Monday, March 21, 2011

Why Participate In Life?

For years I have been living day to day, trying to go through the motions. Every morning I would battle with myself, one part of  me knowing that I should get up and go to work, and one part of me wanting to drift back into unconsciousness where I would feel nothing. Some days the logical part of my brain would triumph, but at least one day a week I would call out sick and stay in bed for hours.

Naturally, my repeated absences had consequences at work. I was demoted from a managerial position and my hours were reduced. At first I was happier, having a lighter work load and more time for myself, but soon after the novelty wore off, I was back to the same routine. When the alarm went off, I would hit snooze over and over until I either decided to call in sick or jump in the shower and hurry out the door before I was late.

Logically, I could see myself spiraling down. The next consequence at work would be a further reduction of hours and a loss of benefits such as health insurance. No matter how much I tried to reason with myself, I always felt like I was losing. To make matters worse, on the days that I would stay home, I would feel guilty about it all day long. So, in the end, I would just end up feeling worse than if I had just gotten up and gone to work.

That was life pre-overdose and promised to continue if I didn't do something about it. I went to work my first 4 days back, but then missed the 5th day. I felt like shit. Everyone around me was concerned and for the first time I felt like I wasn't just letting myself down, I was letting everyone else down.

That night, my girlfriend gave me some tough love advice and pointed out to me that I needed to not just exist, but that I needed to participate in life. It's not enough to just get up and go through the motions every day, or else my depression will just persist. I have to want to get better. Not just think it, but to do something about it. She also helped me examine the mental gymnastics that I go through every morning and to identify that there is no reason to not get up.

With that kick in the ass, I went home and wrote a letter to myself that I could read each morning. I had to word it so that even if I were in the deepest, darkest place, that it would still pierce the blackness and bring me to a place where I could at least start my day. The letter that I wrote to myself went a little like this:

Today I will get up and do what I need to do because:
  • Sleeping all day doesn't make me feel better. It actually makes me feel worse.
  • Going to work never makes me feel worse and has the potential to make me feel better.
  • I enjoy interacting with colleagues, friends and family
  • I want to enjoy life.
  • I deserve it.
It's only been a few days since I wrote that letter to myself, but so far it's doing it's job. The first day I read it, but the last two days I didn't even look at it. Just knowing that it was there, next to my alarm, was all I needed to change my outlook on the day.

Sure, it's a small step, the first in a long line of steps I need to take to get my life on track, but at least it's a step in the right direction. Next up, learning to value myself.


  1. This is a good blog ladymink. It gave me something to think about.

    Oh don't look at mine for heaven's sake it is totally inappropriate!


  2. I may just have to write a letter to myself. Good idea indeed!

  3. Human beings *need* a purpose. Avoiding pain doesn't seem to cut it.