Day 58 – The Results of Hope

Today I’m grateful that hope isn’t a useless idea.

If you read yesterday’s entry, I had a rough day on Friday.  But yesterday I was able to find some hope.

And it turned out to be a fantastic day.

After studying the Stoics, I had decided that I agreed with Seneca (I think it was Seneca) that hope isn’t a good thing, because it indicates that you aren’t accepting your current situation as it is and loving it.

That follows logically, if you look at it in a vacuum.  If the goal is Amor Fati, then we aren’t practicing it if we need to have hope.

But guess what.  The key word in there is practice.  We aren’t going to undo years of conditioning in a week (or 58 days).  And the thing that can put us back on track?

Hope.

It did for me yesterday.  It helped me to remember that even though I’m in the middle of a depressive episode, shit always always always changes.  To be hopeless, to believe that when things are bad they will always be bad and we might as well pack it in, is silly.  That’s not just not accepting reality – it’s denying it.

So today I’m grateful that I’ve learned (once again) that it’s OK to hope.  No, I’m grateful to know that it’s necessary to hope when we need to.

 

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Day 57 – Hope

Today I’m grateful for hope.

It was a rough one yesterday. Spent most of the day in bed, feeling like shit mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I was just a big old depressive pile.

The worst part about it were the thoughts about my own inadequacies as a human being. Stupid was the biggest one. Useless was a close second. Weak brought it in for the trifecta.

Luckily, at some point while I was lying in bed this morning I remembered to just move with intention. Fuck feeling better, and who cares if I’m stupid, useless, and weak. Pick a tiny goal and move toward it. I don’t have to feel better to move. Life isn’t about happiness (which we have very little control over).  Life is about fulfillment, which we have a lot more control of.

So I moved. The only goal was to get out of bed. I accomplished that goal.

I also read a bit of Jocko Wilink’s “Discipline Equals Freedom.” Many (most?) of my problems are the direct result of a lack of discipline. And the parts that I read were about just starting. They were about moving… now.

After moving, another thought – these feelings are temporary. When I get into this headspace, it’s easy to get into the “It’s always like this and it will always be like this.” That’s a load of bullshit. It isn’t always like this – sometimes I feel like that, but other times I’m full of energy, motivated, excited for the future.  I may still be stupid, useless, and weak (well, not useless), but who cares? That’s called being human – and if you are a human being and don’t think you are stupid and weak in some areas… well, then you are stupid – or crazy.

So now I have hope.  And I’m grateful that I went though all of that. It reinforced a truth that I keep on forgetting – all things are temporary, including my moods.

Especially my moods.

 

Day 47 – Not Feeling It

Today I give thanks that I don’t feel like giving thanks for anything, good or bad.

I’m grateful that I can acknowledge that a feeling is just a feeling – it isn’t permanent, pervasive, or true just because it’s there.

They are only snapshots of biochemical processes and reactions in my body happening in the moment, and I’ll get more mileage out of just observing and allowing them than fretting about them.

 

Day 39 – Gratitude for Support

Today I give thanks for the struggle that I have with accepting support from people.

I’m specifically talking about support in creative endeavors, and specifically thinking about my wife and her sister, and even more specifically thinking about their support for this little project of mine.

I’m learning to simply say “Thank You” when my wife tells me how much she loves a day’s entry.  Getting those two words out can be difficult, because my self doubt is triggered hard when she compliments my work.  “She’s blinded to my idiocy because of love,” I think.  “This whole project really is a dumb idea, why can’t she see that?” comes next.  Followed by a sprinkling of “She’s a damn PhD candidate… can’t she see what a shitty writer I am?”

And yesterday, my sister-in-law said that she was impressed that I’m sticking to my goal of doing this everyday.  “Yeah, but the big quit is coming,” say the thoughts.

It’s a struggle, but this blog is about be grateful for the struggle.  So I’m grateful.

Thank you, Tracy and Tammy, for all of your support.

Now that wasn’t so hard, was it?

 

Day 23 – Anxiety

Today I am thankful for the anxiety I’m having.

I’m thankful for it because it’s telling me something – it’s telling me that I’m not accepting (and therefore not being grateful for) something that is going on in my world.

It’s mainly centered around the prescription problems (challenges!) that I wrote about yesterday.  Today is the day that I’ll be able to really work on that, and I’m not looking forward to it.  I try to remind myself that it’s just another experience, and it’s an experience that will make me stronger for the next, similar experience that comes along down the line.

I’m also grateful that I’ve learned that it isn’t as easy as “OK, so just stop being anxious.  You know what’s going on, so take care of it!”  Maybe that’s true for you normies out there.  But I have 47 years of experience telling me that I need to be very, very careful here.  I can let something this small, something that *will* work itself out in the end, take me out of the game in an instant.

But I’m not going to do that this time.  There’s anxiety, but I don’t have to let that dictate my actions.  The emotions don’t have to go anywhere for me to do what needs to be done.

I’m thankful that I know that now.

 

Day 12 – I Don’t Wanna

This morning I’m grateful for the “I Don’t Wanna” feeling that’s arisen when it comes to writing this morning’s entry.

Because of this, I get to push through and show myself that even when “I Don’t Wanna” do something, whether it’s write here, or go to work, or do the dishes, or whatever… when I’ve committed to doing something, I do it, no matter what.

Now that wasn’t so hard, was it?

Nope.

 

Day 11 – Lethargy

Today I’m thankful for the lethargy that I allow to come over me sometimes.

I’m learning to be grateful for all of my feelings and emotions.  Instead of judging them and allowing them to control my thoughts and actions, I want to know the information that a particular feeling is trying to convey and how I can act on it.  When I’m feeling lethargic like I was last night and this morning, what’s going on?  Is it straight up physical?  Do I need more rest or sleep?  Is it psychological?  A defense mechanism that keeps me from doing something that part of me thinks will be too painful?  Something else?

Thinking that the feeling or emotion itself is “bad” is like taking a look at the gas gauge in your car, seeing it’s on empty, and getting pissed off at the gauge itself.  Some other useless options are: start blaming yourself for not getting gas, blame Big Gas Gauge for ripping off the little guy, convince yourself that you didn’t want to go anywhere anyway, decide that you are too spiritual a person to drive a car… you get the idea.

All the gauge is doing is indicating a problem – it’s up to you to fix it.

If the gas gauge is broken (our perception is skewed) then we’ll need to get *that* fixed.  Attitude adjustment time!

If we can’t fix the gas gauge ourselves, we may need to get help from someone who knows gas gauges and how to fix them.  Mental illness comes to mind here – brains can break just like gas gauges, and trying to fix a broken brain while not knowing what you are doing can be anywhere from a waste of time to even more damaging.

The worst thing you can do?  Stick a smiley face sticker over the gauge and say to yourself “I’ve got plenty of gas!” while doing nothing to solve the problem.

So let’s start paying attention to our gauges and taking some action on the information they give us.