depression, tuesday morning coffee

Tuesday Morning Coffee: Sticky Thoughts

It’s been a tough couple of weeks.

I really don’t know what else to say.

My mind is trying to cycle through every aspect of my life, trying to land on “the thing” that is making it hard for me to avoid depression, to snap out of it. It’s a cycle because it’s hard to sit with the “bad” feelings to figure out where they’re coming from, what they’re trying to tell me, even though that’s exactly what will help me feel better. And spiraling onto the “what’s going on, what can I do to fix it” path thinking it will make me feel better actually makes me feel worse.

Like my mind actually feels sticky. My thoughts feel sticky. Viscous. I can almost step out of my brain and watch them, unable to stop them from covering everything in a sticky goop. Resigning myself to letting them ooze, rather than taking the mop that’s in my hands and cleaning them up.

These thoughts ooze over how I feel about my job, about writing, about running. They ooze over my relationships. They ooze over my perception of the world, they stick to places of stress and anger and cover places of ease and joy.

They are on a search for anything wrong. It is not hard to find. (That’s not actually meant to be depressing, it’s just that we can find things wrong if we look for them.)

So then I have a list of everything wrong, but not the companion list of how to change them, or even if they’re so wrong that I need to change them.

And, even if I had that companion list, I feel too tired to change anything. Deep down I know I don’t have to upend my life in order to feel better.

So I battle that feeling of desperation. I’m scared of it taking over, making me feel like things are so dire that my only choice is to make some sort of drastic life decision rather than hone in on the small things. (So, I suppose finding good things because I’m looking for them.)

Small things like being grateful for the lilies popping up in my backyard after the storm.

The dahlias (I think they’re dahlias) are starting to blossom pink.

There are puffy clouds floating by that don’t contain rain.

If I’m being honest, sometimes these gratitudes feel like a distraction, like I’m trying to pretend I’m feeling this intense wave of gratitude when really I feel mostly numb. How is it so easy to discount the “good” feelings and hang onto the “bad” feelings? Why aren’t the waves of pleasure and confidence also sticky?

(Note to self: future blog post about “good” and “bad” feelings and how that’s basically bullshit.)

I try to remember that, in the moment the gratitude comes to mind, my brain can’t hold space for another thought or feeling. It’s like multi-tasking: it may feel possible to do eight things at once, but really you’re just flipping back and forth too rapidly to notice.

The gratitude can help unstick my thoughts, at least for a moment. The gratitude feels more fleeting, less sticky, but I suppose you don’t combat a greasy pan with more grease, you add soap and water and a little bit of scrubbing. Or, even just letting it soak when I’m too weak to scrub.

Or, asking for help scrubbing.

This is the hardest thing of all. I saw my therapist last night for the first time since my group therapy ended. Because even though I can do everything “right,” I still need help sometimes. I’m not good at asking for it. And sometimes what I want to ask for is ill-defined and something that I’ve probably convinced myself sounds silly. And, something I want to be better at doing. So, my last gratitude is for the people around me I know I can ask for help, even if I don’t do it well, that knowledge is sometimes enough.

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