Posted: 19 Feb 2015 10:58 AM PST
One of the most difficult parts of my depression has been the fact that it robbed me of 'choice'. As a human being, the most hopeful part of life is the recognition that I have the ability to influence my life outcomes. The idea that I can choose my path and influence my life experience is an extraordinarily powerful one. The most creative and successful in our society create because they think they can. If you don't have a belief in that most basic concept, then OF COURSE you can't. What depression does is make me believe that no matter what choices I make, I can't. So back to my original statement...depression makes me believe that I don't have 'choice' because there is something basic 'wrong' with me. And I 'can't' choose to stretch myself because I'm not capable. Or because I'm a victim of circumstances. When I moved to Tennessee, I made a decision that I would work on changing that mind-set. Because even though I was depressed, I had a track record of writing this blog. And a concept of how that could lead to using the rest of my time on earth for advocacy. Which is a choice to plug into my personal power.
How have I acted on that? I'm still writing. And while the process of growing this is slow...it is happening. I don't expect that it will be easy. And I don't pretend that I'm entirely certain that I know what success will look like. I just know that if I choose to let people in to my thoughts about mental illness and how I cope there will be areas where I can be of influence. Recently, I became aware of how what I write does influence other people. A person who I viewed as already successful reached out to me and told me about his family experience with mental illness. And what was shared was an extraordinary example of the impact of mental illness on life. So, I could see it even in the life of someone that I viewed as successful. Which confirms that mental illness has no respect for talent and success. Mental illness happens to the influential. And the regular person. And because this person and I are creating a relationship as a result of the "gift" we see in our connection...we are focusing on the possibility of partnership in advocacy.
So, what am I learning in this? First, I'm learning...again...that anything is possible. Life really is about how you view your circumstances. And whether you choose to use circumstances to move forward or to give up. Depression has led me to give up many times. Today, I will choose to move forward. To reach out more. To be honest. To look for ways that I can influence. To fight the negative messages that depression leads to. I have this awesome platform because of the most negative situation in my life. Maxine is at the core. She started this for me. And basically, if I can help one person to survive the pit that is mental illness, I will have been successful. So, what are you choosing to use the rest of your life for? Continuing to fight that pit is an awesome choice. I hope that is what you will choose. I will let you know how my choice is going. I hope you will do the same. Let's talk!!