Elevators

Living with depression is a lot like being trapped in an elevator;

You step into an elevator, needing to get to the top floor of a building, however the person who just got off was originally going to the basement. So now even though you want to go to the penthouse, you see the ‘B’ illuminated, and you can feel that you’re going down. It doesn’t matter how many times you press up wanting to go to a higher floor, the elevator is going to the basement and you can’t stop it. You know the elevator will eventually reach it’s destination, and you’ll be on your way back up, making it to the top floor, but for now you’re stuck going down.

Depression is much the same. You can feel your mood slipping, and your energy levels are plummeting, you know you’re on your way down. You do everything you can think of to try and stop it, to try and turn it around and “lighten up”, but you’re stuck on that elevator going to the bottom floor. Sometimes you just need to feel down, so you can better appreciate the good days. You don’t realize how sweet a simple breath of air is until you’ve almost drowned.

Although I know that I have to feel down something, and that it’s completely normal. I don’t like feeling depressed. I don’t want to be depressed. What I do like is being able to validate my emotions and accept where I am in each moment in time.

I’ve spent way too long wishing I was different, waiting to  feel different, wishing that I could always be happy and never feel depressed. Wishing and waiting, wishing and waiting. I’d accept the now, and be okay with feeling down or not so great, but then get frustrated waiting for my mood to improve. I would wish to expedite the waiting, wanting to jump right from the bottom floor to the top floor. Thats unrealistic. Now, I’m starting to understand theres a process, and I’m working on accepting it. Maybe soon I’ll even like it, but right now acceptance is the goal. Today I’m feeling good. Not exactly great, but I am feeling better than last week and even better than yesterday. Each day doesn’t need to be extraordinary, it just needs to be good enough to be a smidgen better than yesterday.

I guess what I’m saying is, if you’re not going to get off the elevator and get some exercise on the stairs, at least enjoy the ride and sign along to the music.

 

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2017

It’s January 1st, today is the day people everywhere reflect on the previous 365 days and make plans for the next. The past few years I’ve always started the new year by making a pros and cons list of the prior year. Reflecting on the previous year is a great way to be thankful for your positive experiences and to learn from the negative ones. This year
I’m not doing that. I’m not wasting the happiness I have today by trying to decode 2016’s cons and learn something from them. I will however focus on making 2017 better than 2016, one day at a time, starting with today.

I talk a lot about living in the present and not dwelling on the past, however that isn’t something I’ve done a very good job of lately. The past couple months have been very difficult for me. My past kept forcing itself to the forefront of my mind and even the reminders I have tattooed on my body couldn’t bring me back to the present. My mood seemed to be stuck at a dangerously low level, my thoughts turned dark and I started to experience intrusive thoughts of suicide. These  dark thoughts and shadows aren’t anything new to me, however it’s been a long time since I haven’t been able to do something to help myself out of the darkness. It scared me. I made some very poor decisions in my vulnerable state, grasping at the smallest pieces of temporary happiness to try and brighten my mood. Of course this only resulted in pulling me further down, and scaring me more.

Today, I’m grateful that it’s the beginning of a new week, and a new year.

Today, I got out of bed feeling rested, meditated for 6 minutes, got dressed, left the house, sang along to music while driving, and was finally able to organize my thoughts enough to write.

Today, I feel less scared.

As I previously said, I’m not going to waste today’s happiness on yesterday, but I’m going to focus this positive energy into making today great and tomorrow even better.

Daily Challenges:

Meditate ; Write ; Eat a minimum of 2 meals ; Drink a minimum of 2 litres

Weekly Challenges:

1 Blogpost ; Exercise 4 times a week

Monthly Challenges:

Read 2 books ; Put 15% of each paycheque into savings

Yearly Challenges:

Travel to 3 countries ; Cross 5 things off my bucket list

I have more challenges and goals already set for myself and I’m sure the list will continue to grow, but these are the ones I’m choosing to share because these are all second-chance-goals. I’ve set these as goals before and have not completed them, that is why this year they’re challenges instead.

So thats thats. I’ve set my challenges and goals for 2017 without dwelling on the past year, I’m finishing one chapter and turning the page to the next. It might seem strange, but this year I’m embracing my inner Bob Ross..

“You need the dark in order to show the light”

“Look around. Look at what we have. Beauty is everywhere, you only have to look to see it.”

and of course,

“There are no mistakes, just happy little accidents”