Turning depression around

Thinking too much

on 03/10/2013

How much time do we spend living in our own heads?  How much more do we spend imagining what’s going on in the heads of others, assuming the worst?

When I was little, I thought that painting over a shadow trapped it, and that was why the decorating stopped when the sun went down.  I thought that cats were being slaughtered in their thousands just so that the roads sparkled at night.

I grew out of that.  Those misconceptions came from the logic of innocence, but I was entirely convinced that I was right at the time.  Part of growing up is accepting that we’re wrong sometimes.  So when we think we can read minds, how accurate are the conclusions we jump to?

Popular opinion can be misleading too.  I’ve read “classic” books and not seen what all the fuss was about, and watched “must-see” films for which I’ve not understood the hype.  When my expectations are set up to be great, rather than follow the crowd, I can challenge my predictions.

One of the reasons we’re so hesitant to talk about depression is that we foresee negative reactions from the public at large.  We hold the conversation in our own head, scripting responses to the point where we talk ourselves into keeping our thoughts just as they are:  as thoughts that we keep to ourselves.

The chances are that we’re way off the mark, and that people will be much more receptive to what we’re trying to say.  Not everyone will want to listen, and we need to be selective about our audience, but those who want to be there for us will be.  We all know the old joke about what happens when we assume anything, so believing that others are thinking badly of us does us no good.

And even if they are, so what?  Who says we have to answer to anyone but ourselves?  Self-acceptance is a major factor in taking control over depression.  Do we believe that they spend an equal amount of time wondering what we think of them, as if our opinion matters to them at all?  Why give their thoughts any thought?

We can spend our thinking time in the past that we can’t change, in the future that we can’t see, or in the heads of others as we imagine it there. The only mind that is tormented with that kind of thinking is our own.  The present only happens now, so we can only enjoy it now, if we take the time to think about it.


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