“I am where I choose to be.”

Many times we here quotes like this. They tell us we are completely in control of our own lives. Or at least our own happiness. “There is no reason you should be unhappy and if you are, do something to change it.” This makes sense…unless you’ve been in a position where it inexplicably doesn’t.

Telling that to a person with depression is like tell a person with a broken leg that they can just walk if they’re willing to try. They might be able to hop along for a bit, but until that leg is healed, they will not really be able to walk the way they did before. The same goes for happiness. Until your mind heals, you can’t just “find happiness” or “be happy” when your mind is not well. It must be accepted that this is the way it is for mental illness.

Nobody chooses depression. Trust me when I tell you, NOBODY wants to be depressed. And often times there’s no explaining how it happened. For some, there are traumatic, life-changing events and for others it is difficult to pin down one main reason.  This is why it’s so difficult to just “be happy.”  If we knew what it was making us unhappy, we’d certainly change it. Or at least try to because it may be something out of our control.

It’s funny. This is a quote I always looked at and enjoyed. I wanted to believe it to be true, and to an extent I do. Many times we are in control of our own fate, whether we recognize it or not. I am also willing to accept the truth that maybe we are not always as in control as we think. Sometimes it’s not just due to emotional instability or irrational thoughts. There are times we are genuinely unable to change something about the way our minds work. At least we cannot change it on our own.

If we do not allow something or someone to help us, what will stop us from continuing with the same mindset we currently have?  I certainly do not have an answer for that. I always struggle with asking for help. I do not want others to feel the burden that I am feeling and do not want to make them feel as though they need to be responsible for me and my wellbeing.  But I have come to the realization that I cannot do everything on my own.  Especially the really difficult things like feeling down, responding to negative situations, and coping with my emotions.  These are things that probably have not only led me to my current state but also have perpetuated my feelings.  As I wrote about previously, one of he hardest parts about depression and mental illness are the cyclical thoughts in your head that you often feel you cannot control.

While I do believe we must be the ones to take responsibility for our own lives and wellbeing, it would be naïve of anyone to fail to recognize the role outside factors can play in how we feel.  It is human nature to allow them to affect you, positively or negatively; and when you are already feeling morose, the negative weighs heavier on you than normal.

If you are affected by things outside of your control, or even some things that might be in your control but you are having a hard time getting a grasp of, do not feel weak. It is so easy to feel that.  I do all the time. I feel it is my lack of strength that makes me feel this way. While in reality, it is likely just a result of the current circumstances of my life.  This is difficult to remember, but crucial in not blaming yourself for how you feel.  Do not be afraid to free yourself of the responsibility of how you got to where you.  But try to be strong enough to realize you are capable enough to find help if you are willing to seek it.

It is not an easy road and it is always so simple to read it. The first step on the road is the hardest. The next twenty steps after might be just as hard…but somewhere along the line it’ll get easier and you will realize you are somewhere you want to be. Somewhere you CHOOSE to be.

 
-mnw

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