This is a post I’ve been mulling over for a couple of weeks. It ties in with the Courage to Change Award so I’ve decided to write it this morning. I must preface what I write … please don’t think that I’m suggesting that anyone with depression just needs to pull themselves together and get over it. If you can do that then you’re probably not in a very deep pit.
When I’m depressed I tend to retreat from life. I spend a lot of time in bed, daydreaming and drowsing, with the radio and William-cat for company. I don’t get dressed. I don’t go out. If I get out of bed, it’s to lie on the sofa. I might play a computer game. I might watch TV. I probably feel very sorry for myself and return to bed as soon as I can think of an excuse to lessen my guilt at being a big, fat, lazy slug which doesn’t deserve good things.
And like attracts like. Depressed behaviour attracts depressive thoughts: ‘Look at me. I’ve been out for bed for 30 minutes and all I can do is crawl back to it. This is pointless. My life is pointless. I am pointless.’ And so the cycle continues as I cry myself to sleep and wake up a few hours later feeling hungover and worse than before.
Breaking the cycle is hard. Sometimes it’s very hard. I’ve written before about the help that’s available (Out of the Pit) and my first task is to access that help. It’s hard to admit that I’m struggling. An effort of will is required.
Now I need to start climbing. I need to guard my sleep and in a depressive episode that means no napping and not going to bed straight after dinner. An effort of will is required.
What will I do if I’m not sleeping all the time? In time I’ll be able to pick up my usual activities but, for now, linked leisure lets me do something I consider worthwhile at home. It’s hard and requires an effort of will.
Now I’m climbing the ladder and like is attracting like. My thoughts are changing: ‘It was hard to finish filing those recipes but I’ve done it. Go me!’
I couldn’t do this without support, whether from friends and family or the medical professionals. But they can’t climb the ladder for me. I have to take each rung a step at a time. And each one requires an effort of will.