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Depression is not my boss

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Depression is not my boss

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Parental Guidance

  • Joel
  • December 15, 2019 06:26:56 PM
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A Little About Us

Dealing With Depression I have lied to myself about depression for all my adult life. Masking it, concealing it, never saying its name. Telling my complete story, through this depression blog and online platform could help someone else get relief from the destructive actions of depression so underhandedly inflicts. Get Depression Help and Guidance I welcome you to join me as I share my day-to-day effort of living and learning about depression whether you’re looking for information on how to help someone with depression or getting guidance for yourself. My mantra – Depression is Not my Boss.

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    Three things I learned while circling the drain

    Most of December and the first two weeks of January were draining as depression was trying it’s best to pull me under. Had I not been through this same process less than a year ago, I am sure the outcome would have been the same. But this time, I had tools and a Wellness Recovery... The post Three things I learned while circling the drain appeared first on My Concealed...

    Most of December and the first two weeks of January were draining as depression was trying it’s best to pull me under.

    Had I not been through this same process less than a year ago, I am sure the outcome would have been the same. But this time, I had tools and a Wellness Recovery Action Plan that I had written out.

    I had thought about what it would look like if I was having a relapse. I had written out signs and triggers that I should watch out for.

    And I had shared my WRAP plan with others.

    This was a huge step in keeping me from falling into the abyss. As I begin to live a life with depression out in the open, I am learning so much about myself. I can see how strong I have become. This strength is now manifested in a sense of my own self-worth. For 40+ years, I put little value in my value.

    I knew at some level I was important, but not in a basic building block of life kind of way.

    It was a front, a façade I used to keep people from getting close to me. If I allowed people to see the real me, I thought, they would see I was just a sham, a charlatan. They would be able to see that I was a fake, a phony who was just putting on a show.

    READ: What am I teaching people about how to treat me?

    Despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, this was how little I thought of myself.

    That was not healthy. Now I can see my own value, my own self-worth. And I am becoming protective of my self-care. This leads me to the first thing I learned.

    I accept what I cannot change.

    Not only am I accepting it. There have been years where I have invested time and energy into things that I have no control over. Worse, I thought I could fix these situations, i.e. my road rage at the way other drivers drove. I wanted to tell them, to show them how to drive better, more defensively. I was mad because I couldn’t fix their driving. Not my driving, but their driving.

    What I finally realized was I cannot control events that occur in my life.

    But what I can control is how I feel about them. It is possible for me to control my attitude towards them. Changing my attitude was the best thing that could have happened. And I was now in control of my attitude and that made all the difference in my frustration with other drivers.

    READ: In the dark, I kicked the box and out came an automatic thought

    The second thing I learned was:

     I changed what I could not accept.

    I could not accept that I would go into the abyss this time as depression worked on me. Just because I had slipped on the edges and tumbled in headfirst in the past, did not mean it would happen this time. That turned out to be the most important lesson. Having the confidence in myself and the tools that I have acquired over the past six months made the outcome of this episode with depression seem less daunting and uncertain.

    The third thing I learned was:

    I recognized I had a problem.

    Holly cow this was huge. For over 43 years, I did not see what was happening. I had no clue I was suffering from major depression. And even in the rare occasions where I may have had an inkling that something wasn’t right, I was very careful not to explore the problem. I guess deep down I knew it was bad and I wasn’t going to face it then.

    Had depression and I worked out an escape plan last April, I am 100% sure I would not be writing this.

    READ: My first day

    I would have stumbled and bumbled my way through the depressive episode, and then swept whatever was left after the fog cleared under the rug. Even allowing myself to recognize that I had a problem was too much to handle. So, I concealed it and went along as if nothing had ever happened.

    So, in a nutshell, I learned:

    1. I accepted what I cannot change.
    2. I changed what I could not accept
    3. I recognized I had a problem.

    Including WRAP in my toolbox was a huge help in keeping this depressive episode from going viral.

    Having thought about the possibility of my relapse, and what it would look like was a huge step in my long-term goal to lead a more balanced life. And understanding what was happening and how I could re-frame my attitude towards it was a direct benefit of my SMART Recovery program training.

