Some of my closest friends are people I was drawn to because of their ability to maintain a positive attitude. I try to cultivate optimism in myself, and approach challenges with a willingness to adapt as much as possible, to make the best of any situation. I attribute much of our happiness through five moves to a good attitude.
It appears that there is no role for positive attitude when dealing with depression. Trying to sustain one has filled my bucket with a fair measure of frustration and guilt.
The strategies that have usually worked in the past do not work right now. When I was well, but feeling blue, there were predictable ways to improve my mood: talk to a friend, do something fun, accomplish something on my to-do list. Now, any one of those things might distract me, but the underlying sadness and fatigue lies in wait until my attention is available again.
For the last week or so, I have taken pains to make plans in advance for every day. Waking up in the morning with no plans makes twelve hours with three children overwhelming. Today we spent the whole morning with friends and everyone had a good time. Then, while driving home, the sadness and fatigue were uncovered and there was nothing to mask it.
It is hard for me to grasp that the persistence of this weight is not because of some failing on my part. I feel like I must be doing something wrong or this would go away. I know the facts of depression – it is an illness, it alters brain chemicals, I cannot will it away – but it is hard to accept that all this applies to me. If this describes me, then I have little to do but surrender, cope, and wait.