The gym down the block from where I work has an indoor track, which is handy when it’s 20 degrees out and you have a marathon coming up in…
…less than five months.
So yesterday I left work, walked down to the gym, changed clothes — and realized I’d left my running shoes at home.
Last fall, here’s what would have happened. I would have given up on the workout and changed back into my work clothes, swearing and berating myself all the while, and then spent the rest of the evening under a cloud of disgust at my own incompetence.
What happened yesterday?
For a second I started to do all that. Then I thought, “I wonder if they let people run in socks.”
(Answer 1: apparently. Answer 2: ow.)
Y’all, antidepressants are AMAZING.
The thing is, I’m not any more competent than I was a year ago. I’m not any less likely to screw up or to forget one of the 8 million things I need to keep track of in a day.
What’s different is that now I can think about myself in a way that’s simply not possible when I’m depressed. I can see myself as a worthwhile person who makes mistakes. I can use my mental energy to find solutions instead of wasting it on hating myself. I can see a screw-up as an occasion to get outside of my routine and try something different.
If you can’t do those things, I mean literally can’t do them, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. I hate all that pull-yourself-up-by-your-emotional-bootstraps, “you’re as happy as you choose to be” shit. Yes, there are ways to work on being happier — IF you have a certain baseline level of functioning. But you might need help to get to that baseline. I do.