    In that spirit, in the coming weeks, I will be exploring all the tools I have used and will share my actual worksheets. This will help solidify these in my mind, and maybe help others who have not tried these tools.

    While I am not letting my guard down completely, I can say with all sincerity, “boy I’m glad that’s over.”

    The post Three things I learned while circling the drain appeared first on My Concealed Depression.


    Progress, not backsliding is what’s happening

    I am happy today that I am making progress in my life with depression. Progress is the word. It is what I am doing. There are days when I haven’t realized I was making progress. Ok, there have been weeks at a time where I wasn’t sure what the next step was. Now I know... The post Progress, not backsliding is what’s happening appeared first on My Concealed...

    I am happy today that I am making progress in my life with depression.

    Progress is the word. It is what I am doing. There are days when I haven’t realized I was making progress. Ok, there have been weeks at a time where I wasn’t sure what the next step was. Now I know “depression is not my boss.”

    Lately, though, I am more aware of my progress. This is very, very exciting.

    Short and sweet today.

    READ: 101 new ideas for my life with depression

    My mood is positive, my outlook is better and I am feeling confident that I am moving towards a balanced life.

    The post Progress, not backsliding is what’s happening appeared first on My Concealed Depression.


    My “picker” is not working right now

    That was the coolest thing I had heard all day. My “picker” is not working. Someone had to explain it to me, as I was only partially sure I understood what the term meant. It turns out the reference is about “choosing a partner.” In the context of substance abuse or recovery, this partner may... The post My “picker” is not working right now appeared first on My Concealed...

    That was the coolest thing I had heard all day.

    My “picker” is not working.

    Someone had to explain it to me, as I was only partially sure I understood what the term meant. It turns out the reference is about “choosing a partner.” In the context of substance abuse or recovery, this partner may be an enabler, or a support.

    Your “picker’ would be the tool you would use to get what you need.

    It could also be the underlying reason you might want to date someone. And as with any tool, if it is not working properly, you may not trust it. This could be true if your picker has not been working well and has gotten you into situations or relationships that were not healthy.

    I’m pretty sure depression controlled my “picker.”

    Depression was and is focused on isolating me from any type of support or sense of normalcy. Depression prefers secrecy and isolation. Picking or choosing any person, tool or support is foreign to its end game and is vigorously opposed by depression.

    READ: Guess what happened when I changed my attitude

    Allowing depression to control my thoughts and actions, I was giving it control of my “picker.”

    There was no control on my part of my actions when depression was in charge. Sure, depression would make me feel like I was in control, as if everything was my idea, but the reality was it was pulling the strings and setting me up for each run at the open abyss.

    My experience is that depression is not a very good “picker.”

    Through SMART Recovery and WRAP (wellness recovery action plan) I have learned tools that are allowing me to make better choices. These tools have become my own personal “picker” as I learn to live with depression.

    READ: I found a new place to be SMART

    Becoming my own personal advocate for my recovery, I am taking over the job of “picker” from depression.

    Now I am selecting the tools I will use and as important, the way I will think about my relationship with depression. Understanding my automatic thoughts, being able to ask better questions, and truly being in the moment are three ways I am building a more balanced life with depression.

    As I learn to live with depression, my “picker” is getting better.

    The post My “picker” is not working right now appeared first on My Concealed Depression.


    Why couldn’t I see the obvious?

    It is clear to those around me that something was on my mind. I’ve never been very good at hiding things, even though that was one of the main tasks that depression wanted me to focus on. Secrets were and are one of depression’s tools that kept me listening to it and it alone. I... The post Why couldn’t I see the obvious? appeared first on My Concealed...

    It is clear to those around me that something was on my mind.

    I’ve never been very good at hiding things, even though that was one of the main tasks that depression wanted me to focus on. Secrets were and are one of depression’s tools that kept me listening to it and it alone. I am glad I have finally caught on to it’s scheme.

    Now that I am keeping depression out in the open, where I can keep it, this technique is much less effective.

    READ: I’m spinning a lot of plates today

    So I have been stressing about my ability to get out of bed in the morning. I have talked to everyone I can think of about this, except for the one medically qualified professional who’s job it is to help me sort it out.

