Some thoughts on depression

Life really sucks sometimes; sometimes I just say to myself that this whole experiment we call life just really hasn’t worked out for me. This is a familiar theme for me; I have written about it often over the last three decades.

In fact I really feel that my whole adult life has been some kind of awful comic tragedy. Nothing that I aspired to be or do when I was growing up has happened for me. I’m sure much of this is my fault, but it’s hard for me not to feel like the deck was somehow stacked against me from the beginning.

If I could just quit it all I would. I’m not implying suicide; I could not do that. But if I could somehow just quit, walk away from it all, I believe I would do so. If I could be reassured that my family would not realize my absence, and that there would be no weird cosmic repercussions, then I would just cut my losses and go cash in my chips. I would never know the difference.

However, if I choose to look at things differently, to flip the chip over so to speak, I might have a different view. It’s true — nothing has quite worked out how I wanted it to, but does that mean that my life is as bad as I think it is? If my dreams have not been fulfilled, does that automatically mean that the end result is bad?

Many (maybe most) people would say no. I think right now I’ll have to agree with them. If I only envision one outcome, one life, as “good”, or “successful”, then I’m definitely going to be disappointed. Flexibility is crucial to enjoying life.

Even though I realize that adaptation is the key, the stubborn side of me still wants to resist. Deep down I have a sense of entitlement. I feel as though I shouldn’t have to adapt, that however I am, whatever I want, whatever I dream of being and doing, should happen just like that. The way I am is the right way and the forces of the universe should align themselves with me.

To say that this kind of thought process is crazy is really putting it mildly. I know this; I’m not trying to kid myself.

However, old habits acquired in childhood are hard indeed to break. When circumstances turn against me, quite often I just don’t feel like trying to adapt, to look on the positive side. I don’t want to change and don’t feel like I should have to — the end.

I’ve noticed something important about the way depression works in me. If I am depressed, one of two mindsets will be true. Either I will want to try to feel better, or I will wallow in self-pity and not want to change. If I feel the second way, then my belief at that time is that things outside myself should change — not me.

I believe this last sentence is a major key for helping me understand and overcome depression.

Has anyone else found this to be true in their own lives?