If there is one aspect of being me that sucks, it’s the unreliable nature of my strengths. When I am strong, I have incredible fortitude. And when I am able to focus, I’m afforded great insight.
But if depression is one thing, it’s fickle. I can have long periods of productivity; weeks running or riding (or skiing) everyday, when I’m a powerhouse at work, and my writing flows with grace and ease whenever I sit at the keyboard. During these times I get my hopes up. I enter mountain bike races and ultra-marathons and I pour over maps of the mountains looking for adventure. I start short stories or dig up old novel drafts. I look at the future with hope and promise and excitement, each day an opportunity to improve on those before.
And then it crumbles. The days become labor. Walking the dogs a chore. Writing stops. Work grows into a spectre waiting for me to screw up. Race entries rescinded, and mostly without a refund. Probably the most hurtful development is the immediate end of any practice that might help me; my self-prescribed minimum of 20 minutes a day of some positive action becomes forgotten. I don’t meditate or exercise, but rather simmer in my self-loathing, not out of a lack of caring but in order to intentionally do myself harm. During episodes of depression, I want to punish myself. I don’t deserve to be saved.
I’ve been accused in the past of lacking discipline. I’ve been accused of lacking commitment. I suppose both of these things is true to an extent. It’s hard to have lasting commitment to something when you stop believing that what you are doing is actually getting you to where you want to be. It’s even harder when you lose the belief that you’re actually worth getting to a better place, that being alive is really worth the effort.
I have commitment, and I have discipline, but I can use these qualities against myself. What I need more of is the consistent faith that I’m good enough already (LOL, remember Stuart Smalley?), that the human race actually matters. It’s always there, just that sometimes it gets buried under the surface.