Is it a choice?

I have a depressive turn of mind. I am willing to admit this finally because of another writer, Sarah A. Hoyt,  who admits the same. Yesterday I was looking out at the courtyard, and wondering why the sun was shining and the birds were singing.

I know why I am turning downward. It has a lot to do with the stress in my life. I used to think if two out of three areas of my life were going good than I was doing well. I broke these parts of my life into money, social, and health. I’ve had times in my life that only one of these areas was working properly, usually health. I would chalk it up to life isn’t perfect and be optimistic that nothing stays the same.

To be honest life was glorious because I left home to become something entirely new. I won’t get into the circumstances of my childhood. A lot of it rolls into one long memory of pain and sadness. I used reading as an escape. One of my favorite writers during that time was Andre Norton and particularly her Witch World series. Her heroes, who escaped terrible circumstances, gave me hope that I could escape too. I did.

I’ve wondered if I inherited the glass half-empty attitude. When I look back, I really think my dad was depressed most of the time. I even remember when he went through a “nervous” breakdown and stayed in bed for several weeks.

So lately, I am dealing with problems in those three areas. The stress has been building and it has zapped much of my energy. I’ve been pushing on my writing again and yesterday, life went gray.

I sat on the recliner in my small living room, looked out the door and watched the clouds float across the sky. I was still watching the sky when the winds whipped around the trees.   My little dog warmed my lap and we watched together.

One question kept floating up? Why am I here again?

Normally I have enough energy to rage and to change. I didn’t even have enough energy for that reaction.

I know continued stress is the trigger for me. I haven’t had a break from it since September of last year. When I think one thing is over, I am wrong and another problem which is as bad as the first shows up. So then I am dealing with two problems that need to be resolved … now.

While I was sitting there and not-thinking, feeling empty, I remembered something my late-husband used to say. “Find that one memory that makes you happy. Look at it. Be grateful for it.”

So my good memories are all about him. We used to walk on Pensacola beach, barefoot, hand in hand. We would walk into the water. He was my safety net as we got into deep water. You see– I can’t swim, but with him I went to places that I couldn’t go alone.

I am so grateful for this one memory. If I hadn’t had him in my life, I wouldn’t have known that feeling of safety even in the depths of the ocean.

I don’t think that a depressive turn of mind is a choice. I do know I have a choice of gratitude. So I am grateful for my friends, for my readers, and for my family. I am grateful for Foxy. I choose to be grateful and hope it is enough.

11 thoughts on “Is it a choice?

  1. Having been there, I do know there are techniques I can use to push back against it. I’ve had a considerable amount of stress lately, but I knew there was an end date on that coming, and as to the source of that stress, the individual is going to wind up the author of their own misfortune, which gives me some peace of mind.

  2. I have a hunch my mother battled depression, but there was nothing for it. Then a doctor offered her Valium. She told him off and marched out of there. I’m useless for people like you as I’m one of those that manage to laugh no matter what happens. When things go black (as they can), I remember the joy of church (at the age of two or three) and the joy of skipping in the sunlight (age three) knowing the golden light around me was from the Lord and the angels. I couldn’t see them, I just knew they were there. That joy never goes away.

    • Thank you. Yea– I have to remind myself of my good fortune. I also have to remind myself that everything changes. I do envy you. I like your mother. I would do the same thing. I found that with Valium that I lose the creative spark. I need that to survive and to thrive.

  3. I. too, have struggled with depression ll my life and this past winter was exceptionally stressful. Is it a choice. Some think so but those that say,”snap out of it. Look at the bright side. Count your blessings.” have never been on the dark side of that divide. They do not understand that one can sink beyond the point of self-control. Nor do they see there are genetic and environmental factors that predispose us to depressive states.

    I am glad that you have your little four-legged companion. He can provide the “reason to go on” because he needs you. And you need him to need you. He also offers unconditional love, something that we all need.

    Yes, be grateful for your memories – but also see the gifts of the present that Tuffa (?) gives you.


    • Thank you– You are right. Sometimes the sink happens so quickly that the self-control techniques I use, do not work. Foxy keeps me here for sure. My writing keeps me here. 🙂

      One of my doctors reduced one of my meds and I felt a difference. Meds are also a big factor in this.

      • 🙂 Sorry I got Foxy’s name wrong. Another FB friend has a similar dog named Tuffa. Yes, meds can make a big difference. I managed to wean off mine but it was no longer working – and was not for physical reasons. I hope yours get worked out to your benefit.

      • lol 🙂 no problem. all good. My meds are for my Vasculitis and kidney disease– a side-effect is it changes my mood… usually for the worst.

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