September 16th, 2014
Never before has there been so much free advice at our fingertips for self-help in managing depression and anxiety, but so many years of trying to overcome the dumps by reading articles about gratitude and quotes about happiness and writing lists about small successes makes me more feel like I’m trying to dig myself out of quicksand. All of the thinking and meaning-making about my mood does nothing to improve my happiness. There’s no logical solution to this because it’s an unreasonable problem.
Usually a little tendency toward depression or mania is an advantageous personality feature, and once in a while it’s torture. But I think I have gotten really good at surrounding myself with stabilizing forces so I can have my moments to bounce off the wall and still maintain a realistic grasp on what is going on in my mind–specifically, what’s under control and what’s not. But I never gratitude-listed or happiness-hashtagged my way out of depression or dread or angst, and I’ve found it to be good for me to give up the impulse to over-analyze or an obsession to understand. To say “Okay, this is how I am and these are my limitations,” rather than let the (completely human) urge to fix myself drive me deeper into the pit of self-doubt and worry.