When the greatest pain and darkness of my depression started to lift, I was left with an overall feeling of sadness as well as a constant barrage of negative thoughts and feelings. I would often overreact, inwardly, in a very negative way to most situations that arose in my life. I lived in a dark gray fog of general unhappiness, despite my best efforts to change this.
I was often caught in circling negative mental dialogue. My feelings were real and try as I might I could not get to a good place emotionally. I was riding these unhappy waves and trying to make sense of them but this never helped.
This went on for a period of years, increasing and decreasing at times, like the incoming and outgoing tide. But although some periods of time were easier than others, I would still find myself getting mentally “stuck” frequently.
For example, we had just moved to a new neighborhood and I shared, in a group setting at church, that I had struggled with mental illness and how I had been able to overcome a lot of it. I went home that day, immediately regretting my decision to share something so personal with a bunch of women I didn’t know. I had done it, of course, to hopefully help someone else but I couldn’t shake my regrets and worries. For a period of a couple weeks I was stuck, mentally on this one instance, trying to figure out how I could feel better about it. My thoughts went in circles and I couldn’t get out. I was constantly distressed and worried. Logically, I could tell myself that everyone had already forgotten it and I should too but I still couldn’t stop my swirling feelings.
Finally, I told my husband my worries. He heard me out and asked me if I could logically see that I didn’t need to worry about it anymore. I told him that I could, but I realized, in that moment, that I wasn’t trusting my logic. I was being ruled by my feelings.
My feelings were telling me something was wrong and I needed to fix it, so I believed them.
I am very in tune with my feelings and tend to be led by them rather than logic. To disregard my feelings and fully trust the logic went against my natural inclinations. However, I learned that acquiring this skill would be very helpful in helping me see through the foggy storm of my swirling thoughts and emotions, to the truth of the situation.
Depression lies to us, constantly. It tells us we are failing. It whispers we aren’t good enough, and that we aren’t doing enough. It makes us suspicious of other people’s motives and makes friends look like enemies. It twists everything on its head.
I’ve learned that I can’t trust what depression tells me.
I found, that I had greater peace when I used logic to combat depression’s lies. But I had to trust the logic and I had to get off the wave ride of swirling emotions to do this. It’s not easy at first, but with practice it has become more natural. I find, in general that I approach life now with more logic, rather than letting my feelings lead.
This may seem simple, and it is. But when you are in a constant fog, and your depressed brain is lying to you, it’s really hard to navigate what is true and real. But it took me a very long time to get to this place while wading through deep depression. If you are stuck in negative emotions about something, try it. If you need help, ask a friend to give you a logical perspective on the situation and if it seems sound, trust it. You will find, as I have, that logic is one of your greatest tools in combatting depression.
Try it! And let me know how it goes.