I’ve spent most of 2021 wishing my circumstances were different in the hopes that I would feel different.

Work was a nightmare at the beginning of the year. I was given some down time once I expressed my distress, but I’ve wasted much of that time to wallow in boredom and self-pity. I kept hoping for an immediate change or a deus ex machina that would magically give me income but allow me the time to do whatever I wanted. I kept telling myself I just needed to find another situation that would instantly fix everything.

I knew my life wouldn’t automatically change overnight when my book was published, but I secretly hoped it would. Some wonderful things have happened that I don’t want to discount. Still, that idealistic author life has eluded me.

My injured knee has taken an extraordinarily long time to heal. It’s boring and frustrating. Some days I’m so depressed I do nothing to help it along its way. Between inactivity and anorexia recovery, I’ve gained weight. I have mixed feelings about my new body that is weaker in some ways and healthier in others. I’ve recently started seeing a chiropractor (yes, really) for deep tissue massage for my knee, which surprisingly seems to be helping a lot.

I’ve spent much of this year in a true depressive state, something I haven’t experienced fully in years (I have depression and bipolar II disorder, among other things), and I’m not sure I’ve ever had an episode that has lasted nearly twelve months.

I long to feel better but have either been too exhausted to do anything about it or I keep hoping some external force in my life will change rather than looking inward and finding what I can address, control, and change in myself. As Jimi Hendrix said in the song “Manic Depression,” “I know what I want, but I just don’t know.”

Yes, I’m seeing a therapist, and yes it’s helping. That doesn’t mean every day is easy. It also doesn’t mean all hope is lost for tackling this monster. 

The way forward is not sneaking around this depression. It’s going through it. The fog has started to lift this fall, and I’ve taken two actions that are helping me lift my spirits and shake up my routine. The first action was starting something. The second was giving up on something.

I started a comedy podcast with my partner in September, and we’ve had loads of fun with it. I’m able to be my authentic self, which I can’t do in the corporate workplace and still have to keep in check on the mental health writing/podcasting circuit.

As for stopping something: in early November, I took the LinkedIn app off my phone and posted a message that I would be taking a break from that social networking site (seeing people supposedly crushing it at jobs they loved was too triggering for me). I also stopped frantically searching for another job, which is a frustrating process on the best of days, because I still don’t know what I want to do next. My depression is clouding everything right now, so I don’t want to make a rash decision based on a desperate desire to escape transient feelings. I had a talk with my boss about my dissatisfaction, which has helped. 

The way forward is through. That doesn’t change my situation or make my depression go away, and it’s a somewhat intimidating commitment to make. But it also helps my mind calm down and begin to clear a path. I’m ready to stop trying to escape and to start saving myself starting from the inside, one step at a time. 

3 thoughts on “The Way Forward Is Through: a Meditation on Depression

  1. Have you been reading any books by Nathaniel Branden? I JUST read this exact same sentiment in one of his books. I’m sure others have expressed it too, but I was curious to know. 🙂

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