Forever in the moment – Is it really true that our mental pain will never end, or does it just feel that way?
Hey, you, are you going through a dark period? Maybe a depressive episode, or perhaps you’re so anxious that you are near panic? Feels like forever in the moment, doesn’t it? Well, thankfully there’s good news – nothing lasts forever.
But in the moment of a depressive episode, we feel absolutely trapped. Not only do we feel trapped, but we also feel like surrendering. After all, we’ve been in this dark hell so many times, giving up seems logical.
Here’s the thing, When Depression Speaks, we fall under its spell, and it happens over and over. So, then, what does this tell us? Well, to me it says we aren’t forever in the moment of pain, rather it comes and goes. Especially if we don’t understand that we are held back from joy by it. Although for many, their mental health condition waxes and wanes, it nonetheless sees moments of improvement.
And it’s this improvement that’s important. Why? Because it shows us that permanency is a myth. This holds true for any of the feelings – happy, anger, sadness, and so on.
Think back to a time when you were so happy you thought to yourself, “I never want this moment to end.” Maybe it’s the date that brought you and your partner together, or you held your sleepy child in your arms as you were both drifting off to sleep.
As much as we wanted times like these to never end, we, nonetheless, know they will come to an end. Moreover, we seem to understand that while we are in these very special moments, we need to be present while in them. That’s why we feel all warm and fuzzy while lying next to our loved one for example.
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Why, though? Why is it we understand the best moments in our lives are temporary, yet in our moments of absolute despair, we fail to see that the same is true?
Well, in my view, the answer is both simple and complex. Firstly, It’s the level of pain. Pain, whether it be physical or mental, is designed to keep you in the moment so you can free yourself from its cause. Or keep you from repeating the thing that caused it in the first place.
But more than that, when it comes to mental pain, it depends on brain chemistry optimization among other things. Things like inflammation, alterations to certain areas of the brain and so on.
Perhaps one of the most significant factors, at least from a neurological perspective, is that we are wired to prioritize negative experience. Therefore, it’s reasonable to assume that we find ourselves too consumed by our pain to see that the storms pass.
Dread is like a weight that drowns us; angst is the great distractor, and sadness, the final defeat. And just like the warm and fuzzies, its intense, only in the opposite direction. It’s no wonder we feel like there is no end in sight.
Fear not my friends, to one degree or another, moments come to an end. To what degree is the question. It’s true that some with depression are living a life of misery – especially those with treatment resistant depression.
However, I believe that we need to make the seemingly little wins a much bigger deal. Why? Because they are! While we may feel like we are forever in the moment, glimpses of light do happen. They happen when we get up and are finally able to greet the day; when we go for coffee with a friend after a long bout of depressive isolation; and when we find ourselves laughing for the first time in days.
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When I went off work because of PTSD, I was left in limbo while I waited to see if I would be awarded Workers Compensation. It was long and painful, hanging in the darkness of my home.
So, I began to try and figure out this PTSD thing; how did I get here? I was a firefighter, so I knew that much but my battled with anxiety and depression was a life-long battle.
I began to write out my story, mostly to help quell the angst of being lonely and in mental illness purgatory. It helped – immensely. I survived the dark because of it.
Now, it’s here – written for therapeutic intervention and published in hopes that it can do the same for you or someone you know…..
So, you see that while it may seem like we are forever in the moment of despair, we are in fact not. Rather, we are in varying degrees of pain. Argo, we are not truly in the forever grip of the most intense moments in our lives.
When we learn to recognize this, a process one can learn through therapy, we can learn to embrace the better days instead of registering them as the same level of mental discomfort.
Finally, your newfound awareness can serve as a catalyst for a faster recovery time and thus, a better quality of life for you. Today is the best time to get the help you deserve – good luck!