Unexpected Therapy: Toddler Perspective

I literally treat my depression like a toddler, and you know what, it works. {onemillennialsguide.com, 8/2/16}

It’s funny how such a seemingly simple statement, can carry so much weight.  As I softly laughed, a school girl chuckle, as I read those words, I immediately felt inclined to reread that sentence a few more times.  Who would have ever thought to relate depression to a toddler?; David Self did, the humorous and highly intellectual brain behind onemillennialsguide.com (a necessary support system and guide to helping make the transition to ‘adulting’, a little less daunting).  I’ve mentioned in a previous blog that I already feel like David and I share a bumble friends type connection, even though Instagram made the connection, but reading about his analogy between depression and toddlerhood, pretty much sealed that deal further.

For as long as I’ve been fighting depression, it seems crazy, but getting into the head space of severe lowness, to the point where you have lost all control and even mindfulness won’t help you, I always seem to feel like that feeling will always be there; permanence.  I’ll never feel like getting out of bed, I’ll never feel like playing with my kids like I use to, going to the movies will be torture forever, etc.; typical uncontrollable negative reaction to your frustration with having to deal with these deathly lows.  But once I come out from the miry clay, and I feel neutral emotionally, to the point where I have a little interest in doing things and more hope then ever, that feeling of permanence, turns to a temporary notion. David’s analogy made me think about when my toddler, Sydney,gets upset.  She throws the most violent tantrum, turning into what feels like a monster, sometimes making sounds that probably have only been heard in mars, and creating cries without a single existence of moisture running from her eyes; toddlers are extremely outward with their emotions, but it lasts all but 20 seconds to at most 45ish seconds, and then they go on with their life like nothing happened.  It’s as if they got sudden amnesia about what took them to an emotional outer space, and the need for time for recovery is immediately suspended by the rustling of cookies in the cookie jar, or the bribe to do something they’ve always wanted to do, but were waiting for the parent to turn their back to do it.

Toddler tantrums are just like depressive episodes; or how they can be, if it works for you.  Really low lows in depression are temporary, but feel permanent when your head is below water; just like a tantrum.  Today I had to remind myself of this notion, feeling that uncontrollable feeling of lowness, suddenly, with feeling like there was no way out; I liken it to how someone with clostrophobia might feel.  If it weren’t for remembering David’s writing about treating depression like a toddler, inviting recent memories of today’s 10-20 second tantrums from my daughter, that brought me comfort thinking about how happy she was when she resumed playing as if nothing happened, I probably would still be in that low place.  The likely hood of me even writing right now would not be a possibilty if it weren’t for a simple statement I read, from such a powerful blog post.

The moral of the story is:  This too shall pass, and if you can find something to hold on to that will remind you of the good times that will come eventually (I know it’s hard), then hopefully those lows will be a little easier to get through.

So David Self, thank you for being my unexpected therapy this week.  Bravo, my bumble friend, bravo.

* Please visit onemillennialsguide.com for more inspirational posts.  You won’t be disappointed.

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