Depression's mindset

Depression’s mindset

Since the world fell to the mercy of the COVID-19 virus, I have been plagued with a low-grade sense of dread; a feeling that I have become all too familiar with over the years; my life has been held hostage by depression for as long as I can remember. To make matters worse, my mind has been hijacked by depression’s mindset.

Ways to cope though COVID-19:

Depression’s mindset

Over the years, I have learned that each mental illness has its own language; an interior dialect that can dictate how far down the rabbit hole I go. For example; when my anxiety disorder is speaking the loudest, it does so after it incorrectly accesses the environment I am in. When my anxiety is high, it will tell me that no one likes me.

Of course, this conclusion can’t really be true, can it? In reality, there’s no evidence of that. Similarly, depressive talk is responsible for brewing a deep sense of sadness within me. While this is somewhat obvious when we think about depression, its how my mind gets there that’s important.

Depression’s mindset is born out of the chatter in our heads.

In short, I am held captive by depression when I am experiencing the absence of something that gives me meaning or that I hold dearly; like friends and family. When denied, I find it difficult to defend my rational self; the sorrow just becomes too much.

How to find meaning in your life.

When this great brain invader speaks, my energy dwindles and I isolate myself. Pretty powerful right? So powerful in fact that it takes me out. Normally, I am a person with high energy and loads of passion. Sadly, but when the darkness settles over me, I am forced to retreat to my bedroom; mainly because of a few reoccurring lines bouncing around in my head.

Depression’s mindset

So then, what are these few dominating sentences that form depression’s mindset? Since my biggest passion in life is the love I have for family and friends, I tend to ruminate on them when I am experiencing a depressive episode.

What gets me down or exacerbates my lows is constantly thinking about their absence. Moreover, I tend to get angry at the fact that few of those I care for reach out. Although I understand that this is not done to be malicious, it nonetheless makes my isolation all the more difficult.

I mean, what the hell are we so busy doing?

What fuels the flames of this anger is this line; How can people not want to reach out when they care for someone? Sure, you may think about them often but that does little for those who care for you. I’m reminded of the old saying; “deeds not words.” Oneway relationships really cut and make you feel like you’re the only one trying.

Furthermore, my depressive voice only makes the dark even darker when I find myself saying; “It’s silly for people to use the excuse that they are too busy to call, go for coffee or stop in. To me, there’s no greater feeling then when someone whom you love calls and takes the initiative.

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Sadly, this rarely happens. When I am well, it still bothers me but I manage it well; when held captive by depression’s mindset, it makes me want to sever ties with everyone. After all, why should I be the only one making the effort? Truly, does being “too busy” really trump the company of someone you care for? I mean, what the hell are we so busy doing? Binge-watching Netflix, playing video games and constantly staring at our phones? In my mind’s eye, we aren’t busy so much as we, just don’t “feel” like it.

you just might save a life

Equally sad, is that this “too busy” phenomenon has, at some point been normalized and for the life of me, I can’t figure out how we justify deprioritizing those who matter the most.

Finally, I remain hopeful that this unprecedented health crisis will help us to realine our priorities; to show us that we must make time for our loved ones; thereby cultivating our very real survival need for connection.

So, if you wish to quell your anxiety, fear and depression, put down that device, pause Netflix and whatever else you are doing and just reach out. You never know, you just might save a life.

In crisis? Call 1.833.456.4566 | Text 45645 (Crisis Services Canada) Crisis Services Canada

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A difference a day makes

a difference a day makes.

As I wake to greet a brand new day, I breathe a sigh of relief. And, in the first few minutes, I’ve been awake. I am already feeling better than I did yesterday and as the day progresses, My sprits remain high; I can’t help but think what a difference a day makes.

Yesterday, I spent the majority of my day sleeping. I cared little for the beautiful day that lay just beyond my window. Having made the decision to have my kids shelter in place with their mother weeks ago, I have found my mood slipping more and more.

Although I know I made the right decision, knowing that does little to ease the pain of missing them. I find some moments, hours and even some days unbearable. All I want is to hug them and breath in the simple things that matter most.

Dealing with mental illness and isolation.

How I learned to ride the wave.

