Saturday, January 2, 2010

Resolve to be Better

It's a new year, and with that comes resolutions.  Have you made any?  I have, but haven't verbalized those to anyone, yet.  I usually don't make resolutions, because I never keep them, which leads to unnecessary guilt and so on and so on.  However, this year is different.

How is it different?  Really, I don't know.  But it feels different.  And I feel different.   I feel more hopeful and positive than I have in a while.  It feels so good to be back in a positive state of mind.  Although, I have had this feeling in the past, it has been a while since it has lasted this long.  

Most of this I chalk up to my appointments with Dr. A.  He really is wonderful and has helped me more than anyone else I have dealt with.  He not only listens, but he also makes suggestions and even calls me out when I need it.  He makes me see reality, even when I try to refuse.

Case in point... He required me to come up with a list of 25 things I liked about myself and 25 things I disliked about myself.  When her first assigned this 'homework,' I thought that it would be easy to come up with things I disliked.  

However, when it came down to it, I struggled with it.  It took me a month, and at the end, I was pulling random stuff out of thin air (driving to my appointment, the one it was due at)... stuff that I was more indifferent about than actually I disliked.  Now, don't get me wrong, the list of 25 things I like about myself was NOT a piece of cake.  But, it was easier.  

And, what I realized, before I even spoke with him, was that being me is not so bad.  While I realize that on most days, there are days that that particular fact is lost to me.  Which, I'm sure everyone has days like that, but in my case, days would turn into weeks and weeks into months.  That's the thing with depression, it grabs hold of any negative or weakness and feeds on that.  It's like a leech... it literally sucks the life out of you.  

And, once I spoke with Dr. A about the things I dislike about myself, he made me realize that those things don't matter.  They were all things that I would never consider when deciding if I liked another person.  

Granted, there are days where those things matter to me, but in the grand scheme of things, they truly are insignificant.  He encouraged me to focus on the positives I listed; and also to find the silver lining in all the negatives I listed.  So, I have been working on that.

The entire month of December, I tried to think less about what was 'wrong' with me and think more about what is 'right.'  I know that it sounds so simple, but often times, it isn't.  

You know the email forwards that you receive with photos and stories of people who have much harder circumstances?  I used to get those and seriously get myself all worked up.  I mean, I could look at it and know that my problems are nothing compared to others and I know I had no reason to be unhappy, but still, I was.  And I felt so guilty.  Which would just cause more turmoil, because 'Why was I so unhappy when I had so much to be happy about?'  

I couldn't, and still struggle with the fact that with depression, you can't just change your way of thinking.  There really is something going on in the brain that you can't control.  Therefore, you can't just decide to be happy, no matter how hard you try... and trust me, I tried very, very hard.

But, what I am learning is that with the right treatment, and a positive attitude, you can be happy.  For me, the right treatment is a little medicine and 'talk' therapy.  In the past, I had a doctor that wanted to do a lot of medicine and a little talk.  That always left me feeling like we were putting a band-aid on the problem but not actually healing it.  And, I actually started to believe that I would never feel any better, any happier than I did then.  Which was a terrible feeling, because I was far from happy.  

So, now, with a new year and a new attitude, I have decided to make a resolution for this year (well, actually, I am making several, but one major one).  I resolve to find the positive in all aspects of my life.  I can already hear the line "Mama told me there'd be days like this..." in my head, but I still want to challenge myself.  I think that with this, and my continued appointments with Dr. A, that I can reach a happiness that has long eluded me.  I know it is only day two of this new year, but I did start working on this in December of 09, and it's looking good.

Now it's your turn... What do you resolve to do this year?  Even if you didn't make your resolution on the 1st, it isn't too late... Actually, it's never too late to do something good for yourself.  If you haven't made a resolution yet, I challenge you to dig deep within yourself and resolve to make a change in your life that will make you a better you... because the only person you can control is yourself.  

Let me know what you resolve to do and we will hold each other accountable!  I know I will need all the support I can get.

Much love and Happy New Year!