This post doesn’t have a moral or a clever insight about life, because most of the time I don’t see the bright side of everything. I have depression and most of the time I feel hopeless, worthless, despairing. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to (try) kill myself any time someone says something nasty to me.
It’s the depression talking
Depression has little to do with other people. It cannot be solved by others and it is not brought on by others. At least, not directly. In my experience, depression is a lens, a worldview that sorts and filters each one of your experiences according to certain truths you hold about life. As such, you can’t see your way out of depression and you feel completely isolated from everyone else’s reality. You don’t see the big picture, or if you do, you can’t see a place for yourself in that picture. You only see everyone else doing what seems impossible to you.
According to the World Health Organisation, depression is caused by a complex interaction of biological, social and psychological elements. Often depression is a result of certain chemical imbalances in your body, which may be a result of genetic or environmental factors. These imbalances may be a result of genetics or environmental factors. Sometimes it’s the other way around, i.e. if you conform to a particular pattern of thought for long enough, it will bring about certain chemical processes in response to your thoughts and feelings, which in turn reinforces those beliefs.
I sometimes get the feeling that people are extra careful with me and hold back when they’re speaking to me, afraid that I am going to fall apart if they criticise or rebuke me. I am not sure whether this is because I tried to commit suicide, or because I am in a wheelchair, or if I am altogether imagining it. Of course it’s lovely that everyone is so nice to me, but sometimes I can’t help wondering if they are being honest and telling me everything. (At this rate, my paranoia will soon morph into fully-fledged conspiracy mongering. 😉 )
The truth is, I do tend to ponder on negative feedback and take it as reinforcement of the destructive perceptions I have of myself. That is a thought pattern I must break and in the meantime learn to cope with the hazards of life like everyone else. The best way of doing that is to change the way I talk to myself.
Get the straitjackets
Yes, everyone talks to themselves. Don’t pretend you haven’t had full-blown conversations about why you should/shouldn’t get out of bed when it’s still dark outside on a winter morning. Or about how if you had just done that one thing differently, you would be so much better off now. Or about how if you hadn’t been such a pathetic, useless, shameful human being you might have actually achieved something by now. That’s how my conversations go anyway.
When you speak to your children or friends or partner, you are encouraging, patient, kind, supportive and protective. What about when you speak to yourself? After all, you spend 100% of your time with yourself. If there is no love, how could you not want to be rid of yourself?
I am fortunate to have wise people teaching me and guiding me along this journey. One of the most important things I learnt from them in the past few months is that you can change the way you think about yourself by changing the way you talk to yourself. So maybe there is a moral here after all.