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Turning My Shovel Into A Ladder

January 23, 2020

When you find yourself in a hole, first step is to stop digging

I’ve been in a hole for about a week. Nothing major. I’m definitely not vaguebooking. But, when you struggle with anxiety, depression is typically on speed dial. The combination of anxiety and depression is like mixing drugs and alcohol. Either one by themself is bad, but together they are deadly.

So, I wallowed in my self pity for a while. I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t eat. I smiled when I needed to interact with people. But at the end of the conversation, my face dropped down to where my mood was sleeping.

I cancelled my therapy appointment. That was a red flag for me. A sign that all was not right in Bliss-ville. I attended the meetings I had to. I cancelled the ones I could. And all the while I knew exactly what was happening.

It was like watching a movie. A sad movie. One that I had seen before. And yet, like a spectator at a car wreck I couldn’t stop watching. Scene after scene, hour after hour. The depression wrapped itself around me like the blankets I fell into each night when exhaustion finally overcame me.

And by knowing I was watching, I also knew I could stop watching. I think that’s the tragedy of many who suffer. Many don’t know they are watching. And the idea of stopping watching never even occures as a possibility.

But, I knew I could stop. But, it was 6:55 in the morning and I was warm in my blankets. I could get up. I just wasn’t ready to yet. I won’t say I enjoyed digging the hole. But, I didn’t care to stop digging.

Depression is like that. It will keep you working at it even when you don’t want to, just because it’s easier to keep digging than to stop.

The clock hit 7:00 this morning. And I finally grew tired of the warmth of the blankets. I decided to stop digging. Not only stop digging, but I took my shovel and turned it into a ladder.

The funny thing, if depression can be called funny, is that today’s activities weren’t that different than the days I was in the hole. I went to meetings. I smiled when I talked to people.

But, by the end of the day, when the conversations ended, my face didn’t fall. I even started on my next woodworking project.

And I finally turned off that depressing movie.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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