As I’m struggling to pull myself out of this depression, I’ve been trying to focus on the positive ‘What Ifs” instead of dwelling on the negatives I’m living through now. Maybe if I try to define what my life could be like it would give me some hope that I can somehow achieve it. It’s hard to believe sometimes, but I know this depression won’t last forever. What if I could have the life I really want?
I wouldn’t be as lonely as I am. Honestly, there are enough people in my life that I shouldn’t feel so isolated if I could only break out of the darkness. I could enjoy the company of others and not worry about being a killjoy or bringing them down to my level. On the rare occasions I do make it out, I can’t think of anything to say and become very self conscious about my inability to interact. I can be a funny guy, and a lot of fun to be around, but my mood has taken all the joy out of me and I don’t feel comfortable being with others. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If I wasn’t dealing with the depression I could be the friend I used to be.
I would get out and do the things I used to enjoy. There was a time I went golfing at least once a week, and really enjoyed not only the challenge of playing well, but the ‘guy time’ with my golfing partners. Now I just don’t have the energy. For years I bowled on a league and really had a good time. But being that social is overwhelming and I just can’t make myself go. But bowling in particular is a great way to meet other people and not only would it help with my loneliness, but I might actually make some new friends.
Financial security is eluding me. Not only the fact that I don’t have the focus to look for a job that I’m capable of that pays what I’m worth, but I just can’t make myself make the effort. Bills don’t get paid because I just don’t care. I’m not a shopaholic, but I spend money on things I could do without like eating out and buying scotch. It’s amazing how much money you can spend by not keeping up with it. I’m not getting any younger and have to start looking forward to retiring, and need a plan to take better control. If I can only make myself care.
I’ve never figured out how to get my house in order. Oh, most of it looks fine. I’m too OCD to live in too much disorganization and clutter. But I’ve never found a way to organize my books or find a way to store the things I don’t use but have to hold on to. I have one room in my house that’s an absolute disaster. It would be a great project if I could build some built-in bookcases. It would give me something to do when I’m spending time alone. There’s a lot of satisfaction in creating something tangible. I would be able to get rid of all the boxes of books I have piled up everywhere. And I’m sure that once the books are out of the way I would find that there’s not that much else left and I could organize my storage better to put it all away.
I need to learn to be by myself. I can’t depend on having others to entertain me and fill out all the empty hours. Having some down time is a good thing. Now, my downtime is filled with misery and loneliness. How wonderful would it be if I could just be happy being alone.
I would dance. I absolutely love dancing of all kinds. I’ve done ballroom, east coast swing, west coast swing, shag and just getting out and shaking my stuff. Music is a central component to my life, and being able to move with it is one of my biggest joys. But dancing has been taken away from me. I don’t have the energy. I avoid close contact. Music brings back a lot of old memories that I now find painful and sad. And worst of all, I met my last wife dancing and at the time it was one of the best times of my life. If I can only bring myself to overcome what has become a negative, dancing would go a long way to making me whole again.
Currently, I feel broken and defective. I crave a relationship, but believe that there’s no one out there who could possibly put up with all the baggage and problems that comes with my disease. I’ve had so many relationships over the years, and none of them have survived. One way or another my illness has killed every one. But I have something different this time. I’ve accepted my condition and am taking positive steps to get it under control. There will come a day that I find the right combination of medications and therapy and can have a stable life. If I’m not dealing with the constant ups and downs I know I have a lot I can give to a relationship. I’m not looking to get married again; I’ve had enough chances at that. I want a relationship that is emotionally intimate and fulfilling. I want affection. Being close to someone is a great feeling.
I know I shouldn’t spend all my time thinking about how miserable I am. Maybe I shouldn’t even worry about “What If?”. Thinking about what I don’t have and what I’m missing just adds to the misery. What if I change my thinking to “When”? When I beat this depression I can have all the things that I want. When I find the way to put myself in a positive position my mood will improve. I can feel better, and will. Nothing breeds success like success. It really wouldn’t take that much to accomplish just one thing and break the cycle. My strength is growing every day and I know it’s only a matter of time.
What if today is the day it all starts.