Depression: accepting the unacceptable

I was depressed for 10 years.

Toward the end of it, I did something that wasn't really targeted at depression: during the season of Lent, I made the stretch to meditate each weekday briefly on: "Not my will, but Yours, God, be done, in regard to _____." I filled in the blank differently the two years I did this.

At the end, I was no longer depressed, or only mildly so. I had energy and was ready to take on the parts of my life I wasn't happy with.

I took this to mean that accepting the unacceptable was what it took to leave the depression behind.

Was it a coincidence? Maybe. But about 8 years later I fell into depression again. After some six to eight months, I remembered what I'd done earlier (things like this dumb us down, I think, so that we "don't remember" what we obviously could have), and I accepted the new thing I didn't like, and . . . my depression eased.

In the meantime, I had some things I could do. Break jobs down into digestible bits. (For example, I have twenty-five papers to grade. I'll just grade one, and afterward decide if I want to do another. Or if one paper still seems too much, I just grade one problem. I'd usually go on, one bit at a time, till the job was done, but without the crushing feeling of too much work with too little energy.)

Why am I posting this now? Because periodically we'll have a new member who posts that he is depressed and doesn't see a way out. Now I can link to this post. Because it'll be a shame if everybody else takes 10 years to figure out what to do, as I did.

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Comment by Phillip T on December 2, 2013 at 12:12am

I like your advise on the small steps to get things done. You move the mountain one teaspoon at a time, but you do have to start in order to finish. 

Comment by Steve M on October 10, 2011 at 3:24pm

Steve-O, that is why I am thankful this group is around.

Comment by Adam Bauer on October 5, 2011 at 9:48pm

Thanks for sharing this, its nice to know others are going through this also.

Thank you.

Comment by Bob Giraldi on January 15, 2011 at 12:24pm

I took this to mean that accepting the unacceptable was what it took to leave the depression behind.

I agree with this.  I've dealt with depression personally from time to time, and work with people for whom it is virtually chronic.  Its been my experience that in most cases, a  "breakthrough" has involved the person being able to accept or reconcile that which had been unacceptable, which then allows forward movement.   I think depression is in a sense "being stuck" and unable to move forward.  I also agree with your later comment that depression causes us to "dumb down" or forget things we should have remembered (I see that in myself and others often)  and your strategies for breaking jobs down into small manageable tasks.   It always works for me, it might sound trite but before I know it the bigger job is done. 


Comment by BrianMilo on October 11, 2010 at 12:04pm
well said and brief, as always, Mr Will. i admire both your advice and your writing style.
Comment by Dave Parker on October 11, 2010 at 3:28am
Thanks Will, that's some powerful advice. I think that's something a lot more of us deal with than will ever admit. I know sometimes everything just seems to be too much, but I'll try breaking it down into pieces and taking it a step at a time.
Comment by Ian Wilson on October 9, 2010 at 11:17pm
this is something i struggle with as well. for myself i didn't have all that much trouble accepting it, my issue was discovering that i had it at all. i have struggled with it since i was 11 yrs old, but didn't figure this out until i was around 25.
Comment by Steve M on October 6, 2010 at 9:10am
Well, it's official. Today my meds aren't working and Depression is winning.
Comment by James Halcomb on September 13, 2010 at 1:08pm
I struggle with depression myself. It has been a tough road and you hear so many horror stories about people who don't make it through this battle. Glad to see someone else did.

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