Living successfully with depression is tricky business. I have to try to avoid fatigue, fight food cravings that I know are going to bring on sugar crashes, push myself to go outside when it’s cold, and lift my aching back of the couch to get exercise.
As hard as all this is, the toughest part of averting a depressive episode is to catch and kill stinking thinking. I became aware, the other day, of just how cunning my messy head is at baiting me for a depressive period. I woke up feeling groggy (who doesn’t?) and thought “God I feel gross. Why did I eat so close to bedtime? I’m such a dingbat.”
I shuffled to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. “Argh I look like crap. I can’t stand the rings that are always under my eyes. I have to do my roots. Getting old sucks.” I woke up the kids. “Please do not give me a hassle this morning. I cannot handle another early morning shit show” I said to myself. I went downstairs to make tea. “I love this new green tea and got a great deal on it. I bet that won’t happen again.” Suddenly realized, “Shit! I forgot to send a meeting cancellation. Goddammit. I hate doing this admin shit.” Then I yanked open the blinds: “For Fuck’s Sake it’s snowing! I fucking hate this province.”
And so it began. In the space of 20 minutes my brain had shifted from neutral to running full speed toward a brick wall that would land me in bed for the rest of the day. And then it struck me. There was absolutely no substance to these thoughts. They were just random electrical charges running throughout my brain and, if I tried, I just might be able to turn off the switch.
So I tried. I flooded my head with positive thoughts: great moments with friends, compliments from colleagues. I went on YouTube and watched some inspirational videos. I projected good things that were going to happen that day, without knowing if they would happen. I checked in with my body and acknowledged the nervousness I was feeling about an upcoming teleconference. I breathed deeply with my hands in prayer position and released my negativity to the universe with my arms outstretched. I stated my mission to be genuine and bring my best self to my work and let go of the desire to be admired and respected.
The negative thoughts were still there, buzzing around my head like malaria infested mosquitoes but I slapped them away. It was hard work but I managed. I can’t guarantee success the next time they return but at least I’ll have the memory of the success I had this day to call upon – another weapon in the fight.
Me: 1 My messy head: 0