DEPRESSION DETOX (PART 1)
“The only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” – F.D. Roosevelt
Being one who struggles with depression, I often find myself looking to and living in an unseen future. I am constantly awaiting my arrival to a new and improved landscape in which I will finally allow myself to live wholeheartedly, knowing that my struggles are finally behind me. I am beginning to see a major flaw in my way of thinking. By constantly waiting for a better future, my present is being only half lived, and then filed away as memories; memories filled with longing for something different, which ultimately may or may not come. This is starting to really bother me. What if my struggle with depression stays with me for my life time? What if it remains, an aptly named “thorn in the flesh” that is never removed? I do not want to live the majority of my life in “what if?” and “if only…” regardless of my mood. So, yesterday, while under the trance of my leaf blower, as I blew the reckless needles that endlessly defect into my yard from a neighbouring tree, I starting thinking about how I could remedy my current problem (NOT the needles, I was clearly blasting them into submission!).
My first thought? I need to stop being so AFRAID!
Easier said than done.
The world can be difficult and heart wrenching. Furthermore, I can be extremely sensitive to it’s insensitivity. Because of this, I have learned to guard my heart and mind with loud protestations against “freedom” or haphazard living. I have always tried to heed warnings from those around me whom I respect, and carefully inspect my options, desperate for a clear, lighted path to emerge. Almost by default, I avoid the path of least resistance, because, after all, if it’s not difficult, it must not be the right choice!
It has taken me some time to come to the understanding that this is perfectionism, once again, rearing it’s ugly head. There is actually very little in this world that I can control; very little that I get to choose. Even then, there are no guarantees that if I make the right decisions, that everything will turn out well. SO – how do I proceed inspite of my fears? How do I really live, when fear is constantly nipping at my heels, threatening to bite or attack? Or how do we, as F. D. Roosevelt acknowledged in his inaugural address in 1933, “convert retreat into advance”?
A thought came to me – as I power-tooled my way through my neighbours needles: fun. Plain, simple, child-like fun is the perfect antidote for fear. Why is that? Well, fun can stop the harmful effects of fear in our lives. Fun can be a counter agent. When fear tries to creep into our lives, try throwing a little fun at him and see how he suddenly finds it impossible to stay so serious! No, it doesn’t completely remove fear, but being able to laugh inspite of my fear, does a pretty good job at disarming its destructive tendencies in my life. What if I chose to have a little more fun in my life instead of guarding my heart from the next big disaster?
I hope it doesn’t need to be said, that I don’t, for one minute, believe that all we need to do is have fun, and our depression will fade. I have struggled for far too long to know that isn’t the case. However, I have noticed in my own life how I tend to shy away from the fun or frivolous, only to get stuck in my own murky disabling gloom. I don’t often feel like smiling, joking, or frolicking when my mood is low, but if I fight through the swamp to dry, lighter land I am often pleasantly surprised.
Fun may seem simplistic or even juvenile but it is one way we can disarm, avert and redirect our fear, hopefully changing our “retreat into advance”.
Becoming Ordinary: Day 220