I just read this on Facebook:
“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” — William James
The thing about being human is that, unfortunately, we need to learn things over and over again.* What James said about our actions making a difference is as true in relation to depression as it is to life.
I’ve been reminded of this truth in a few particular ways over the past few days.
Regular readers may remember I decided a few days ago to pretend I wasn’t depressed. The experiment could be termed a success, though I paid a price later – a sort of ‘psychic hangover’ – *ugh* Still, determining to act in ways which challenged the behaviours (and, thereby, the thoughts and emotions) related with depression certainly alleviated its symptoms, in the short term.
Getting Out and About
Yeah, yeah, we all know getting out of the house is good for depression, but the city I’ve been living in has had lousy weather lately. I do have to go to a few medical appointments each week, but let’s face it, that’s not really “getting out”, is it? Well, today I had a family member visiting from interstate. It was fantastic to get into the city, get out and about, and most importantly, catch up. It was also fantastic to hear that there’s someone apart from my partner who doesn’t believe my life is “over”, that I’ll never feel good again, and that one day things will look up again. I’m still not 100% convinced on the latter, but I’m happy to go along with it for now!
… And That’s The Point
William James didn’t say “The way you act makes a difference.” The quote I read was “Act as if what you do makes a difference.” Whether you believe it or not, choose the action which will bring about the difference you desire.
James was not addressing the single phenomenon of depression, but this simple truth is what I’ve re-learnt these last few days: to enjoy a better quality of life, continue to challenge the urges, thoughts and behaviours which are associated with depression and increase your suffering.
As I always say, simple is not the same as easy!
*Or perhaps I’m just some sort of r-Human – remedial human – who’s destined to keep forgetting her life lessons … nah, I don’t believe I’m that special, though I did enjoy popping a little Iain Banks tribute reference into the post 🙂