trying to do this. It is hard. I’m embarrassed to tell people what is in my head. I fear they will think less of me and mock me behind my back.
~If you have people in your life that you can talk to, tell them a bit about what you are struggling with internally. Help them understand your thought process and invite their feedback about whether it makes sense.
~Tell them that you just want to know what they would do and that you aren’t looking to be told everything will be okay.
~opening up can be scary. Especially when you know that deep down your current thought process is a bit skewed.Opening up to anyone I trust, believe I can trust, is fucking terrifying. Like I mentioned before. I fear they will think less of me and see me as weak and worthless.
~No one likes to be thought of as crazy.
~Don’t ask them if you should be upset, ask them if your line of thinking makes sense?
So when the depression devil pops up on your shoulder and whispers some stupid self-sabotaging pseudo-logic in your ear, you also have your panel of trusted advisors that pop up and provide some alternative approaches that they would be more likely to employ.