    Today, I finally put in a call to my Psychiatrist.

    I asked about my current medication regime of 40 mg of Prozac daily. I am waiting for a call back to discuss his recommendations. Taking the step to get this started has got me moving again. Heck, I even got out of bed shortly after the alarm went off today (ok, I did hit snooze once, but got up before it went off again).

    I’m off to my day job now.

    The day has been exceptional so far and I am in a good head space. I am so glad to have taken the first step towards solving this issue. I was stuck in no-mans land, with no momentum to go forward. There was no incentive to go backwards either. That is good news, too. No abyss, just a bump in the road I must get past.

    I will keep you posted on what I learn about my morning waking up issue.

    The day is full of promise and I am ready to get going.

    The post Why couldn’t I see the obvious? appeared first on My Concealed Depression.


    I’m sending up flares, but no one see’s my SOS

    I have let my self-care take a back seat to the events unfolding around me. I’ve tried to send signals that something is not right. This includes saying to people “something is not right.” I’ve been writing about how I have had major trouble getting out of bed in the morning.  This has been an... The post I’m sending up flares, but no one see’s my SOS appeared first on My Concealed...

    I have let my self-care take a back seat to the events unfolding around me.

    I’ve tried to send signals that something is not right. This includes saying to people “something is not right.” I’ve been writing about how I have had major trouble getting out of bed in the morning.  This has been an issue since Thanksgiving and now it is January.

    Recent days have found me with a dull headache that lasts all day.

    Unexplained dizziness and a cloudy mental outlook round out my days. The symptoms seem to be more than just a cold. They appear to me as a problem I would like to correct. Yet, here I am writing about it and not acting.

    It’s wonderful that I am my own best advocate.

    Taking responsibility for my own actions, seeking the best professional help I can find. But what does that do for me if I cannot find the strength to advocate for myself. I do not seem to get beyond recognizing that there is a problem. Understanding who and what will solve it is keeping me stuck in this daily cycle of dullness.

    I have put off talking to my Psychiatrist.

    There seems to be a sense that he knows better than I do and that I just need to get up. But I cannot get up in the morning and have not been able to get up easily in almost two months. There seems to be something going on.

    And I have allowed all the holiday activities and issues with others to cloud my judgment about me

    READ: Our lives are all about making choices

    Am I just using that as an excuse not to act? Probably. By putting my “serving others” hat on, I can justify not putting on my own oxygen mask before helping others. But I can only hold my breath for so long. Eventually, I am going to pass out and will not be able to care for myself or anyone else.

    My feeble attempts to send up an SOS have been ineffective.

    While it seems people are hearing the words coming out of my mouth, I am not making them understand how I feel about the situation. Not understanding what is going on, I am guessing, or even mind reading. I am allowing myself to “fortune tell the future.”  This is skewing my reality about the situation and my ability to signal for help.  

    The abyss is not calling, and I am not having suicidal thoughts.

    READ: That didn’t last long, now I can’t get out of bed

    But I am not waking up ready to go and the days are becoming cloudier. Once again, I need to put on my “big boy pants” and start making phone calls. I can do this.

    “I’m sending out an SOS.”

    That’s the song in my head. Let’s see if I can get it to the right people.

    The post I’m sending up flares, but no one see’s my SOS appeared first on My Concealed Depression.


    When will I get to write?

    Instead of writing over the past few days, life happened . The past few days have been non-stop. I have worked six days in a row, traveling 1 2/2 hours each way. Then there was the 3+ hour commute in the snowstorm. This was followed by the unexpected invitation to go to the movies yesterday.... The post When will I get to write? appeared first on My Concealed...

    Instead of writing over the past few days, life happened .

    The past few days have been non-stop. I have worked six days in a row, traveling 1 2/2 hours each way. Then there was the 3+ hour commute in the snowstorm.

    This was followed by the unexpected invitation to go to the movies yesterday. This was a great thing, but it still cut into my writing time.

    Self-care for me now includes unstructured family time.

