A Roller Coaster ride it is … the ups and downs of life

Woo hoo! Today was quite the roller coaster ride! I’m talking about CONTRAST.

Late last night, I was opening my mail when I found the rather depressing news that the IRS has put a lien on my house!! Ugly! Here I am with no car, no Internet connection at home, scant resources, a tumultuous relationship with one of my roommates, and that news just had to take the cake! Fortunately, I have experience with clinical depression, even suicidal tendencies, and I know how NOT to go there.

I tried thinking positive thoughts, but my brain just wasn’t going to have any of that. And going to sleep was not an option. So I finally decided to just let the bad feelings rip — not trying to resist them, alter them, etc. And I just allowed myself to feel the feelings without labeling myself as indulgent, a bad person, or whatever. Finally, I did drift off at about 3 or 4 in the morning.

If you don’t know this, sleep is a great equalizer. If you’re depressed or suicidal, other people will give you a lot of flack about sleeping too much. But, truly, you might be doing yourself a lot of good. People will also tell you that you “shouldn’t” have bad thoughts or feel depression. While they might mean well, their advice might actually come across as a judgment of wrongdoing on your part, which actually makes you feel more depressed. But now that you KNOW they are aware of your depression, you now feel obligated to act especially cheerful around them, adding to your own personal burdens. It might be helpful for them, but not necessarily for you.

Sooo, if you are truly feeling depressed and there is no getting around it, let yourself experience the feelings, lie down if you have to, take a break from some of the noise if you have to. (After all, you wouldn’t feel guilty about doing this if you had a migraine, would you?) Allow the feelings to come and go as they will. I don’t suggest overdramatizing them or trying to remember just how bad it is! Just allow the feelings and eventually something else will take your attention in another direction, such as a dream, the soft bed, the TV show you’re watching, a memory, an appreciation of your pets, or anything else that your mind switches to. (Your mind is really fickle, you know.) And when those other thoughts come in, just feel grateful that they did. Although it’s true that thinking happy thoughts alone will not necessarily fix your problem, feeling depressed is a sure-fire guarantee that you are not thinking efficiently or doing your best problem-solving.

The rest of the roller-coaster ride? I just attended one of the best classes ever with Steve Olsher’s Circle of 10. It’s a peer group, a brainstorming place, a source of great information about who you are and WHAT you’re supposed to be doing with your life.

From depression to elation … wow, what a roller coaster!!


Andrea Robinson

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