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Monday, November 22, 2010

One More for "In the Box"

I woke up with depression about 5 am and started to use the put depression "in the box" exercise. I really wasn't all that successful. The depression wouldn't go in. It was all enveloping. It was too huge. The pressure in my chest was hard and painful, the hopelessness was agony. But I kept at it. I tried a whole bunch of things, singing to myself. I tried four or five songs. I couldn't "get into" any of them. Then the clock struck 5:30.

Oh, well, I thought, " Do you want to think, or do you want to sleep?"  I can always do counting "1,2,3,4 who are we for." It's an old high school cheer.

But here's the thing. Just before I started the counting I realized that  the hopelessness was not there anymore. The physical symptoms were still there but they are not so bad once the hopelessness and despair is gone. They are much more bearable.  I did concentrate on the counting exercise and drifted off a couple of times to sleep but kept waking up. Now the physical symptoms were fading as well. I was actually feeling pretty good and enjoying lazing out in bed even though I wasn't sleeping.

So often in the morning I can't enjoy lying in bed when I wake up because I'm feeling depressed. But this time I had finished the depression before I got up. Then the clock struck 6 am and I decided it was time to get up and start my day.

For more than a half hour I wasn't successful with any particular exercise in that I couldn't concentrate on it very long. But I was concentrating on something objective. I was concentrating on ON DOING SOMETHING OTHER THAN COLLAPSING INTO MY SUFFERING . The concentration of keeping on trying one exercise after the other, and not ever giving up and, instead, concentrating on the depression, did the trick anyway. I wasn't successful with any one exercise. But I was successful in objective thinking, no matter how unorganized. After one hour I ended up 100% okay.

Sometimes I can get through depression faster than one hour because I either go back to sleep if it's really early, or if I get up and start doing my morning chores. But I'll gladly settle for an hour after the years and years of being stuck in depression for days or weeks.. 

A. B. Curtiss

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