I am so depressed today.
Here's the problem. And I'm sure this is going to be a bit incoherent because it's well past my usual bedtime. I'll use a micro example to illustrate a macro problem.
I have self-image issues. As discussed at length previously. I'm trying to work through them. One of the primary problems I've always had with my image is that I have almost no internally-derived sense of beauty. I mostly only feel beautiful when other people make me feel beautiful or tell me I'm beautiful. So when there's a lack of people in my life filling that function (particularly in a romantic context) I have a much, much harder time believing that I'm attractive. A friend recently said something so simple it should have been obvious to me long ago, but seemed revelatory to me at the time he said it. I think it went something like this: "I find you attractive. No matter where you go in the world or what you're doing, I'm attracted to you. And you can carry that with you. And know that it's true." No one had ever said it just like that before. Compliments had always seemed contextual rather than lasting or permanent. It helped a little to think that the good things people have said about my appearance don't go away just because those people are no longer right in front of me. Of course, it's also harder with appearance because one's appearance is often changing. Or at least mine seems to be.
Anyway, small example right? Well, not small, but well defined.
Now let's apply that micro problem to the rest of my life on a macro level.
I'm depressed right now because things have been going really shitty lately. Ticking off some of this shittyness: (1) I lost something sort of important to me that had been brightening my life. (2) An opportunity that I thought was going to help me make some significant changes to my direction and my lifestyle failed to pan out. (3) I have been struggling with eating again, and surrendered an important weight-loss milestone I had hit a few weeks ago with some irresponsibly earned gains. (4) I have had a few other disappointments and hard times best not discussed here. Point being, it's been a challenging few weeks.
Instead of bucking up and pressing forward looking for a different source of light, another opportunity, exercise and discipline to restore losses, and things that might make me happy, I've been wallowing. And letting all these things make me feel totally invalidated as a person. They're just setbacks, yet I've never been great at dealing with setbacks. I let them completely derail me. My weight watchers leaders have talked in the past about the difference between a "lapse" and a "collapse." In a lapse, you make some bad choices but you quickly right the ship and return to good habits, or better yet, compensate with extra discipline to balance bad choices. In a collapse, each bad decision leads to more bad decisions because of guilt, shame, negativity, etc. Spiral. One has to not let a lapse turn into a collapse. Stop the spiral. Difficult.
I'm having a collapse right now. I just see all the challenges strung together and think, "How am I ever going to right this ship?" or "Maybe I'm not meant to or capable of righting this ship." I start to question core things I should know about myself. Positive things. I stop believing in myself. But see, like the attractiveness, the good things I know about myself don't stop being true just because day to day existence has been a bit more challenging. But dear god, it is hard for me to remember that. Is it hard for other people too? Sometimes I wonder if it's just me. But I'm sure that it's not, even if I wonder. Humanity, man. We're all so much more alike than we sometimes like to believe. We gotta keep learning from each other. So I'm gonna try to apply the lessons of attractiveness to life writ large. Try not to let it take me down. Lose my sense of self. Lose my validation. Gonna reach deep down inside and try to find the will to keep on keepin on.