When you’re depressed, you might think of yourself as lazy.
And others are all-too-happy to blame you that way, too.
But doing simple things can be 10 times as hard for you as they are for another person. That’s because you’re hard on yourself.
For example, I’ve been learning some new stuff on the computer for the last couple of years. I was not one of these people who owned a computer and got busy on the internet as soon as it started becoming popular. Like many depressed people, I didn’t have money to spend on computers and when I did get one decades after everyone else, I did so for utilitarian reasons and not to check out my friends on Facebook.
Well, I find that certain people, whether young or old, can rip through these online classes like there’s no tomorrow. But for me, the slightest challenge is extremely frustrating and I tend to need to walk away for awhile and come back to it later.
The key, though, is that I now KNOW that I can just walk away and come back when I’m feeling better.
I used to believe that I had to finish it – I had to suffer through hours of screaming and possibly property destruction. (Yes, I’ve been known to damage property when extremely frustrated.)
I had to master it, wrestle it to the ground! Bloody myself in the process. I had this inner “coach” kicking me and forcing me to continue.
A coach like that, you don’t really need.
When I realized that curing my depression was an inside job, things changed.
Even if I didn’t achieve what I set out to do, I changed the meaning of the failure. Instead of deciding that I was a failure or a bad person, I decided that it was okay to fail once in a while during the process of learning something new. I decided that I would not be a bad person even if I NEVER got it.
I decided that even if I wasted time, or wasted money, or got fooled and cheated, or ended up in a place I didn’t want to be, it was going to be okay anyway.
I started realizing that a lot of people got into positions that they didn’t like and came out okay anyway.
I took the opposite view of the inner “coach” – or should I say inner slave-driver!
I didn’t tell the people around me while I was learning to do this, because most people will just hammer on you and get really alarmed that you’re letting yourself off the hook. (That’s when they realize that you’re not listening to your inner “coach” so they try to take his or her place!)
I found out that rather than giving myself the required kick in the pants, I could actually do okay if I just treated myself with kindness. Over time, I believed that treating myself with kindness made me a better producer than treating myself with cruelty.
The weird thing was that after I started learning to do that, I started meeting kind people. And the process snowballed. The kinder and more understanding I was to myself, the more I started meeting people who were kind and helpful to me, too. I had met plenty of kind people throughout my life, but now I was having long-lasting relationships with them. A curious change.
I think that the inner slave-driver not only expects perfection, but never lets up for a minute. The inner slave-driver never lets you celebrate accomplishments for a moment! He or she only sees what’s still left to be done.
I think that slave-driver is a very damaged person with problems of his/her own. But you are not your inner slave-driver.
I don’t know about all depressives, but learning to be kinder to myself helped me come out of depression.
What makes you get stuck and what do you do about it?