Thursday, October 21, 2010

Have you gone Mental (LII)

Have you ever felt like you do not contribute to your household? I often believe that about myself. Depression and anxiety close in and "withdrawing" is often the effect. It seems like I just want to curl up in my easy chair or engage in frenetic activity (cleaning, eating, etc.)around the house to try to self-medicate.

I hate the negative, self-deprecating feelings that arise so often. I know, in my head, that I make some contribution in my house work and being there emotionally for my son. The fact that I am not able to work now is often where my negative self-talk arises. I come from a household with a very strong work ethic. No matter how sick my Father was, he never missed a day of work. "I'll feel the same whether I stay home or go to work, so I'll go to work." This often kept me in a sea of guilt and shame whenever I missed work. It is amplified now that I am not engaged in gainful employment. I wonder what my Dad would say about it. I think, outwardly, he would be compassionate but inwardly wonder why I don't get up off my lazy a** and find a job.
I often wonder that myself when my mind runs amuck.

There are many ways to contribute to one's household that I needed to remember. My therapist called upon me to site several in my session with her today:

1. My presence in the home provides comfort and constancy to my children.
2. My mental illness has given my family the experience of supporting someone.
3. I do laundry, dishes, and cleaning.
4. I do little things for and encourage my wife in her work.
5. I model working toward healing as I use my bag of tricks to address my illness

That's about all I came up with, but it is "something"? What does your list look like, as you suffer from depression and anxiety? I am one who really gets down on himself and very easily. I need to almost fight to remember to use only positive talk. Sometimes I am successful. other times ...

Its difficult to believe in myself when I get this way. It kind of becomes a vicious circle. When I do not believe in myself, I feel like a slug (or worse) I then isolate myself from my support team and as a result I have another bout of not beleiving in myself. I don't know how well I've stated this, but I hope you get the idea. Believing in yourself and your potential is one of the basic skills you (I) need to practice.

Its really difficult because I know all this stuff. I worked as a counselor for over 25 years. In fact it is downright embarrassing to admit that I do much better helping others than I do helping myself. (Yes, people tell me that is normal.) I guess I don't want to be normal. I want to get well and get my life back but seem powerless to do so. I know this matches with the stories you tell about your experience.

I often wonder when I'll really get better and FEEL like I'm getting better. I get extremely depressed over this issue. Depression and anxiety are always with me, but it truly flares when I can look back on nearly 10 months of dealing with my illness and still can't see much progress. My wife is my greatest "reality checker" and can point out several areas in which I have improved. One is being able to drive myself. I went several months when due to my anxiety I needed to always ride "shotgun". Another example is being able to go to public places for short times and not have my anxiety keep me home. These are major. In terms of public places, I am always anxiety ridden but have chosen to act differently much of the time. I guess its one reason I keep my anti-anxiety medicine handy.

So there has been progress; I guess. I'm trying to believe this. Even though my disorders are always with me I am acting against them to try to grow in these areas.
Being a closet introvert probably doesn't help. Additionally in terms of driving I need to write down "where I'm going and why I am going there" in order to get errands done. I wonder how long this will go on. I ask your prayers for me. Sign on as a follower of my blog and I'll pray for you; whether or not you have depression-anxiety.

Typos and all . . . God bless you.

1 comment:

  1. Love this! you ARE getting better - I can see it every time I visit...and don't feel like you have to rush it.
    Love the stuff about Grandpa - I remember how often you have attempted to instill your work ethic in me and how often I've "failed" you! But I know in my heart that you love me as I am, lack of work ethic and all...just as Grandpa loved you and would see you as wounded and not just sick with a flu bug.
    I love you.