I had and unwelcome, as always, bout of depression the other night. Thankfully it was short-lived, but in the moment it always seems like it will last forever (such is the nature of “Permanence”).
I’ve started a real full-time job for the first time in my life, and after being conflicted for a few weeks about whether or not I should quit, I’ve decided to stay. At one point I was 99% sure I was going to quit, and I was sure the universe would give me a sign as to what to do next, but it didn’t. So I took that as the sign. Maybe I needed to actually quit to be truly perceptive to other opportunities, but I think this will be good. Besides, I was recently given a project that will draw more heavily on my knowledge of psychology, fun fun fun.
What I’ve discovered is that lately, routine has been good for me. I think what is benefiting me the most is 1. getting up early, and 2. having no time to do much else than work. It’s forcing me to prioritize, and make time for what I need in my life.
I’ve always been more productive when I’ve been busy (and therefore happier), but for some reason I resist being busy — I don’t readily engage in activity.
There have been mornings when I just really didn’t want to get up. I wanted just this one day off. But I got up and went to work anyway, and I think it’s helped me prove to myself that I am capable of self-discipline. And if I’m capable of self-discipline, I’m capable of achieving goals. That means that my dreams have a chance of coming true, which means that it’s realistic to strive for happiness. And so I can plan.
It also means that I have the capability to escape depression when a certain pressure is applied — that that pressure is currently work doesn’t really matter at this point. I have the capacity to keep moving, even when I don’t want to.
I’d discovered a while ago that when I don’t have a job and I wake up depressed and not wanting to get out of bed, it’s a bad idea to act on that desire. But that knowledge is being consolidated these days, and the consequences of doing the opposite of what I want in that instance are becoming clearer, and they are good.
When you act on the desire to stay in bed, you’re giving into your fear. You’re focusing on everything in the world that you don’t want, so you don’t want to bother. But you know that you don’t want to stay in bed either, so neither decision is really desirable.
When you decide to do anything to keep moving, you’re forced to focus on something. With your attention pulled in one direction, you realize that this is better than wallowing in your misery, and sometimes you might even realize that [insert activity here] would be even more fun. You’ve begun to identify a goal.
When you focus on what you don’t want, you get more of that. You need to rewire your train of thought into positive, vision-oriented thinking. You dream a little bit, you act a little bit, and you inch towards a better life — it’s how it works. Getting out of bed won’t guarantee that you’ll have fun, but focusing on moving, even if that means watching your feet as you walk around the block, is progress towards progress — you’ve begun to rewire your brain to favor activity. One step away from depression, one step towards happiness.