Friday, July 25, 2008

How do you feel?

I have been practicing what I've been learning in my outpatient treatment program for depression, by trying to be mindful of my present feelings and circumstances. The program is teaching me how to live in the present in a way I've never learned before. I am asked on a consistent basis, "What is your mood today?" "What are you feeling?"

Being a person who has spent her life trying to avoid feelings and my mood depended on what was happening around me, these things are new. But I'm realizing that living one day at a time, really means taking stock of my life right this very moment, being grateful for what I have right now, avoiding things like fortune telling, all or nothing thinking, and being mindful of the fact that my thoughts are often distored and can cause disturbing feelings and initiate inappropriate behavior.

One thing I am very grateful for is that I am coming into this program with four years of SLAA recovery under my belt, as well as several years of therapy. SLAA has taught me that "acceptance is the answer to all my problems today" ... and that if I keep an open mind there is no problem too great to be lessened. As uncomfortable feelings surface during my treatment, I am able to embrace them as learning opportunities -- to separate what is still useful to me and what is no longer useful, and to reframe my thoughts using the tools provided to me by my therapists and doctors.

To be honest, I was very saddened by the idea that my depression had gotten the best of me and I needed serious treatment. I'm kind of a stubborn goat when it comes to things like surrender. I don't like to admit my weaknesses. I don't like for things to be beyond my control. But I'm thankful that to have learned there are things I can change and things I can't, and I'm thankful to a wonderful and loving Higher Power, ever present, who has stuck with me through my stubborness and has given me the wisdom to know the difference.

Depression is an illness that runs rampant in my family. Years of silence about my abuse (PTSD), and years of living in the throes of my addiction, not to mention the effects of medication I take for another illness, and relocating three times in six years, have only served to escalate the severity of my depression. I'm thankful today that I have had the opportunity to address this with medication, professional treatment and today -- a positive attitude.

I feel very blessed.


Overcomer said...

You could be writing as me...though, unfortunately, I can't yet say that I have years of any 12-step program under my belt, much less SLAA. I'm still trying to find any kind of SA, SLAA, SCAA, or any other kind of meeting like it in my area...I really don't want to have to resort to AA meetings, but I'll cross that bridge later. Anyway, as I was saying, you sound quite a bit like I feel on many days... PTSD, and depression that runs rampant in the family, and a depression that I too am reluctant to take meds for...I just sometimes WANT to feel. Does that make sense? Sometimes, it's the only thing that feels real, even if it's not really real. I think you get what I'm saying...though I doubt anyone that hasn't experienced would understand. I'll be back to read some more another time...

Recovering Wino said...

I'm feel rather sucky today...

but very blessed, too.