Saturday 2 April 2016

The Dissonance of Depression

We are made to want to survive.  We are made to thrive.  So much so that countless systems in the body work without us even knowing it, including our hearts that beat from a spark of electricity. They just do what they do because that’s what they’re supposed to do.

On the other hand, my depression and millions of others’ forms of mental illness is all about self-loathing.  Frankly, we hate ourselves. We question our worth, and our purpose for even going on. Our brains magnify the negative and the rest is relative hell manifested in millions of different forms of mental illness.

Our bodies inherently want to live;  our minds often want to die.  Such disharmony.

The cognitive dissonance of knowing you’re supposed to want to thrive, and seeing so many people around you thrive, can make you doubt your value even more. If they can do it why can’t I?

For a long time, I allowed my depression to define me.  And seeing healthy-brained people on television and movies, as well as all around me, made me hate that I had this disease.  It’s not a far stretch to start hating yourself.  You are your depression.  You’re why you’re depressed.  It’s all you.

So a while ago, while I was down in the deep, I had a moment of clarity that has changed how I see my mental illness.  I was noticing how when I’m depressed, I pull away from loved ones.  I thought how my depression itself was like a many tentacled krakken closing itself around me, keeping me down, keeping me away from everyone else I love.  Like a spoiled child wants a parent all to itself.

Separating the depression from ME has made a difference.  I feel like I’ve effectively chosen sides, and I’ve chosen my side.  And it is a fight.  Every day, every friggin hour some days is a fight.  But I’m on MY side now.  Knowing I have my own back fully and completely is powerful.  That other side of me that is depressed and wants to surrender belongs to the krakken not to me.

If your mental illness were a monster, a demon, a rabid animal … what would it be?

Visualize it and then fight it.

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