What If?

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.

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14 Responses to What If?

  1. zozespot says:

    “Today is never too late to be brand new”
    Thanks for the great post.

    Like

  2. the seeker57 says:

    Cognitively speaking, the last paragraph, you have all the answers. Stick to “When” and you are on the road. Watch the Wizard of Oz, there’s so much to learn about depression. The feeling is mutual. Take care.

    Like

  3. Northern Narratives says:

    Every day brings a new hope. I feel your pain.

    Like

  4. Mom says:

    I feel better when I watch Bob Ross paint. His soothing voice and manner just calm my head and I start to believe that it is my world and I can create it any way that I want. Google him, watch a video. It’s wonderful.

    Like

  5. A very insightful post. Tell yourself may times a day that “I like me.” Look in the mirror and say it. Write on a large blackboard or whatever. “I love me because I am a good person. I will overcome even it depression lasts longer than a manic or hypomanic. ” You have to repeat affirmative things. You are doing some better, at least in my opoinion. You are not alone- remember that!!!! We who can feel empathy feel your agony just as Norther Narratives wrote above,

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  6. i also struggle with “what if” and “when”. i’m learning to change both of those to “what can i do today”. i also find that i enjoy activities more if i’m not officially committed to them because i can choose each day if i’m going to do them or not. There’s a certain freedom in that that i find very empowering.

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  7. buddhasal says:

    I think it already started. Live your “now”!!! It’s a wonderful thing.

    Like

  8. imconfident says:

    You are going in the right direction when you change your thoughts from ‘what if’ to ‘when. It is great to hear you say that you can put yourself in a positive. The problem with depression is that it has a such a negative effect on you – it pulls you down and keeps you down if you let it – I know because I’ve struggled all my life with depression. But I know now that you CAN control depression by being positive. I basically immersed myself in positivity and kept myself busy helping others in similar situations. Hang around with positive people, read books and watch TV programs and movies that will inspire and challenge you, go to places where you know you will feel good. Try to stay away from anything or anyone that is negative or brings you down. Volunteer with a local organization – there are so many people that are lonely and would love to have a friend – share your talents and time with someone else in need.
    One last thing – I don’t know if you believe in God, but I am a Christian and when I am feeling depressed, I pray and it really helps me. I know that we are never alone, God loves us and he is always with us. Try to connect with a good church that has a warm, loving atmosphere – it can change your life – it has helped me tremendously.
    Never give up on yourself. Everyone in this world is valuable and life is definitely worth living!!

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  9. Bubble Gum says:

    Wonderfully refreshing candor in your blog! Writing is healing! It’s a deep personal challenge to struggle with two opposing sides of self. It seems that’s why the image of devil and angel on one’s shoulder has been such a persisting archetype…”The Warrior of Light knows that an angel and a devil are both competing for his sword hand. The devil says: “You will weaken. You will not know exactly when. You are afraid.” The angel says: “You will weaken. You will not know exactly when. You are afraid.” The Warrior is surprised. Both the angel and the devil have said the same thing. The devil continues: “Let me help you.” And the angel says: “I will help you.” At that moment the Warrior understands the difference. The words may be the same but these two allies are completely different. And he chooses the angel’s hand.” – Paulo Coelho From Warrior of Light.

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  10. Nadia says:

    Hang in there, you can do this!

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  11. I have to be honest I really don’t understand this whole “depression thing”. I’m trying, I swear I am but it’s so alien to my thought process I am having a hard time. Your blog helps me to understand although when I read your posts my natural instinct is to offer some suggestions to help you “snap out of it”. I know that is not helpful and even insulting I am simply trying to explain how I think. There are reasons for my thought process and it goes back to my childhood but this is not the time or the place to discuss that.
    I would like to suggest things like bowling or a hobby; even dancing but you say that although you have done these things in the past you can’t bring yourself to do them now. I wonder, what is it that happened to make you stop enjoying these things? Is it/was it and event or is it just another unknown chalked up to chemical imbalances and brain waves?
    This issue touches so many of the most important people in my life and if i can’t help them (which I find extremely frustrating) I want to at least understand. That may be all the help they need from me.

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    • Unless you’ve lived through a chemical depression there’s no way to understand. All I can suggest is be supportive and patient. Encourage them to see a Dr. as it frequently requires medicine to overcome. And you’re right… saying things like ‘snap out of it’ or ‘pull yourself together’ doesn’t help. I do think you have the right idea though. Learn as much as you can about it with an open mind. The more you know the better you can help.

      Like

    • Alinda says:

      This is the first weekly digest I’ve received from you. I now know it was worth the subscribe. Thank you for your blog.

      I too suffered chemical depression. You change forever once you’ve been there. I believe I see the world more realistically, and have to *choose* to be positive. My life is now a conscious choice every day, ever minute. It doesn’t always work, but it sure beats the alternative.

      The path I took was to force myself to volunteer at a shelter caring for abandoned house rabbits. In a way I was caring for myself by caring for beings that had no voice. They’re also 2nd class citizens in a dog/cat world. I became so involved I started a nonprofit. (rabbitmatch.org if you want to take a peek). I believe the rabbits saved me. They needed me.

      I identify, too, with the lack of energy. It is momentous. Everything takes So Much Effort. From my experience, I had to decide that I was who I was in *that* moment. Not what I was, not what I want to be. I am living exactly how the Total Me needs to live right now. I needed to forget who I was–and it wasn’t someone I’d want to be again anyway.

      I also like people’s suggestion of ‘when’ instead of ‘what if’. During my depression my husband and I went to counseling which helped tremendously (although excruciating). I remember our (great) therapist always made us say, ‘In the past, you did such and such…” It put those actions, attitudes etc. in the past–where they belong.

      I am living very differently now. It’s vital for me to stop and think about how this or that REALLY feels. Is it good for my soul or not?

      So, again, thank you for your blog.

      PS This is for lingeringvisions. I just read this kindle book (right now it’s free) and it’s the first time for me that someone has captured what depression is like–each depression is different of course–but a lot of what she describes was part of my experience. You may not like her much, but that’s what depression does to people.
      Catch My Drift [Kindle Edition]
      Jamie Pierce
      http://www.amazon.com/Catch-My-Drift-ebook/dp/B007TOXB2Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1352144070&sr=1-1&keywords=catch+my+drift

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  12. Jaclyn says:

    Sometimes we have to try to get outside of our heads and just “do”. When I have been at the lowest points and not having the the energy to do anything except allow my thoughts to consume myself, my family would tell me to just literally get up, take a walk and not think about what to do, what if, ect. I try to keep my mind blank and just start with my feet and make small movements until I’m gradually doing something active.

    Also, you are a wonderful writer and wonder if there is a way to monetize on that writing so you can work at your own pace and be comfortable in your own surroundings. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

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