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When Depression Is a Battle Against Myself

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I did well today.

You didn’t do it all.

I took a shower.

You didn’t shave your legs.

I brushed my hair.

But not your teeth.

I ate a full meal.

You ate too many carbs.

I planned my outfit.

You didn’t do laundry.

I bought Christmas gifts.

Not all of them.

I made plans.

You didn’t want to.

I smiled.

You wanted to cry.

I sang in the car.

The music was too loud.

I did OK today.

You didn’t do great.

I will do OK tomorrow.

Will you?

Every day I battle. I battle against myself. One voice says I’m doing OK, but the other is constantly there telling me I’m not good enough, not doing enough. I’m learning to accept that I can’t be perfect. I’m learning to tell that little insecure monster to shush.

I’m going to be honest. There are days when the monster wins. There are days when I stay in bed and don’t face the world. Days when I ignore the little things that make me happy. Days when I don’t wash my hair or change out of my pajamas.

There are other days though. Days like today. I went to work. I listened to my favorite songs. I showered and picked out my clothes for tomorrow. I chose to fight today.

I remembered to breathe today. I remembered to smile and feel joy at the little things. I chose to laugh instead of cry. I chose to sing in the car instead of going over all of my worries.

I chose to be the bigger person. I chose to grab on to life and let it take me along. I chose. Me. No one else dictates how I feel or how I respond to everything that happens.

It’s hard to ignore the voice. To tell the voice that I don’t care, because I do. Even though I wish I didn’t, I do. I care about tasks I didn’t complete. I care about how far over my dietary limits I think I went today. I care about how I was judged because of my favorite show. I care. I can’t not care.

But that’s OK. It’s OK to care. It’s OK to wonder and ponder and contemplate over my day and all the things that did or didn’t happen. It’s OK to want to do better. It’s OK to strive for more. I just won’t let it control me. The voice can whisper and I can listen, but I won’t let it drown out the others that are telling me how good I’m doing or how far I have come. I won’t let it take over all my thoughts and feelings. It can be there. But I won’t let it take my control.

So I let the other voices sing my praises. Let them tell me how well I did today, how well I can do tomorrow. I make checklists and I check off each box in spite of that whispered voice in my head. I let myself feel pride in doing things that other people don’t even think about.

I made mistakes today. I did. But I didn’t listen to the voice tell me I’m a failure. I chose to acknowledge the mistake and then move on. Sometimes I can’t. Sometimes it takes more than just an acknowledgment. Sometimes I cry when I haven’t finished my list. Sometimes the voice takes over and I feel like I can’t breathe. Sometimes I feel like I’m not good enough because I couldn’t finish all my tasks that day.

Today was not one of those days. Today was a good day and I’m trying to enjoy every last second of it. Trying to squeeze out every last modicum of happiness. Just in case tomorrow is one of those days.

I don’t think about tomorrows as much anymore though. It’s harder for the voice to convince me I’m not good enough or failing if I focus on the present moment. If I stay in the moment and I focus on how I’m feeling right now. If I don’t worry about tomorrow or the next day or the next month. It’s hard. I have always been a planner. It makes me feel like I’m in control. But the monster took that from me. Stole my calm and peace. I’m stealing it back.

It’s hard to quiet the voice. But I can. I will.

As long as I keep going. As long as I keep trying. As long as I keep breathing — I will be OK.

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Getty image via Maxime Caron

Originally published: December 22, 2017
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