The dark hole of depression

The last month and a half have been pretty rough for me.  I’ve never really been that affected by winter weather/dreariness, but I’ve really been feeling the deep, dark hole lately.  My therapist (CZ) and fellow recovering girls tell me depression and anxiety are caused by a chemical imbalance that can’t just be willpowered away, but given my “suck it up” upbringing and need to control, well, everything, that doesn’t really make me feel better.  That said, after MUCH resistance, and a handful of truly miserable weeks, I finally decided to see a doctor to help with the brain chemicals.

I’ve been warned that it takes some time for these kinds of medications, so in the meantime I kept talking to CZ about how I think I should be able to conquer my feelings on my own and how getting stuck in my disordered behaviors adds to the frustration and other negative feeligns.  She gave me the following “Autobiography” and told me that it takes time to unravel thoughts and feelings that have had 30+ years to develop.

 

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

By Portia Nelson

I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place
but, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

III

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
my eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

IV

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

V

I walk down another street.

I’m probably somewhere between chapters II and III.  Between pretending I don’t see the hole and falling in out of habit.  Between not knowing how I ended up here and blaming myself.  Thankfully, while trying to rationalize my thoughts/feelings, the universe dropped the animation below into my lap and it really spoke to me.

I’ve always been one to “silverlining” things and try to point out the upside.  I guess I figured pointing out the positives would have to make me/other people feel better.  But as it turns out, pointing out positives does little to correct a chemical imbalance or disordered/distorted feelings about a long-standing behavior.  In fact, I have found that it only makes me feel worse about the fact that I’m in this hole to begin with.  “You have so much to be happy about” is a really hard thing to hear, when I’m struggling to simply make it through the day; like I should be able to just turn that frown upside down.  “Think of all the people who have it worse” does not make me feel better for me OR them; it merely makes me believe that I have no right to feel the way I do.  This new perspective might still not make me feel better, but it helps me be a little more accepting and empathetic of myself.  It encourages me to try to understand myself, rather than to push myself into changing the way I feel.

 

If you have some time, and haven’t already seen it, this is a very worthwhile (and entertaining) read on the subject of depression.

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2011/10/adventures-in-depression.html

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2013/05/depression-part-two.html

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One Response to The dark hole of depression

  1. Pingback: The Shift: Being Stuck to Taking Action | Recovering Girl

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