I don’t know about you, but I find that most people don’t jump into depression, we slide. We can be going along just fine and something happens to knock us off course a little. We recover and feel back to “normal” because we don’t notice the small step backward. A few more bumps and a few more steps backwards and then it becomes clear that we aren’t functioning as usual at all. The sky is a little darker, the clouds a little thicker and when we look around, we see that we have been sliding into depression.
Now, I realize that there are lots of people who can get knocked down over and over and never find it hard to get up. Their biology has something in it that makes depression a non-issue. They aren’t luckier or more blessed, they are just different. They process differently and they have their own way that life’s toll creates impact. I’m not one of those people. My biology craves addiction, walks closely with anxiety, and when I’m not paying attention well enough, slides into depression. That’s where I am now, in depression. Over the years I’ve learned lots of tools for myself as I’ve learned tools to help others, so I’m well aware of the triggers for myself. That said, even the most aware people lose awareness sometimes.
I woke up the other morning after sleeping around 11 hours and instead of feeling great and well-rested, I felt good but still tired. I usually wake up excited for the day to start! What got me curious was the lack of excitement at getting up, not the extra sleep. I’ve been battling a virus so I know my body needed some extra sleep. So I started praying and looking back over the past few months.
It didn’t take long to see what has happened and how the slide occurred. I didn’t move to NYC as planned. Slide. I took a demotion and pay cut at work for a few months. Slide. A very close friend died suddenly. Slide. My daughter in all her budding adulthood glory got herself a job and is more independent. Slide. I got a new job where I work from home. Slide. Before my new job I had to get some financial help to cover bills. Slide. I’m realizing that in less than two years my daughter will launch brilliantly well and I will be the most alone I’ve ever been. Slide.
Not everything that brought the sliding could be labeled negative. It’s important to know that sometimes the positive things in life bring a slide into depression. That can happen when things change and it is just simply a by product of life. What’s important is to stay self aware so that I can monitor myself.
So now that I know, now that I’m waking up less excited, I need to enter a space of increased self care. I’m in a new recovery group. I’m making plans to get out of the house more. I’m praying for God to help me learn how to live well alone. I’m staying far away from self-judgment and clinging to self-acceptance. I’m naming those things that I’ve been keeping under wraps. Basically, I’m moving with more intention and a spirit of healing so that I start to climb out of the depression better equipped and more authentic. There are things to learn here and I don’t want to miss them. Just because I’m a caregiver by nature doesn’t mean I never need care. I’m not weak, I’m human.
I’m praying that we all are able to see when we are sliding into and operating out of depression or whatever is less than optimal from our natural state. No judgment, just acceptance.