This is the last update and summary on my experiment of pretending, just for a day, to “be in denial” about this time of deep depression.
Basically, things worked well. By late afternoon, weariness was setting in, and it was becoming harder and harder to shake off the black dog – or at least pretend to! Sadly, this came out in periods of snapping at the dearly beloved between bouts of lethargy on the sofa. Still, no-one was hurt, no-one died, and I reckon I would count today as a success.
Now for the big question: what was it about today that worked? Well, it was choosing not to give in to those urges which come with being in a depressed state. OK, so I dressed it up in a cutesy phrase: “today I am going to pretend to be in denial about being depressed”. Unpacked, what that actually meant was “today I am going to choose to behave as though I am not depressed, even though I may experience symptoms of deep depression.”
Unpacking it further, what I actually did was practice one aspect of the CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) model really hard for a whole day, that part of the model where you consciously select your behaviours. As a side note, my personal opinion is that CBT is a necessary but not sufficient therapy for the long-term ‘cure’ of mood disorders. CBT is an incredibly strong skillset which I think everyone can benefit from, but I believe the model under-emphasizes the fact that emotions can trigger thoughts (I’m pretty tired as I write this, perhaps someone else can express what I’m trying to say more clearly?! Or maybe I will try again another day).
Anyway, I gave it a red hot shot, and it worked well. I know I couldn’t do this on a I-literally-can’t-get-out-of-bed day, but it’s good to know I can still push through if need be. Over the last four months, I’d lost the confidence that I could do that.
That in itself is a win. Yay!