Depression & Central Sensitization
Happiness is knowing you are not alone in your struggles.
We are out there, we understand, and we will always love you as you are.
I was diagnosed with Major Depression when I was a teenager, right around the time the fatigue and pain hit me like a jack hammer. My mother looked at me like a deviant missing school and emotionally lashing out more and more every day. I was so tired I’d skip school just to sleep. The pain from standing was like standing on hot coals, and my irritability was through the roof.
The doctors ignored me, my mom couldn’t handle me, and I ended up in a group home for bad kids. Three months later they realized they couldn’t meet my needs either and I was shipped home only to end up living on the streets on and off for 3 years. I had nothing, no shelter, no food, and no money – just the clothes on my back and the shoes on my feet. It’s easy for me to be grateful for what I have today because I was in such a low place at one time. I know what it’s like to have nothing, I don’t have to imagine it. For me it’s not about how far I’ve gone in life, it’s about how far I’ve come.
While focusing on how things could be worse and focusing on the things I once had to go without in life does work for me from time to time, it’s not the main focus that helps me battle my depression. No, it’s focusing on the all of the things I do have.
Now is not then, and then is not now – they are not comparable. So I focus on NOW, and I am grateful for NOW and all the things that I am grateful for are in my day-to-day. My achievements both personal and professional, my family, my friends, my home, my car, my dog, my faith, my freedom – the list of things I am grateful for is endless.
It’s not easy to think of the things you should be grateful for. It takes time to think about what you couldn’t possibly be without or would suffer without.
Some may choose to look at this topic lightly and think only of family and friends, while some may deeply ponder having nothing at all until a rush of utter turmoil and despair crashes over them live a wave of suffocating panic.
Regardless, I always have a list of things I am grateful for nearby, and my perspective on life is deep, not shallow (I’m a philosophy scholar after all), so there are many concepts I can reach out to for comfort.
Happiness is not a destination, it is a journey that you take every day intentionally and mindfully.
It is something that you need to make time for every day, and you need to slowdown for and bask in the wonder of your fortune to have such wonderful things in your life. It’s realizing that no one else in this world is exactly like you, so no one else’s life is even remotely comparable. It’s not focusing on who or what you had before you became chronically ill, or what you may have had if you had not been born chronically ill.
No, it’s focusing on who you were yesterday and doing your best to be a better you TODAY.
It’s growing as a person – self-discovery and self-improvement with a dash of excellent time management. It’s automating the things in your life that can be automated. It’s doing things only as often as you need to, not as often as you want to or as often as everyone else does it. It’s taking time for yourself to rest, and organize, and plan. It’s identifying your priorities and focusing mainly on those things, including keeping your depression or feelings of hopelessness in check daily.
These are the things that open up more energy in your life, and thereby open you up to a more passionate and productive life. But most of all, happiness is loving yourself just the way you are, in all of your perfect imperfection.
A while back I uploaded an album of numerous memes with quotes and perspectives that are ever-ready at my mental disposal. They are there to help you get started in battling your depression, and to be there when you feel hopeless, or you hate your body, or you feel you just cannot keep up or keep going. It’s there for you, not me, but like me, given enough time, these ideas and perspectives will become your personal philosophy, something that will be ever-ready in your mind.
Happiness is a habit, I you have to choose to be happy every day, it’s what you do all day every day, not something you set aside time for on the weekend, or 5 minutes out of the day. It’s a way of life, a way of life I hope we will someday share if we don’t already.
Initially it’s difficult to keep up, but like all habits, they become more and more natural as time goes on and your brain changes – being mindful and thinking positively actually physically changes and rewires your brain.
Read through these ideas and perspectives, but don’t just read them. Take time to reevaluate your life based on these ideas and perspectives. By reevaluating our lives through a more positive lens we change our past and guide our future.
By reevaluating our lives we can come to terms with what we have left, and we discover the things “normal” people do not possess. Because we are different we have access to things that others do not – for every new limitation we gain a new ability to compensate, its human nature.
To start you off, here is one of my own quotes:
“You were born unique. You were born capable of doing something that the rest of mankind cannot. You and you alone are uniquely qualified to fulfill that task. Never stop seeing what others cannot see. Never stop hearing what others cannot hear. Never stop creating that which does not yet exist. See – Hear – Pioneer.”