How much time must pass before so-called self pity changes into something more nebulous and much more nefarious?
Swimming in swill
I know nothing of its source or motivation, but I have to congratulate depression for its craftiness. How do a few harsh words, uttered or beheld, entice the lurking beast to extend a foul appendage to wrap around me?
I feel the beginning of its embrace, usually masked in guilt or self-admonition. The cycle of negativity ensues as the grasp tightens.
I’m no good. I’m not worthy of the things I’m thankful for. Leave others alone. Leave me alone.
It might sound odd to some, but there’s a twisted kind of comfort in those thoughts, feelings and actions. Perhaps it’s similar to the feeling a smoker gets when they take that first drag from a freshly lit cigarette. Or how a glutton feels while eating cheesecake after a large meal.
I know what I’m doing isn’t good for me. But it’s my choice, dammit. Let me be.
My therapist tells me I must find the positive side to whatever negativity is running through my mind, feelings, actions. He says there’s always a source to negativity and there’s always another angle to view/feel/do something.
“What about those times where I just want to be depressed?” I asked, expecting rebuke.
“Go for it. But set a time limit for yourself.”
Putting that into practice hasn’t been easy. What’s an appropriate time limit? That’s not really something you can Google. The best way to do it is to experiment. Through setting that limit and holding myself to it, I do feel better afterward. I don’t want to feel this way. That’s what 95% of myself says.
Cling to something, anything
I give myself things to look forward to in the future to get me through whatever shittiness is on the windshield. If work is feeling unrewarding, I think about something coming up on the weekend. If my kids/family members/whatever are pissing me off on the weekend, I think about a project at work where I can apply myself.
There’s always another side to look at what’s going on in front of you. Wallowing in the filth of your own depression makes that truth hard to believe.
Be mindful of the present
I don’t want to allow the pain from the past or the uncertainty of the future to rob me of the joy in the present. And I don’t want my sour attitude to rob others.
Take a minute or two to just breathe. I focus on the air entering my lungs. I feel all the essential functions my body performs to keep me alive. My heart pushing blood throughout my body. I am grateful for my life. I let the air escape through my mouth.
Stay strong. Reach out for help and you’ll get it. It’s just that simple.