Monday, October 17, 2016

How do you win the battle against depression?

To be clear: This is not meant to be a replacement for regular therapy or medication, This is just another tool that might be a help to someone who is battling with depression. 
If you are grappling with suicidal ideation, please seek professional help immediately!
You are loved and valuable!

I have never taken a life, but I have tried to. I have tried on more than one occasion to take my own life.

When the enemy is someone that you carry with you through everything that you do, it's hard to hear what's true and what is a lie. Sometimes those lies can sound very real and they can convince you that the world would be a better place without you.

It's not true, of course, but The Liar tells you that anyway.

Recently, for the first time in a while, I encountered The Liar again.
"You are worthless and a failure. You could have stayed where you were, finished your MBA and gone anywhere you wanted to go for school. But no. You got in a hurry. You wanted to move up. And now, what do you have? A half-begun MBA, and no way to pursue a straight-up philosophy degree. Yep. You're awesome all right. An awesome failure.
Oh, and you know that book you were writing,'ll never finish. You're too chicken."
Oh, The Liar is a nasty, nasty enemy. She knows so much about me and makes a great argument. This time she almost got me because I was alone and vulnerable.

Only this time, I actually fought her off.

Recently, I bought a book called "Hilda" by Jennie Mustafa-Julock (aka Coach Jennie). Brilliantly, Jennie has separated out the negative, self-saboteur that plays in our heads, made her into a cartoon character, and named her Hilda.

Hilda is your inner naysayer. All that negative talk up there --that's Hilda, not me. She's the one who tells you that you can't or shouldn't or that you don't know enough to do whatever amazing thing you're about to do.

Jennie's Hilda is not mean-spirited, like The Liar. Actually, Hilda is just trying to keep you safe, but in my case, Hilda has become a tyrant. More times than I care to count, I have found myself locked in a battle for control over my own life --and at the wrong moment, it could be a matter of life or death.

It's not so much that Hilda lies, it's that she finds the very worst of me and shows me only those pieces. She misrepresents them as what I look like to the world around me. But, we all know that there's a difference between the Truth, The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth. Sure, Hilda tells the Truth...but it's not the Whole Truth.

The rest of the truth (to go with what's listed above) is that I have overcome some really big obstacles to get where I am today. Here is a partial list of the last 18 months:

-A loved one's drug addiction
-Two personal moves and one child's move
-Two divorces
-A family suicide
-Cancer (my brother's)
-Possible Cancer (mine)
-Cancer again (Dad's)
-Two job changes
-Graduation (yes, good things can be stressful, too)
-My cousin's murder

And, during that time, I passed 10 credit hours of Graduate level work with a better than 3.8 GPA, I completely changed the way that courses are developed at my old job, I helped people transform their lives and find their dreams. I was so good at what I did that Ohio State hired me (it's tough to get in there, you know!) And I have even found time to keep up on some of my reading and contributed to a book that has just recently been published.

Yeah, I AM awesome!

I developed an idea to help remind me of these things when I feel like I am failing. I call it the Success Scrapbook. It's a photo album that I keep on my phone so it's always at the ready. When ever I succeed at something I take a picture of the results or of something that represents those results. I also keep pictures of the people I love and who love me. Anytime I need a reminder that I do sometimes succeed, I open it and take a look at the pictures. It's a really great way to tell Hilda to go sit in the corner and be quiet.

I worry sometimes about my path - where am I headed. God has a plan for me, I know, but I am not a passive figure in the plan. No, I have a responsibility to use the gifts that God gave me to be everything he created me to be. The gifts of reason and perseverance, of mercy and love, and a sense of justice, have lain dormant in me for too long.

I have gotten into the habit of letting others choose for me, and I cannot do that anymore. I can choose to listen to Hilda and to look to everyone else for assurance or direction, or I can listen to myself and cut my own trail.

Hilda is not nice. Not to me, anyway, and right now, she's being downright nasty. So, it's time for her to sit down and shut up. It's time for Katie to decide who she is and what she wants, and then go get it.

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