Last week, I talked about my hope for my ongoing battle with depression. Today, I didn’t really feel hope.
I felt like I was slogging through the wet sand as I walked the shore of the inky black sea of despair, watching the huge waves crash so close to me. I keep wondering which one would be the one to pull me in and drown me.
Lately, as my depression crests, I’ve found I have a lot less energy. It’s hard to get out of bed, it’s hard to get work done, it’s hard to exist. As I slow down, I can feel depression’s waves of shame remind me, how worthless I am.
Today, I felt so alone. I could barely get out of bed, and when I got to class, I could only do the first class because my whole body ached. “You’re so lazy,” my depression reminded me. “You’re pathetic. Your teacher is so disappointed in you. He thinks you’re weak. He invested all this time in you and you are a failure.”
I try to remind myself that my teacher respects me a lot, and is probably thinking about how much he would like a snack right now. Depression laughs in the face of my logic and asks me if I want a snack too, some delicious ice cream. “It will make you feel better, much more than flailing around here will.” Depression knows all the tricks to put me down.
When I took the movement class, I want to cry. I have been studying the movements of the class for a year, and I still haven’t mastered it. People are able to ninja transition on their fifth class and I still stumble through it after over sixty classes. I know the sequences mentally almost as well as the teacher, but when it comes to the physical practice, my body lumbers along. I got flustered and couldn’t coordinate my movements.
“What is wrong with you?” My depression asks as a wave crashed over my head. I almost wanted to be swept away by the tide, and I ended the class in tears. I was so slow to make progress. Anyone who attended the class as much as I would be so much further along. Why was I so broken?
On the bus home, I browsed the internet. On Quora, it was announced that I was one of the 100 Top read writers, with half a million views a month. I found an incredibly beautiful entry someone wrote about how they considered me a celebrity writer who they loved reading.
I started crying on the bus. What if everyone knew the truth? That the person they admired was a fraud, who was depressed, stupid, clumsy, shrill, annoying, ugly, and worthless, someone who was a complete failure?
As I buried my face in my hands as the inky black waves of sorrow crushed me, my thought flittered to the admonition we do at the end of movement class.
Be aware of your thoughts, so that they become your words
Be aware of your words, so that they become your actions
Be aware of your actions, so that they become your habits
Be aware of your habits, so that they become your character
Be aware of your character, so that it will become your destiny.
I clung to it like driftwood.
I must think positive thoughts. “I got myself out of bed, and managed to do ninety minutes of class.”
I must say positive words. “I am struggling with a medical condition called depression. I am intelligent, hard-working, kind, worthy and full of potential.”
I must generate positive actions. “No matter how bad I feel, I will keep going. I will try my hardest and be patient with myself. As long as I’m doing my best and progressing, I will be proud of myself.”
I must nurture positive habits. “When I am getting self-destructive or depressed, I will use positive means of coping that will help me through. I will train hard, take on self-care and wellness, seek out friendship and be good to myself.”
I will maintain a positive character. “I am a talented writer, a kind person, and a loyal friend. I will do good in this world, no matter the pain. I am strong and hardworking, I can accomplish so much.”
I will create a positive destiny. “I will publish books and inspire others. I will progress in Krav Maga. I will regain my health. I will have a great life. Even if it’s slow, I create my victory, one step at a time.”
It’s such a small piece of mental driftwood and yet, it keeps my head above water.
“Tomorrow is another day,” Depression promises. “Another day to drown you.”
But not today. Today, I survived. And for now, that’s enough.