It doesn’t matter whether there is a thick blanket of clouds, pouring rain or blue bird skies – most of us can determine if we’ll see the sun or not.
I used to feel like Eeyore all the time – at least inside. I always had a happy looking exterior because I didn’t want anyone knowing what was really going on but feeling down was just the way it was for me. And then, one day, I learned that I was suffering from a depressive disorder and it had been that way for years.
My psychiatrist and I agreed to search for an anti-depressant that worked for me. One made me feel like I’d turned into a sloth and another made me feel like I could jet-propel myself into space but I finally found one that worked well. It was as if the lights had been turned on for the first time. I couldn’t believe how much more clear-headed I felt but I was also dismayed that I had lived this way for so many years.
Being on anti-depressants helped me move forward with the work I was choosing to do and as I stabilized and felt more solid, I was able to reduce the dosage significantly but I still found Eeyore inhabiting my psyche more often than I liked and it always seemed to happen every year from October through December! I’d become used to taking close and introspective looks at myself so one October, I asked myself why does my mood take a nose dive every year for three months? I sat with this for a while and by summoning some humility, lots of honesty and much needed acceptance, I had to admit that my mood dropped significantly each year because I allowed it to – I nurtured my depression because I was struggling to accept the challenges presented by my divorce and the estrangement of some of my family members while entering the holiday season which no longer looked the way it used to.
I nurtured my depression – what a thing to discover and to admit to, but it was true. I nurtured it because this was the mind-set I knew most intimately. Nothing looked the way I wanted it to so instead of making positive changes, I chose to wallow in depression. Amazingly, with this realization, my mood lifted almost right away. I shared this revelation with others in my 12-step groups and then I started planning for a different and rewarding holiday season. I opened my home for Thanksgiving to others without family and hosted some parties around Christmas. I was actually being of service and it was the best holiday season I had had in years and I’ve never fallen into that woe-is-me mind-set again at least during this time of year.
I realized that I had the power to improve my mood and part the clouds. Now don’t get me wrong – there are many of us who suffer from intransigent and deep depressions that don’t seemed to be helped with medication and talk therapy. I’m not talking about people with problems like this. People like this need the help of skilled psychiatrists, therapists and others. I’m talking about people like me who need a little help with mood control but still have the ability to moderate our moods simply through awareness, humility, honesty, acceptance and action.
I’ve written about my transformative process and have made two videos where I share my story so if you’d like to know more about me I encourage you to read more of my blogs and watch the videos. If you resonate with this and would like to talk further, don’t hesitate to contact me. Talking works.
Find out who you are and do it on purpose.
~ Dolly Parton