Walking On Sunshine, or, Out of the Tar Pit

Walking On Sunshine, or, Out of the Tar Pit July 15, 2011

Walking On SunshineNo day in La Brea for me today! No, ma’am! I did everything I could to make the rest of yesterday be more positive, and it must’ve helped, because I got a good night’s sleep, woke up happy, and felt happy all day.

One thing that made a huge impact was revealing that I was depressed, both via this blog, and Facebook. One of the traps of depression is the belief (strong, but mistaken) that nobody cares and that nobody wants to listen to a complainer and so it’s better to just lie in bed. But that is just NOT TRUE! Every single time I’ve been depressed I’ve felt that way, but each time, once I revealed that I was depressed, the depression started to lift. Even when I was in therapy, once I got to the point of admitting I was depressed, it helped alleviate the depression. People rally around, I’m sure some people pray. It’s clear that I’m not alone and that people really do care.

But this time, more than before, something I read really served as a wake-up call. It was an article that I referenced in my “Related Articles” section at the bottom of the post. An article from Psychology Today’s Depression Management Techniques Blog entitled, “What you did was not okay, and I’m staying depressed to prove it,” talks about how people sometimes hang on to feelings of depression because they have a “faulty underlying belief that depression proves what happened to them was wrong, unfair, or hurtful,” and that somehow, not being depressed is like saying that nothing bad happened, or there’s nothing wrong. Unfortunately, being depressed usually doesn’t hurt anybody but the person feeling depressed. In this case, me.

I’d been feeling more and more that I was becoming bitter and depressed because my life was not turning out like I’d wanted it to, and that the alleged actions of some specific people were at least partly to blame. While that may or may not be true, they’re going on about their business, and my depression is doing nothing to change that for them. Not one of those “bad” people apologized, nor did they change their behavior. It’s entirely possible that they do not have a clue that something they did hurt my feelings, or contributed to a sense of injustice on my part. It’s also entirely possible that they didn’t even mean to do anything to hurt my feelings. And it could be that they really don’t have anything to do with my problem and I’m just looking for someplace to lay the blame.

But blaming someone else for my troubles feels good for about fourteen seconds. After that, it’s pretty useless. It might even be true, but it still doesn’t solve my problem.

It continues to amaze me that a few paragraphs in a magazine can shed such light on a pervasively grumpy mood that has waxed and waned for over a year. Oh, I didn’t feel really bad all the time. Most of the time I felt fine. But there was this undercurrent of dissatisfaction even on my good days. On my bad days—whoa! I was very nasty.

I’m not done thinking about this. But the light at the end of the tunnel is no longer the headlamp of an oncoming train.

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  • Glad to hear that you are feeling better!

    • That’s how it goes. Some days and good, some days are bad. Fortunately, there are more good days than bad days.

  • That is so true…’what you did was not okay, and I’m staying depressed to prove it.” what a light bulb moment…I know I’ve done the same thing…and the other person has no idea (and maybe wouldn’t care if they did) what’s going on, why I feel depressed. Holy moly…somtimes we’re our own worst enemies…good for you for fighting it!!

  • What an amazing little piece of insight that completely changes MY outlook on my own bouts of depression….all the way back to my turbulent adolescence. Thanks for sharing it here. <3