A few days back I posted how I was pretty much rocking almost every symptom of depression, save for suicide — probably because my depression was manifesting itself in anger and irritation. So much so that it scared me. Acting on such things… well, you know the consequences.
The first step was going to see someone. I saw two someones. The first time I cried quite a bit. Not that there is shame in seeking help, but I felt shame for things that had happened and how I felt about them. This wonderful doctor made me feel accepted and validated me. That’s how good she was, she knew my unspoken issue — found my greatest fear. The second time I got perspective. She was excellent in noting that talking will help, but nothing cures like action. She signed me up for classes to learn skills in working through my depression.
They both gave me homework — walk every day (preferably outside), do something you find pleasurable, and find support) . In addition to this, my treatment involves medication, cognitive behavior therapy (skill building), and seeing a therapist. But the best part was that they gave me hope that the way I was feeling was temporary and able to be changed.
My first class was Thursday. I had to set goals for myself. 😛 OK, I did find that amusing. I had to set two easy goals and one reach goal. I’m not so sure I did the best, but my easy goals are to walk around the park once a day and to reach out to friends and family more often. I’m lucky because they are reaching out to me to check in, so that helps. My stretch goal is to “relax”. My goal was to meditate for 3 minutes. Much, much harder to remember. I did sit for 3 minutes, but I felt that I was just waiting for time to pass. Having quiet body and mind is SO INCREDIBLY HARD.
On top of that, I was already aware through the website exercises (isn’t modern medicine amazing?) that I should be mindful to how I’m feeling, allowing me to think rather than react to situations. This was very helpful when I returned to school. I can’t recall the interchange, but I reacted to something a student said, then he reacted to what I had said. I then stopped, calmly faced him, and said, “You know, I meant to respond to what you originally said with silence. I’m sorry.” Then he dropped it and things went from being dramatic to normal. The second situation was that a student was being a smart-ass jerk in class. He asked a pretty weird question and rather than responding in a smart-ass style, I merely told him, “I don’t believe your question is really respectful or sincere, so we’re not going to address it.” Even now I’m relieved that I did what was right for the community rather than making it about the two of us.
My final triumph came with reframing. I’m working on reworking my thoughts. Just the idea of “What would you tell a friend if they said this or was dealing with this?” has been helpful. I am a good problem solver. I enjoy it greatly and generally like quick, decisive action. Doing this has allowed me to move on. In this case, moving on IS forgiveness. It’s not being naive, forgetting, or acting as though the past never happened, it’s merely not dwelling on it. That’s been a tremendous change because it keeps me from wanting to act in a vengeful, hateful manner.
My real goal is to have mostly positive or neutral interactions with people. I know it’s not realistic to think that I’ll never get angry at anyone or impatient. However, I want those times to be WORTH the energy. If I’m going to feel the need to bitch-slap someone, I want it to be for something significant, not just an irritation or reaction to their ineptitude. After all, if I did that, I’d be smacking people right, left, and center all day. 🙂
Look, I’m still allowed to be irreverent, silly, and sarcastic.