Whether we can see it or not, there is always a lesson in whatever circumstances we may find ourselves.
In my last couple of blogs, I have shared quite openly of my struggle adjusting to the changes that have occurred because of my pump issues in the past year and a half. What I have not quite so openly shared is how all of this has resulted in a major depressive episode.
While nothing stays the same (for which I am grateful, quite honestly), I have realized recently that I am far better at coping with inevitable impermanence when I am able to be an active participant somehow in the changes.
The nature of the physical changes and pain issues last year seemed to take away my ability to co create and to participate in my life in any active way. Perhaps that is what I am grieving the most in the bigger scheme of things right now.
I would like to share about how I see this depression developing from the perspective that I have now, as I am starting to come out of it.
When the depressive mindset begins to take over, it is somewhat sneaky and gradual. It may begin with thoughts like, “Everything I try, fails,” or “Everyone must be tired of me.”
These sorts of generalizations are a red flag that our thoughts are not quite rational. These thoughts turn into beliefs we have about ourselves–not always consciously. These thoughts turned into beliefs might look like, “I am a failure” or “I am not worthy of love and support.”
These thoughts and beliefs begin to fuel thoughts of other “failures” or “mistakes” we have made in the past until we find ourselves unable to focus on much else. We then filter our present lives through these negative and irrational beliefs.
Having spent most of my childhood and adulthood with this depressive mindset, I usually can see it coming.
At one point in my life, I wanted to legally change some part of my name to Murphy because I was convinced that the only universal principle my life operated under was Murphy’s Law.
The filter through which I viewed my life and events was that of powerlessness and essentially, I waited for the other shoe to drop—and it always did (or at least that is the only thing I saw through this filter).
Perspective is everything and when I have been operating from a depressed mindset, my perspective is always skewed. I know my history and I have learned to be vigilant for the red flags. For years, I have been successful in using my support system and other healthy coping strategies to manage it.
What I have found most helpful is being present and being an active participant in my life. I create (to whatever degree possible) what happens next and how I choose to perceive it.
While I held on to this ability through a fair portion of the last year and ½, when the intractable pain began, it got lost.
Once the main portion of the pain was resolved with the surgery in September 2011, I found myself conditioned by the “Murphy-like” circumstances to be waiting for the next physical crisis.
It was not irrational given the circumstances, but was still a red flag for me about my emotional status.
I knew I was in trouble emotionally because I could not get control over which thoughts were getting my energy.
The thoughts that were getting most of my energy and attention were about the physical, financial, and other shoes that continued to drop without a break over the last few months.
I felt like I was juggling shoes, and while I was doing that, my perspective had become more fatalistic than it had been in years.
It wasn’t until my primary care doctor’s appointment that I realized just how depressed I was, but it was also on that day that I realized I could take back control over my life.
Generally speaking, I am quite the empowered human and seek to empower others, but this depressed mindset had robbed me of my personal power.
It convinced me that reaching out to my supports would be negative and I would be perceived as weak-minded, that everyone must be sick of me, etc. It left me feeling disconnected and alone, which couldn’t be farther from reality.
Since then, I have sought to prove the depressed beliefs wrong and to expose them for the irrational entities they are.
I have reached out to friends, shared my irrational thoughts, and have been able to process them from a more rational perspective. It always amazes me how something as simple as sharing thoughts and feelings can take away the power we have given them.
I have also sought out and decided on a course of action to try to help manage the nerve and pain issues that remain.
I gave my power away to certain doctors and to pain last year. It was a process that spiraled quickly into a loss of personal power for me. What a powerful lesson! Now that I am more conscious of it and more able to actively participate in my life, I can start to take my power back.