During my various stints in intensive behavioral health outpatient treatment programs(which I prefer to just call “brain school”), I was taught a lot of things about dealing with depression. Some of those things I even remember. Then again, some of the things I think I remember probably weren’t really the things they were trying to teach me. So please take what I say I learned with a grain of salt.
One thing I learned about doing the work I need to do to get better is that if I don’t think I can do something, or don’t feel I can do it, or don’t believe I can do it, that’s the time to do it anyway.
Do what I just said I can’t do? In a word, yes. Maybe I’m telling myself that I can’t get out of bed and face the day. But if my body is physically capable of lifting itself out of the bed, then indeed I can get up. If I survived the challenges of yesterday, chances are I can survive today, too. No matter what it feels like. And if getting up and doing something is going to help me get up and do things, then perhaps I truly can take that first step. It’s kind of like practicing tough love on myself. Gently, though. Lovingly.
I’m not saying it’s easy. I can’t just turn on a switch and suddenly have the energy, the insight, or even the will to do something, even if I know it would be to my benefit. It’s hard, very hard. But if I can just make a slight movement forward, I can begin to overcome the inertia that feels like a 10,000 pound weight holding me down.
This all comes to mind today because I am heading out on an overnight camping excursion with my daughter. An absolute and utter miracle, if I look back on how I felt four months ago. Back then it was a major undertaking to get myself to the grocery store. Unless I had to buy food for the cats, it was just easier for me not to eat. I am thankful for the therapists at brain school who told me to just do it anyway.
I still feel some trepidation about going today. Stepping out of my comfort zone is not usually something I do voluntarily. But I am trusting that the reward will be greater than the discomfort. And I am really looking forward to melting myself a nice, gooey s’more over the campfire. On days like this, I am ever so grateful that I took that first step, and did what I couldn’t do.
Wishing you a good day today.