Most people think I’m cheerful, bubbly, completely irrepressible, and possibly bipolar, but I do that more for their benefit. It’s not about pretending or putting on a brave face. It’s about focussing on others. I want them to be happy, so I giggle and laugh and make jokes to keep them smiling, even though inside I’m an massive hole. Sometimes, while I’m playing the game, I get caught in the spirit, and I actually feel the way I look. But it doesn’t last long.
It’s been 10 years since my last attempt, and I still get frightening thoughts sometimes. But having my daughter cured any serious plans I had of hanging myself. When the urge gets really bad, I stop, look at her face, and wonder who’ll look after her when I’m gone. That generally snaps me out of it. But I still have some really bad days, when I hide in the bathroom and cry until my chest aches. I have to do it in the bathroom, because my princess hates to see me cry.
I love rock music, and sometimes, shutting my eyes, slipping on my headphones, and playing my favourite song at full volume is enough to cheer me up. Sadly though, my favourite songs are pretty angsty, so that’s not always a good-pick-me-up. Still, rock is full of rage, and sometimes yelling along to the music will get rid of major feelings.
I’ve been using The Secret for over a year now, and it works well for me. It helped me move back to Kenya, started my freelance business, and joined me to the love of my life. It even got my baby a good school and fixed my hair! I manifest small things like a wristwatch or a Subzone sandwich, because they’re not important. It’s harder to manifest big things, because I want them so badly, and that pushes them away.
One of the things I want most is to finally conquer depression. People say a person hangs themselves because they don’t want to go on living. I don’t know if it’s like that for everyone, but I’ll tell you how it is for me. I get tired. Tired of the cycle of depression. You feel bad, you cheer up, you move on, you feel bad, you cheer up, you move on, over and over and over. Every time you think it can’t get worse, it does. Every time you hit rock bottom and bounce off, you think it’s the last time. And then it comes back again. It’s like PMS, except it isn’t just once a month.
Some people survive on medication, but I once OD’d on mine. I remember sitting on the bed shaking and thinking, ‘Well, the worst that can happen is I’ll get ridiculously happy.’ It didn’t work, I just got hungry instead. And then I got dizzy and threw up. I’m glad about that.
Last night, I read The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles. It’s mentioned in The Secret, and it’s a pretty cool book. I’d like to use the principles in there to stop being depressed all the time.
The thing with depression is it’s a disease. It isn’t about the world around you. A sad incident may trigger an episode, but mostly it’s something that’s always with you, just below the surface. Mine started when I was little, and it’s like a shadow that follows me. Sometimes it’s hit by floodlights of happiness, then it waits for the glare to fade or the battery to die so it can show up again.
I’m living well. I love a man that loves me, I have my dream job, I have a beautiful little girl, I live in a pretty flat. I have every reason to be happy, but I still get depressed. It could be because my dream job is boring so there’s nothing left to look forward to career-wise. If you get to the top and you don’t like it there, it can get … well … depressing.
I know I should just focus on working in pyjamas, staying out of traffic jams, and being here when my baby gets home from school. Those parts are pretty cool. But I’m tired of the routine. The Secret says, ‘If it’s not fun, don’t do it’ and I’m upset because it’s not fun. Also, my X6 and my dream home are really far away.
But I know it’s more than that. It’s a sickness in my mind, and it’s a sickness that only I can cure. I have taught myself to think sad thoughts, and as long as I hug them, these thoughts overwhelm me and snuff me out. I could be doing my spazzy dance one minute and crying the next, because I saw a Korean kid hurt in Jumong and allowed the feeling to drown my joy.
I know the solution is to simply think positive, to grab the happy thoughts and refuse to let go. But it’s not as easy as it sounds, at least not for me. Still, I’m going to try.
The key is to forgive myself for failing. I need to not beat myself up when I’m overwhelmed. I need to stand up when I fall, and keep going. I need to lay off and not be so hard on myself. But most of all, I need to accept that it will take time to change, so that I’m not mad at myself when I slip and don’t want to get up.
There’s a line in Wattles’ book that speaks to me. It goes something like, ‘Change is cumulative.’ That means every piece counts. So my primary challenge is to not get discouraged by the little steps. I would rather fly to the end of the rainbow, but I have to accept that toddling along is the only way to go. The first steps are the hardest but I know I’ll get there.
One day soon, I will tell a joke and smile, and it won’t be for anyone else. It will be joy from inside. One day soon, I’ll be so used to thinking happy thoughts that it will be effortless. And when that happens, then I’ll throw a party and join my loves as they sing and do their spazzy dance. Amen
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Crystal Ading' is a professional author, editor, rock lover and mother. Her work is available through threeceebee.com.