I am really struggling with the depression at the moment, I don’t feel as though I am getting anywhere, which really brings me down, I lose motivation and end up thinking ‘what’s the point?’
It’s not to say that nothing good is happening, it’s just that they seem short lived, and the negative stuff soon overwhelms the positive. Because of this I then get stressed that I am being ungrateful for the good things that are happening, and the progress I am making. It’s a vicious cycle.
The main area I am struggling with is work, and not being able to earn money. This is a big cause of the depression because it makes me feel useless and a burden. The problem I have is that I pretty much have to start a career from scratch. It is hard enough trying to change industries when you have a job, throw in some serious anxious triggers, being out of work for 3 years and a mental health disability and the options are pretty slim.
So what’s stopping me from working?
I have huge trust issues; I don’t trust what companies say on their websites about the service they offer and how ‘valuable’ their employees are; I also don’t trust managers any more, and wouldn’t believe anything they told me. This damage was caused by my last company, and my subconscious is in serious fight or flight mode to prevent me ending up somewhere like that again.
The fear about work is huge, just walking past an office or shop and thinking about working makes me feel anxious, I can feel the panic coming on (especially when going past an estate agents, and we all know how many of those there are on our high streets!).
It’s not that I can’t do things; it is just that the scope for opportunities is very narrow; because of the trust issues I feel that I have to be in control of what I am doing, which is easier said than done. Time pressures really stress me out, and so I have to do things as and when I can, again, this is something not really conducive to a working environment.
Writing and ‘Adventures of an Anxious Mind’ keep me busy, but it is really heavy going. I have tried submitting articles to magazines but have got nowhere. I am itching to get on with the adventure challenges but I am reliant on funding before I can even start planning these.
I have written to so many companies in an attempt to get sponsorship; most ignore my e-mails, and some reply to say they are unable to help (it’s the ones who ignore me that are the most frustrating). I know that companies must get loads of sponsorship requests and they can’t help everyone, but this doesn’t stop the frustration from building into a sullen form of ‘I’m giving up!’
Despite the rejections I somehow keep going, and have had some successes. Despite the generosity I tend to focus on what I am not getting, so the joy of success is short lived, and that’s when the guilt hits and I feel like some spoilt ungrateful brat.
A while ago Kim created ‘Golden Lining Cards’ which help you focus on the positive things in your life. You list the good things in your life and keep it with you all the time; the idea is that when you feel sad, or depressed you can have a look at it and feel more positive.
This links to the neuroscience I have been writing about, in particular the circuits in the brain; the more you focus on the negative then the stronger and more prominent those circuits will be. Being grateful for what you have will stimulate the circuits related to positive emotions, so if you can get these firing consistently then they will become the prominent circuits. That’s my basic scientific view anyway…..
I am trying a couple of things in order to keep my mind positively focused on what I have achieved so far; one is a folder with important things like articles I have had published, my 10k running number (soon to be numbers), Race At Your Pace 100 mile certificates, a picture of Kim and I on our wedding day, and a picture of the two of us with Leo outside our house; generally anything that makes me feel good.
I have my running medals hung in the study so when I am sat trying to work I can see them.
I have a vision board which has images of things I would like in my life and things I would like to do. Vision boards are a way of manifesting what you want by focusing the mind on pictures of these things; some are small and easy to achieve, others are harder and will take time.
Following along the lines of Kim’s ‘Golden Lining Cards’, I decided to write a list of the successes I have achieved with writing and with ‘Adventures of an Anxious Mind’, the result was quite eye opening:
I think there are two major problems that I am facing; firstly, I feel as though I have lost so much in a professional capacity. It’s not just about being unemployed and not earning money, I have lost confidence, trust and self belief so any setback feels huge and like a failure.
Second is time. This is such a biggie, my thoughts revolve around the fact that it took me 20 years to build a career (good or bad), and that feels to have vanished. I know I still have the experiences and the knowledge I have gained over those years, however I feel in such a different place, that none of that seems to count.
I am also tired of feeling like a burden, and am desperate to take the pressure off Kim; every day the clock is ticking and I don’t feel to be achieving enough in the time frame I want to.
The pressure feels to be increasing. The silly thing is that it is me applying the pressure based on where I think I should be, and not accepting where I am. I have spectacular arguments with myself, and bring out the old baseball bat of self blame to give myself a damn good thrashing…. “I’m not good enough, useless, a failure”
Deep down I do believe that things will shift, they will change for the better; I just have to be patient, and that is the hardest part. Best things come to those who wait and all that……
I read a book called ‘The Magic’ by Rhonda Byrne, which is all about gratitude. Part of the book is 28 days of gratitude, so I think I will start that and see if it shifts some of the fear and blocks I have about welcoming in the good, and most of all being thankful for what I am achieving. Will let you know how I get on…..
Some people will say you need to be thankful for what you do have, because others have a lot less; these comparison statements always annoy me because they can make you feel even worse, they can make you feel guilty and make you think that you are a bad person for wanting to achieve things.
I do not see a problem with having aspirations, goals and dreams even if they are for material things; I guess the problems come when you obsess about having them, and push too hard to get there, whatever the cost. Some people may look at a vision board and say it makes them depressed because they are not achieving their dreams and never will.
What I need to learn is patience; I can see that positive things happen, mostly when I least expect them, and a lot of the time in a form that I did not see. I need to be open to anything and trust that the good will come; in the mean time I need to celebrate the successes, no matter how big or small.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.