Are You Depressed? Stop Punishing Yourself!

Published originally in 2013:  Esperanza – Hope to Cope

Depression-Punishing-Self

I’ve been overwhelmed with life in general lately, and the bombardment of social media is starting to have a negative effect on me. Some days I feel like everyone has something really awesome and exciting going on, while I’m a useless, unproductive slug. Obviously this is a huge thinking blunder on my part, yet it’s been an ongoing problem that I would have thought I’d have overcome by now. It’s a fact that one of the worst things people can do to diminish their self-esteem is to constantly compare themselves to others. I have friends who refuse to join any social media sites because it brings out feelings of jealousy and unworthiness. While I can totally relate, I feel they’re doing themselves a disservice, because while they’re blocking out the perceived bad stuff, they’re also denying themselves the fun and often-hilarious benefits of being part of an online community.

When depression is getting the best of me, I’m already experiencing self-imposed punishments for not putting away the laundry or sorting the mail. While I’m cognizant that what others are doing with their lives says nothing about mine, the unrealistic pressure I place on myself to do more is based on an absurd notion that whatever it is I’m doing is not enough. Those thinking errors open the door to a pathway that leads towards destructively false beliefs about myself.

My goal is to find a way to be content and satisfied with all that I do – and not put myself up against the accomplishments and enviable experiences of others that I see online. 

Depression has a way of knocking me down, doing its best to steal any pleasure derived from my triumphs as well as the impediments I’ve conquered despite the illness. Rational thinking versus the irrational sounds so easy to keep apart; yet it’s still something that defies me. Right now logic tells me I’ve done enough writing for the day, while the ridiculous thoughts are shouting at me to do more, more, more!

Question: Do you find that you punish yourself for being depressed? How do you stop the negative self-talk?

Memorial Day Weekend

For most of my life, Memorial Day Weekend represented the beginning of a brand new summer spent with my family at our house in Sag Harbor, NY. My dad named the house The Great Escape back in the early 70’s when he and my mom purchased the property on which it now stands and built the summer home for us to get away from the city for the summer. Our house was always full of close friends and family, late-night parties, loud music, happy times for my younger sister and me. When my parents divorced in the late 70’s my dad kept the house out east, my mom kept the house in the city. So much has changed over the years, but the one constant through it all was The Great Escape. It was the one place that still said home, where I spent my formative childhood and teenage years and into adulthood, where I watched my dog Maya (RIP) swim in the bay across the road, season after season, giving me the most joyful feeling imaginable.

When the house was sold two years ago, well, I was sad, torn actually, but I understood that it was time for another family to take over and build memories of their own. Today, as I sit  in my living room, taking small sips from my second cup of coffee, with Anya, my 4-year old chocolate lab soaking up the sun’s rays as she takes her morning nap on the hardwood floor, I’m feeling a mix of melancholy and gratitude. Sad that I don’t have Sag Harbor to take Anya swimming, no more bbq’s or happy hours on the deck, no more breathtaking sunsets, but thankful that I have my dad and his wife, who I will be visiting at their home on Long Island in a few hours. It will be nice to get away for the day and spend quality time with my family. I realize that what made The Great Escape such a special place, was my dad and my sister and Maya and my extended family and old friends and new friends ~ without them, the house would be simply that – a house. Although it’s no longer physically part of my life, the soul, the very essence of that house, hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s alive inside of me and everyone and everything it ever embraced.