When it comes to my mental health, I am faced with some pretty tough challenges, ones that don’t get better overnight. PTSD, for example, is relentless, cruel and unforgiving; all things that keep me up at night. However, I have managed to find ways to cope through my depressive episodes, flashbacks and feeling that overstimulating effects that come with the wider world.

With that said, sometimes coping skills like mindfulness, exercise and cognitive behavioural approaches just don’t work and I find my self drowning in a sea of mental despair

Thankfully, I have come to realize that even the most challenging episodes always pass; all I have to do is ride the wave and bear its brunt. Once the storm passes, I am able to employ the skills I have learned in therapy.

Overall, I have learned that while in the peak of the mental storm, it’s ok to shut down; it’s not something that needs to be solved, it just is what it is. Like me, you’ll be ok too. Tomorrow, you will see a difference a day makes.

Why do we feel like its wrong?

In a quest for the answer to this question, I have come to a few conclusions. Firstly, When a mental illness has control over the way we feel, it has control over the way we think; highjacking our neurology is what it does best and sabotage is its game.

When we are overcome with mental illness, it tells us that we are not good people and convinces us that worthless in the process. Moreover, it seems the lager the episode, the larger the worthlessness and guilt we feel. Do we know this is not true? Of course, does it make us feel better when in these darker moments? Of course not. Ah, the power of the mind to turn on itself; almost like an autoimmune disease, when the body turns on itself.

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Secondly, Stigma plays a role in the intensity of the guilt we feel. This shame exacerbates the intensity of the dread that we feel. After all, our ability to keep ourselves going is how we measure our worth as people.

A difference a day makes

However incorrect this assumption may be, we nonetheless allow it to dominate and define us and as a result, we hate ourselves when our mental health takes a huge hit.

I for one will no longer be at the mercy of stigma’s mythology; my pain is already enough on its own. It really doesn’t matter what people think, especially when they are wrong.

So, remember, sometimes we have to ride the wave and wait for tomorrow. It really is amazing, a difference a day makes. You and I have survived 100% of our worst days, therefore, we can do it again. We are mental health warriors.

In crisis? Call 1.833.456.4566 | Text 45645 (Crisis Services Canada) Crisis Services Canada

Want to help make my book a reality? Donate here: GoFundMe

Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness

Fooled Again

Got Fooled Again

Every time I feel free from mental illness, it comes roaring back and I end up being fooled again.

The dominating force that is mental illness is an indecisive old entity; cruel beyond measure; it teases with moments where you are free from its grasp; then, like that of the head torturer, it throws you back into your prison cell once it’s convinced you you are free. I knew in my heart that I was fooled again.

Since just before the new year, I have been enjoying the refreshing air of happiness. Believe me, I have been breathing it in; much like you would on a crisp fall evening. Sure, I could self-sabotage this inner peace but the last depressive episode was so intense, all I feel is relief.

It’s a reminder that mental illness still holds a firm grip over my ability to consistently live my life.

One area I have been successful in, in terms of my illness recovery is in the department of rumination. Although it tends to go to shit on all things PTSD related, I’m able to hold on to the morsels of happy that come my way.

However, I suck at is dealing with loud noises, people and sudden bangs or crashes. It’s just too much despite the ongoing efforts to learn mindfulness. I guess I have yet to harness its powers to the degree where I can handle it.

complete list of PTSD symptoms here

Looking back on this period of joy, I see that; after the holidays, everything returned to peace and quiet; the floodgates of relief opened because I felt safe. So, even though I wasn’t turning the corner on my healing journey, this moment was still worthy of my embrace. When on top of the world, I always secretly hope that something cured me of my disorders, fooled again.

the best advice I can give you is not to self-sabotage your happy

Just yesterday, I started to feel the push towards my cell, slowly overtaking me as I resume the everyday busy of life; being forced to reintegrate myself back into the fray of possible death and destruction. It’s a reminder that mental illness still holds a firm grip over my ability to consistently live my life.

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Got Fooled again

What keeps me from losing hope, from descending into depths too low to free myself is the moments of happiness. So, the best advice I can give you is not to self-sabotage your happy moments with thoughts that place you back in your cage; thoughts like “Today is going too well, how will that be ruined?” When we do that, we quickly find a reason to say I told me so.

“We get to choose where we put our energy”

John Arenburg.

Want to help make my book a reality? Donate here: GoFundMe

Contact: The Road To Mental Wellness