I have always loved that line, well part of a line, out of C.S Lewis’ The Last Battle (Narnia series)… it has always felt like life has led us onward and upward. We must press on, not sit and reflect back. BUT with depression there is always an element somewhere in treatment where there is a time to stop and look back. Figure out what may have triggered the situation, what led you to the path you are on. This is really quite necessary because if we can understand the roots and foundation of the words in our heads, the thoughts we can’t quite throw off, we can move on and find ways to create a new dialogue, to understand how not to fall into the old patterns.
BUT what about the future? Recently I asked Ken… will we always be running a current dialogue about depression? Is this the new story of our life that will never quite be closed, will it always be at the forefront of our interactions with others, with our planning? Will we always have that specter hanging over us that Ken is DEPRESSED?
Sadly, the reality is that Ken will never be… CURED… not like you can remove a wart or cure some physical illnesses. Rather, we are working for what we term “remission”. Our path is to managing and reducing the effect of this invisible illness not curing it so that he can say, well that was life X number of years ago… here I am fit as a fiddle not a random negative thought in my head.
I think we would all love a CURE. We pray and work for cures to all sorts of things, cancer, HIV/AIDS, TB… And, at times that becomes possible. BUT with an invisible illness, especially those related to mental health, there seems to be no end point. Not if you are chemically depressed that is. Remission is management and successful management. It is the ability to realize that while Ken will never be free of those thoughts and feelings that have plagued him for years he WILL learn to embrace the process to diminish their control over him.
Our onward and upward is to a diminished schedule of therapy visits, perhaps even a lowering of drug dosage, to a new lifestyle of positive thinking, of open dialogue between ourselves and the kids about how we feel and think. Our remission is one of process and progress. Where we take moments of joy and hold onto them, relish them and embrace them while also accepting and to a degree embracing the negatives as well.
I have often spoken of lifestyle changes in this series of posts. I feel that for anyone suffering from depression, bipolar, anxiety this is a key step. One of the easiest things to do is to wallow, to fall into bad patterns and to, for all intents and purposes give up. There is no giving up when you are onward and upward. If you are sitting at home in the basement in the dark no amount of therapy is going to make life fun. If you are willing to ignore things that need to be done and embrace procrastination no amount of drugs and vitamins is going to help you get organized and successful.
I know I sound like some sort of peppy self help guru but… they have some truths in their spiels. We really are our own worst enemies, healthy or not. And I will state right now… procrastination, wallowing not just depressed/etc. people do it. We are ALL guilty of these poor behavior choices. What Ken and I have noticed is that when it comes down to it and our brain says “I don’t need to do that right now” my first reaction is to buckle down and do it, his is to… well… not… It is not easy to embrace that do it right now attitude, even as the healthy one, I struggle often with intent to avoid and the feeling that things should not be done right now. Ken on the other hand, does not struggle (did not as he is working on this) rather he embraces it and… well let’s just say, we have had a few arguments.
So what I am trying to say is, don’t give up. Work on that dialogue within yourself that will bring you to action, remind you of your worth. Downward and backwards often looks like the easier path, but the reality of it is that the harder path is the path of the most reward. Join us on our upward path of exploration, acceptance and joy. This of course ties into the last post about finding a REASON for getting healthy. Nothing spurs on a process like a good reason.
As always I want to remind you that no matter what side of this situation you are on, suffering, supporting you are NOT alone. Myself and my family are here, in person, online we are here for you. I am so amazed by the amount of people who have read these posts, some have shared them, conversations have been started. It is all good. If you have a suggestion of a topic for a post, or a question, please leave a comment below. I would love to hear what you think about my thoughts on something that has become a permanent part of my life! Bless!