I came across a quote recently that alluded to the idea that perfectionists, are at an increase risk of developing depression; I’ve always considered myself a perfectionist. In a way, I wasn’t very surprised to read such a strong accusation. I was more surprised about the fact that I agreed with it so easily. There was a time BD (before depression) that I wouldn’t finish a task until it was done the right way, according to my standards; it didn’t matter the time it took, nor the hour of the day. Accepting anything less then the best, would be a travesty in my book, leaving me with a sour taste in my mouth that would linger for hours, sometimes days, until I was distracted with a new task. Sad, I must admit now looking back at that debilitating mental cycle, but that’s not what this post is all about; this post is about a girl who still strives to do her best, but recognizes how depression has kept her away from that debilitating mental cycle, for the better.
I’ve rewarded depression at one time before, feeling awkward for paying honor to an illness that has caused me so much pain for the most part. Today was a good day though. There was no haze, no fogginess, and I got things done, with only a fleeting thought of “I don’t want to do anything”. How amazing! Actually, as I write this, I’m still feeling pretty amazing.
A prescription medication for depression is said to take on average, 6-8 weeks to start producing some effects; its been greater then 10 weeks on my new prescription, and today, it finally felt like I was starting to feel better. It’s crazy how with depression, one day you can feel like a bottom feeder at the bottom of the ocean, and another day you can feel like a killer whale breaching the surface for air, with faint memories of what it felt like at the bottom of the ocean. That’s how I felt today, but yesterday I had a bottom feeder experience. I was exhausted, typical, and had no desire to do anything beyond my motherly/wifely responsibilities. But I made a commitment to go and hang out with some girlfriends, so I had to resist depression’s temptation once again, to stay home and do nothing.
I’m glad that I got into the car and took the hardest step in the fight against depression, when it holds you captive and you don’t even want to move an inch. I felt like I had to push myself to be social, not that I don’t love hanging out with girlfriends, but that lack of motivation even goes as far as to attack your motivation to think about things to say. But I PUSHED through it, sometimes mainly smiling as the intellectual adult conversation continued on a high, unbothered by my brief episodes of silence. I felt no pressure though; no pressure to be more than the person I was, which was simply myself in my current state in life. I wasn’t perfect and I was ok with that; in fact, I didn’t care whether the girls noticed something ‘different’ about me, and if it came up, I was proudly ready to express my comfort with my current place in my life.
Depression sucks so much out of you that you almost feel like you don’t have any energy to care about trivial things you use to stress over. In some ways, I’m thankful for this freedom from caring so much. It saves me from that debilitating cycle of perfectionism that would probably cause me more harm than good to my already struggling mood. As the conversation got more interesting, and the carrot cake quickly dwindled down to a single slice, I felt the exhaustion lifting and my interest peak. My mind became free to enjoy the present, instead of worrying about the past or the future, and I couldn’t help but think about the metaphorical relationship between the single slice of carrot cake, and the conversation which was centered around taking risks in life.
Feeling that same sense of mental euphoria that I felt in tree pose the other day, I couldn’t help but notice the crumbs surrounding the last slice of carrot cake. Bits and pieces of moist cake that probably fell off of each slice we ferociously devoured, but were left untouched, because one slice of carrot cake still remained. There was a time in my days of perfectionism that I wouldn’t dare take risks; I wouldn’t have ever dreamed of opening myself up like this to the world, being vulnerable and open to the public judgement that comes with such transparency. I also would have never entertained the idea of going off on a career tangent and taking a chance at making my passion for writing, a discussion in the sense of entrepreneurship; i just wouldn’t. But those scattered crumbs that sat on that beautiful white plate, reminded me of this painful, yet enlightening season in my life.
Though depression has seemingly taken up a huge slice of my life, the small changes in my perception of the world around me that have taken place as a result of this illness, for the better, mean more to me than the intense pain that I have endured for so long; and that, is something to savor.