What is it and what happens to when depression steps in?
Webster’s Dictionary states that the word “perspective” is defined, among other things, as the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance <urge you to maintain your perspective and to view your own task in a larger framework — W. J. Cohen>
When you are feeling low do you feel like a failure? I do. It started yesterday, and continued through this a.m. I was feeling low because several things in my life were not going well, and these things are important to me. What are they? It really doesn’t matter. What matters is how I was viewing my world as a result of these things not going as planned, or as perfectly as I expected them to. What was it that someone said expectations are a prescription for failure. It sure seemed true in my case, anyway.
So what does this have to do with depression? Everything. What was I focusing on? All the things that were going wrong in my life which led me to believe that I was failing at life – hence, I felt like a failure. In short I was focusing on the negative. What about the positive? Was there anything in my life that I could be grateful for? Yes, there was. I didn’t have cancer. I wasn’t going hungry. I own my home which was in foreclosure a few years ago. An addicted family member celebrated their 6th year being clean and sober. I have a job – a good one working with young juvenile offenders. I have two cars, not new, but one is a classic and is being restored right now, and I have a beautiful 2002 Harley Davidson Road King that I have sunk over $41K, that’s right, $41 thousand dollars over the years that I’ve owned her.
I could go on, but this article is about you, really. I’m only writing about my experience with depression, how I handle/don’t handle it, and what happens to my perspective when I only focus on the parts not going right in my life, and not looking at the whole perspective of what my life actually is and how it’s going. I kicked alcohol and drugs. That’s another thing I just thought of.
What about you? Are you having things go wrong in your life and you are feeling like you’re a failure? Do you have anything, anything at all that you can focus on right now and say, “I am grateful for…” Say it with me. “I am grateful for my (you fill in the blank with such things as: motorcycle, girlfriend, laptop, eye sight, food, job, beer (which is ok if your not an alcoholic), Coke with a ‘K’, house, apartment, car, being born in the U.S, and not under attack from ISIS, being a member of “H.O.G.”-anything, anything blessed thing that you can be grateful for. Why?
Well, when I started to focus on what was going right in my life something happened. I started to shift. I started to feel strong again –not weak, or like I was a victim. I literally straightened my shoulders up, put on my cloths and faced the day with more optimism. In other words, I started feeling more positive. It wasn’t a phony feeling. It was real, and all naturally induced. Try this, and I know you’re going to probably say “fuck this, I’m not doing it.” But, just for the fuck of it get off your ass and stand up straight. Pull your shoulders back. Take a deep breath to the slow count of 3, hold for 3, now exhale to 3+.
Now, close your eyes and think of something positive, something you can be grateful for. Once you have that image in your mind say out loud, “I am grateful for…(whatever it is that was/is positive in your life even if it is just being grateful you are breathing). There must be SOMETHING you’re grateful for. What is it. Say it. Focus on it. You may even start to find other things that you hadn’t though of that you can be grateful for. You’re either going to sit there and be a miserable motherfucker, or you’re going to get off your ass and give this a try. But, if you do give it a try, I am willing to bet something is going to change, even if the change is slight. Maybe you do have cancer. Maybe you’re locked up. Maybe you’re going through a nasty divorce. Maybe you got unjustly fired from your job. Whatever may have happened, it’s not the end, until you are dead.
Depression makes us focus on the negative parts of our lives – not the positive. Also, look back and read my blog on “Perfectionism”, just like focusing on the negative, perfectionism is a depressed person’s bane. It triggers the depressed person to spiral downward when things aren’t perfect, WHOLE picture and find something to be grateful for?
Glenn “Grey Wolf” Jones