[P]erfectionism…often the path to depression[i]

20131202-122446.jpgA few things happened for me a long time ago which have been psychological anchors to reiterate the opening quote in this writing. What those events were is not important, what’s important is that I would constantly refer back to them, unconsciously of course, and measure my life by those events. I never measured up to those standards set by those “objective” criteria! Not continuous sobriety, not going to college, law school, becoming an attorney, a father, living in a place where many people of the world would like to live. Not doing all the work on houses, apartment buildings, any of it. Again, not any of it. I failed is what the mind says. It says no matter what I did, if I am not there now, I have failed and all of the time before this was a failure too.
20131023-215922.jpgThat is not me talking. That is a voice that I have carried since I can remember when. It is not true. Many people dont even try to do what I did.
“Depression is the inability to construct a future”[ii] But I am here now. I am toying with the ideas of what I am going to do in the future. I am not sure, but I have a pretty good idea. I could not have said that even 2 months ago. Its not time to put it out here only because when I usually put something in writing, I then feel like I “have to do it.” Where I am now is better than I was a month ago with this.
head-in-the-cloudsA wonderful friend sent me an email card this morning. It said ” The World Is A Better Place With You In It.” Had I been sent that card 2 years ago, I would have instantaneously shuddered in fear and shame inside. Because I didnt feel that way. Even if I had received that e-card five years ago or 10 years ago I would not have believed it. This is not to say that I completely accepted and agreed with the statement when I read it this morning. But working through depression allows me to entertain the possibility that the statement is true!The only way that I am able to have the perspective that I have about that e-card today is the point of reference of my history of depression. Between five and 10 years ago I was, “on top,” I had all of the things that many people strive for. However I still felt like I was a failure when the depression became overt.
trolls-tongue-norway“Writing is the best anti-depressant.”[iii] Since I have started writing about depression I have been given more and more relief from it. I was talking with a friend last night and I was talking about how when I am doing better the nuances of the world don’t seem like earth shattering events. When the depression is strong, not winning a hand in a friendly poker game can seem like hell. When the depression is not as strong, Today when things don’t go my way, I am getting better at letting them roll off me and remembering how lucky I am to have been diagnosed with depression.

[i] Dr. Brene Brown[ii]Rollo May[iii]Fierce Dolan
123 R.V.
baby-owl-learning-to-fly-peter-brannon

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5 thoughts on “[P]erfectionism…often the path to depression[i]

  1. Oh I loved reading this – I love to hear that you can see the possibility now, the possibility that there may be something that you can offer, only you, and that it will mean something to someone else. That’s epic. And just in time for the New Year 🙂

    • Yes! I so agree with this! Not only does writing help me digest and move on in my life, but reading others who experience the same thing is validating.
      By writing we are, I think, subversives in a culture that expects us to just go along and be quiet. The world can change when we are no longer afraid to speak for ourselves!

  2. I’ve experienced the same thing. I’ve noticed that the more perfectionist I am the more depressed I get. So I’ve decided to try to drop the perfectionism as much as possible.

  3. I read this with a little sadness as it was how I felt for a long time, letting my depression get the better of me but then, like you, I too am glad to have been diagnosed with depression because it has given me empathy and has made me more understanding towards others needs..

    I have worked with people with a wide variety of mental health problems and have found that they are the ones that have the most love to give and are the kindest people I have ever met.
    You’re a good bloke and the world probably IS a better place because you’re in it 🙂

    AND JUST AS THE CATERPILLAR THOUGHT HIS LIFE WAS OVER … HE TURNED INTO A BEAUTIFUL BUTTERFLY (Hans Christian Anderson)

    Have a great day
    Darkyblue xx

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