Monday. 7 am. Time to jump back into the gerbil wheel.
Sometimes it is the eternal monotony of doing the next right thing, putting one foot in front of the other that kills me. I am not tired. I am weary.
Walk the dog. Read the paper. Take a shower. Ride to work. Make the car payment. Schedule a mammogram. Write, write, write. Work, work, work. Meeting. Write, write, write. Work, work, work. Lunch. Write, write, write. Work, work, work. Appointment. Write, write, write. Work, work, work. Cook dinner. And on and on and on. Wah, wah, wah.
“Would you like a glass for your whine, madam?”
This is the kind of thinking that can fuel dysthymia, a low grade depression that is durable, dependable and enduring – great traits for a car – not a life. When you have dysthymia, everyday is Monday. The sky is always March-in-Michigan gray. Dysthymia goes on and on and on – like your mortgage payment. It is not like a major clinical depression. It is a white noise kind of depression. You get so used to it that you are not aware of it. It’s just the way life is. Right?
Wrong. I am not powerless. I can take my medications, pray and compile a mental gratitude list. Here is my list:
Yea, the dog is a pain in the butt but he does not chew or snack on the contents of the wastebasket. He is a good watch dog. Yea, he drinks from the toilet – but he never leaves the seat up.
Yea, work is work – BUT YOU HAVE A JOB!!!
Yea, scheduling all these doctor and dentist appointments is a hassle – BUT YOU HAVE MEDICAL INSURANCE!!!
Yea, cooking dinner is a drag – BUT YOU HAVE FOOD, A KITCHEN AND A GREAT LITTLE HOUSE.
I read somewhere that if you have depression, constant thoughts of bad can program the brain to think more bad thoughts. We instinctively cop to the negative. Our proverbial cup is always half empty. But just like I exercise my body, I can exercise my brain. I can compile a gratitude list. I can become aware of the drone of my negative thinking and counter it with gratitude.
A gratitude list is not going to pull me out of the major depression. But a gratitude list raises my awareness of my mental illnesses – depression, bipolar and alcoholism – and reminds me that I am not powerless. I am not a victim.
I am sick. I am taking care of myself.