I once heard a man at a 12-step meeting say that even after he achieved sobriety, he still had problems. It is important for me to remember that recovery from depression is not a “get out of jail free card” for dealing with life.
I am still surprised and disappointed when I feel irritable or annoyed or just in a bad mood. I mistakenly assumed that becoming less depressed equaled happiness every day. Such is not the case.
I feel grumpy today. As a poor, light sleeper, I rarely wake up refreshed and rested. I awake much too early-around 4:30 AM, and am angry that another night passed with my being restless, getting up too often to use the bathroom, and generally restless and either too hot or too cold. What am I supposed to do three hours before sunrise?
I have a book I could read, but don’t feel like making the effort to concentrate on the contents. So, I eliminate that option. I am hungry, as I always am when I wake too early, and decide to eat something. I make a cup of decaf coffee, and consume a low-calorie bag of Slim-Fast treats. Those things keep me satisfied for the moment.
I plan on walking around my neighborhood when the sky turns light, but, alas the time when there is any visibility is hours away. So, I toss and turn and try to be content in bed. But the blankets won’t stay straight, and I keep punching the pillows to make them more comfortable. Ultimately, I decide to turn on my heating back to soothe my ever-present back pain. That helps for a while.
Finally, light peeks through my curtains, and I can get up, put on my sweats and take a short walk. I know I am complaining a lot, but here goes with another one of my issues. Feeling somewhat agoraphobic, I don’t really like being outside. I feel exposed and unsafe, even in my very safe neighborhood. I may encounter neighbors to whom I feel obliged to greet with soft-spoken “good mornings.” I can’t wait to return home.
If I were a feline, I would be an indoor cat. But as a human being, I have to accept the reality that my moods are not always cheery, and that a bad mood does not mean I am depressed again. Acceptance of all of our feelings is a sustainable way of living.