At some point this year, I gave up on the idea of Recovery. And I switched to the idea of Management.
This sounds very much like I have given up. But in fact, I think it is the opposite. I no longer hope for a long term goal of being free of depression, but I work for a daily goal of improving today.
Depression is so invisible, even to the person who is drowning in its waters. I have spent my life dogged by varying degrees of depression. Most of that time, I either didn’t recognize it, or didn’t acknowledge it. But it remained none the less
There have been times when it was clearly predominant and deeply entrenched in every aspect of my life, as it was when I couldn’t leave my bed, eventually ran out of money and became homeless.
There have been times when it ran quietly in the background, while I ran a call center of 70 people, had a very active social life and felt physically great. In those days, I refused to acknowledge it because my life was wonderful, I couldn’t be depressed.
Depression is there. Sometimes it is quiet and less dampening, only pestering the quiet corners of my life. Sometimes it is everywhere. But its not going away. My brain has deep ruts in certain pathways that make up depression.
So now I accept it and plan a way out of its problematic aspects. Now I just want to live a life that is better than the one I have been living for the last 10 years.
I’m working on developing habits and routines, so my brain will have entrenched pathways to go to when I need to do things. Habits make life run more easily, so when I’m depressed, its easier to start the brain program for an already established habit than to do something I have no set habit for.
But not all of life is a routine. So, now my life must planned like a battle. Each day, the depression must be assessed. How deep is the hole today? How much of an effort is it going to be? Each day a plan must be done. And on days when the hole is deep, each activity, will be broken into tiny tasks. Each tiny task must be tackled one at a time. Each tiny task must have a timer set for its start. T minus 20 minutes to get out of bed.
This doesn’t sound very pleasant. And some days it isn’t and somedays it just doesn’t happen at all. But what is pleasant is the feeling of victory I get when I accomplish things that other people just don’t even notice.
And what is most important is that since I started this change of view – my life has improved. My mindset has improved and the depression doesn’t seem as impossible to conquer anymore.
Because I’m no longer hoping for complete annihilation of the depression. I’m working for domination over the depression.
Image by Mrbasilisk on Deviantart.