I’m writing this with dirt under my nails. Metaphorical dirt, but it’s there. Crawling out of the deep hole of depression is a tough thing, but as soon as you notice the dirt under your nails, I think it’s the start of the healing.
Typically, I’m upbeat, optimistic, and have smiles to spare, but I’ve been struggling hard – harder than usual – over the past week or so. As a depressed person, I’m a fairly quick cycler, meaning I suffer my highs and lows rapidly but can be under the radar as depressed for long stretches where you’d swear nothing is wrong. My survival instincts and brave face are sharp and well-rehearsed. I’ve not managed that kind of control over the last bunch of days. I have spent a lot of time in tears, in bed, and generally helpless with crippling anxiety. I hit the bottom yesterday, recovered over this morning, and am now feeling like there is a way up.
I’m reading a book and there’s an interesting connection between yoga philosophy and the Stop Thinking, Start Living way. The past is done and any time we analyse it (which I can do TO DEATH) we make a kind of false reality in our minds. The past is done, and you need to know it, let it be the past, and move forward. Every time you revisit a negative past experience, you breathe new life into a kind of film in your mind that serves one purpose: to make you miserable. Does replaying the past ever make the outcome different? No. Does it always cause stress and pain? Yes. Let it go.
The future is also a dangerous beast to mental health. You can construct as much fiction as you want about the future, get all worked up about it, and be miserable, or you can just let it happen. I’m not saying you can’t make plans, but unhealthy obsessing, lists of what-ifs, do no good. Energy wasted, misery created.
What you can do is keep moving forward. I decided earlier today – whilst talking Pete through his own mood crash – that inside me (and inside everyone) there is an anchor that we choose to drop in the past by dwelling on it. Pull up the anchor. You have a choice and the power to do it, even when you feel trapped and helpless. Sometimes you have to wait it out awhile, till you hit bottom and start crawling out, but you can move forward.
I realise I’m mixing metaphors with my dirty nails and anchors, but nothing about depression makes sense, so let’s just go with it, ok?
Right. The important thing is that even though you may not be able to fix your brain chemistry and wiring, you can make more positive choices with your thinking. Be here now. Let the past go. Let the future happen when it happens. Be here now and keep moving forward. And be really proud of the dirt under your nails.