    Just hanging out, sitting on the couch, not having a specific agenda, just talking. This has been a huge win for me, to be able to be in the moment. You could probably count the times I have done this over the years using only your fingers and toes.

    In the past few months, I have done this as much as in my entire past 40 years.

    This is exciting, but it takes practice. My default is to cut things off, to wait for the other person to pause, and then jam them with my agenda. Being in the moment and hearing what they are saying is very new. I am still catching myself setting up a quick exit, just in case I need to scram.

    But even this is not happening as often.

    I was on the phone while driving to work (Bluetooth to the cars speaker!) and I mentioned that I was going to be going through some back roads and we may lose signal. In the past, this would have been the perfect out if I couldn’t talk anymore. I could “blame it” on the loss of signal and even just stop talking until they hung up.

    When asked if we should hang up because we may lose signal, I realized I was afraid of having a conversation.

    So, I said NO, just be aware I may fade in and out. And we talked for 35 minutes and I was ok. And I felt so good afterwards. The house didn’t burn down, I didn’t have a relapse and there was a period of interaction that “made my day.”

    So, then next time I was able to talk, I did it.

    Forcing myself past salutations and the weather, I stayed in the moment and continued to talk.  This felt good and I made a stronger connection with the person I was speaking with. I’ve said it before, in the past my ideal scenario is to have knowledge about others that is two miles wide, and two inches deep.

    As much as I get along with and respect others, I never thought of myself as a “people person.”

    In fact, I have used that as I discuss using specific stories in a job interview that relate and illustrate what the interviewer is looking for. When asked, for instance, about customer service, you could say “I’m a people person.” Well, my dog is a people person, but I would never hire her for a customer service job.

    Now, if I told you a story about how I solved a problem for a customer on Christmas Eve, you would be more likely to remember it.

    I am learning how to get people’s stories. I am learning to ask better questions and get to know people beyond the surface things I had clung to for most of my life. Staying near the surface protected me from having to care, to feel, or to give a hoot about what happens.

    Not caring protected me; but cheated both me and the other person.

    READ: Depression is not my boss

    I am tired of being cheated by depression. Choosing to face depression means I choose to face myself and I also choose to face other people. This gives me a chance to see behind the curtain and to see the “real” person. Plus, they get a glimpse of me. Now that’s probably the scariest part for me.

    Being in the moment means being vulnerable.

    I have not been comfortable being vulnerable. I tell people all kinds of things about my life, but sharing how I feel, now that’s a different subject.  It has been hard for me to even be honest with myself, let alone opening up to others. All I saw was possible exposure to ridicule if my thoughts didn’t measure up.

    I was ashamed of how people might perceive me if I was not perfect.

    That perfection was driving me crazy. And I did not see it because depression was using it as a tool to undermine my efforts to be in the moment, to be open to what was going on, and open to how I felt about it. Striving for the unattainable perfection gave me an excuse not to do things.

    I could justify anything I did or dd not do based on this skewed logic.

    Lately, I have been using this to not write. If it couldn’t be perfect, if it wasn’t long enough, if I didn’t have enough time, then I just shouldn’t write. Writing a few thoughts, a feeling, some quick idea was not acceptable. How could I just put down one or two quick thoughts, what would my readers think?

    Once again, perfection and unhelpful thinking has gotten me to not do what I most wanted to do.

    I would never judge others as harshly I as do myself. “Why can’t I do that” pops into my head, not “look at all you have accomplished.” Setting myself up for failure is something depression taught me years ago and is something I am still unlearning.

    Well I guess you can see I am writing.

    I took my laptop on an errand to get my oil changed. While Jiffy Lube did the oil, I sat in their waiting room and wrote on my laptop. Most of this blog post was written in the time it takes to change the oil in my truck. And while it all worked out well, I was a little disappointed that I had left my postcard for $10 off at home, and the manager wouldn’t accept my on-line coupons because they were not specific to his location.

    Still, I was able to write today and that makes me happy.

    READ: Today I am thinking about who I am writing for

    And tomorrow is looking better as well. I will remind myself writing is my self-care.

    Perfection is not.

    The post When will I get to write? appeared first on My Concealed Depression.


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