I’ve been attending classes at my local Kaiser for depression. I just attended my fourth class yesterday, and I have to admit that while I don’t always feel I get something from the class DURING class time, I do usually get something once I’ve left. One of the interesting parts of being in the class is having to set goals for yourself. For some people the goals are things like: getting out of bed, taking a shower, or leaving the house. For people like me who are blessed to be depressed in a different position along the continuum, our goals are: get daily exercise, seek pleasure, keep a schedule, or make time to relax.
The most interesting thing about depression, for me, is how it robbed me of who I felt I was at my core. Worse, was that I really was complicit in its occurrence. I had stopped exercising, was deliberately overeating and engaging in poor eating habits, and I’d hidden away from most people. I know this because, instead of spending time on Saturday or Sunday with friends while Taed and Keb were playing games, I would just sit in front of the TV or sleep. In retrospect, what kind of life is that? It wasn’t relaxing, it was subsistence living.
Was I emotionally tired? Sure. Could I have been equally energized by seeking pleasure or hanging out with friends? Of course. Thing is, I wasn’t working to energize myself. I was working to minimize my life. I didn’t realize it at the time because I was pouring exhaustive amounts of energy into failing systems. I just couldn’t see it. Or maybe I could, so I just hid myself away from people who would be willing to point it out to me and force me to make a change.
Funny, change came anyway.
After four classes, I am assured that I can look at things in a completely different manner than before. I can acknowledge the truth of an issue, and then work to move past it. I can have negative events or days, but I don’t have to have a negative life. I know if I fuel my world with negative, bombastic language, I’ll receive negative, bombastic experiences. If I focus on bad, I won’t have good. It will be there, but I won’t see it. I’ll miss it because I’m feeding some other monster.
Each day I get a bit smarter about my depression. I’m not out of the weeds yet. In fact, I see myself as needing to go a year putting these lessons into practice. However, I’m pretty confident that this doesn’t have to be my destiny. That alone is worth the meetings, the doubt, and the homework.