Depression is like a water vortex. If you get too close to its edge, it spins you down with a violent rapidity that even the strongest of swimmers find difficult, nearly impossible, to fight against.
The key is to not get too close to that edge.
Sounds easy, right? Not so. There are many anchors that we carry through our daily lives that weigh us down and remove that innate buoyancy that would keep us afloat and able to get away.
One of the most powerful anchors is guilt. It gains its power from having a grain of truth attached to it. It can manipulate that grain to seem so large and overpowering that it just propels us right up to that vortex edge.
What can we do about it? How can we overcome it? How can we lighten the load that guilt uses to weigh us down and push us right to that edge of oblivion?
I have been battling this monster, guilt, recently. We’ve waged war before and I’ve won many times. However, recently, it’s been grabbing at me with its teeth, pulling me ever closer to that vortex that is depression. I know the only way out is to fight. But it had me in a strong hold this time. My usual battle strategies were only minimally working. I needed something else, another plan of attack.
So I started scouring the internet for clues. For for anything that could help me combat it this time.
In my search for an answer, I came across a blog post. Its title sounded too good to be true: New Neuroscience Reveals 4 Rituals That Will Make You Happy. But, I read it anyway.
Well, what do you think the first step suggested in this blog post was? It was to ask the question: What am I grateful for?
That question made me realize that this was the place that I was led to–that I was meant to find.
I’ve often said that the Attitude of Gratitude is powerful and it can help you steer towards good things. I practice it daily. This resonated with me so much that I read on.
The second step was to label negative feelings. Well, the next time that wave of sadness pushed me closer to that edge, I remembered that step and I called out the monster’s name defiantly. I mentally shouted, “You are just guilt. That’s all you are.” And, sure enough, I started to have a lightening in my heart.
This strategy started to work to help me feel better. So, I kept it up. I didn’t try to counsel myself out of the other negative emotions with reason and logic. I didn’t try to squash them after a good cry. This time instead, I labeled all the other negative emotions I was feeling that go hand-in-hand with guilt. I looked at them and called them out one by one.
It took a little while. And, slowly, that lightening increased. I started to think about all the good things in my life, all the good moments, the memories I was grateful for. And I was able to swim away from the edge of the vortex.
As those of you who fight against depression know the vortex doesn’t simply evaporate. However it does grow smaller with each successive win. So, it’s important to keep winning. To not let the vortex grab a hold of you. To not give up. Not ever.
The post New Neuroscience Reveals 4 Rituals That Will Make You Happy was based on a book by Alex Korb, PhD, titled The Upward Spiral. It’s written by a neuroscientist and outlines steps to take to battle depression. I fully intend to read it when it’s available from my library. It will definitely give me more tools that I can count on in my arsenal against depression.
The Daily Prompt is “Guilty.” Everyone has something they feel guilty about. It’s a part of life. But we shouldn’t let the monster, guilt, goad us into thinking that it’s more than it really is, that we are somehow less than who we are because of it. We should call it out by name, label it for what it is, take steps to see it and decide if it’s something we need to atone for or a monster that needs to be vanquished.
Just for today, I will be thankful/grateful for my many blessings. As a perk for Patreon pledges, I’m offering a bullet journal page for recording daily Attitude of Gratitude moments. If you feel so inclined, Become a Patron!
Thank you 🙂