Thursday, November 11, 2010
I really wasn't in a good mood when I arrived I felt overwhelmed from my therapy session and worried about the fact that I was sliding into a deep pit of darkness and things were getting quite serious. And I wasn't entirely sure what to do about it.
But that support group meeting turned out to be the most memorable and I learned something very important that I think everyone, not just those with depression should apply to their lives
Our support group facilitator, started by telling us a story of a very well to do family- the father was a famous plastic surgeon and the mother was an anesthetist. They had two children, a son and a daughter. The father, who was ambitious and successful and had high expectations of his children- the big problem being that he would not accept anything but 1st place or an A+. If one of his kids achieved only 2nd place and a B+, he would not acknowledge it at all.
This was not healthy for their kids- to become obsessed by perfection and feel like a failure because perfection is impossible. That is when the mother made the introduction of celebrations. The night before a competition or an exam etc, they would have a celebration dinner to celebrate the fact that their child had made it that far and was so good at something that they could compete in a competition or write that exam. Doing this took focus off the result and embraced and celebrated the journey that the child had made.
Often it is not the result or destination that is important but the journey and the struggles we overcame to get there. For depression, I think everyones ultimate goal is to either get better or get to the point where they can live a normal life while managing their depression successfully. But we wouldn't be able to do this if we didn't undertake the journey of heartache , acceptance and learning to get there. And everyone knows as well as I do- it can be a long, painful test of endurance. But what I learnt from my support group on Monday night is to treasure the journey and celebrate even the most simple triumphs- "I got dressed today", " I started painting again", "I finally believe that I can get better" etc.
At the meeting each one of us lit a candle and stated something we were proud of and wanted to celebrate. There was someone there who lit their candle and said " I want to celebrate that I managed to get out of bed two hours ago and come to this meeting and that I feel better". That nearly broke my heart. I lit my candle and celebrated two things: first that I was able to volunteer for the soccer world cup earlier this year. It was a dream come true and secondly I celebrated that nearly four years after my break down I was still alive and I had made it another year of holding the Black dog from consuming me and claiming yet another statistic. I look at all kinds of statistics and realise that I should dead.
So wherever you are in the world celebrate how far who've come- light a candle, have a dinner with loved ones treat yourself because for most of you it's likely that you are stronger than you were yesterday.