I have tried to explain to many people that when I feel anxious it isn’t due to a lack of positive thought, and that feeling depressed is not the same thing as wallowing in self pity. It’s not easy, and often people aren’t willing to trust my judgement on the matter.
Being more positive would be good advice if the people giving it accepted that:
1) It wouldn’t change how you felt inside.
2) That repressing how you feel and being more positive are not the same thing.
3) It’s not an over night transition.
But often they don’t, and that’s why it’s bad advice. They miss the point, we can’t change how we feel, but we can change how we deal with that, and that’s why being more positive is important.
I get particularly persistent periods of fatigue and low motivation. When it happens I want to stay in bed. I used to cry and sleep for days, which made the fatigue and depression worse, damaged my relationships and didn’t do me any good.
Being positive was not pretending I was OK, it was having a shower and get dressed, even though I wasn’t planning on going out. Some days, that was enough to make me feel a bit better and rather than stay in bed I’d go to work or sit in the garden and although I wasn’t well, I’d get through the day. Some days I went back to bed, tried not to beat myself up about it and try again the next day. I wasn’t going back to bed to wallow, I was accepting that I was overwhelmed and needed a break. Fighting (and living with) depression will always include rest.
Anxiety is not always caused by negative thoughts. I’ve had this argument with mental health doctors before. Sometimes panic just happens, I used to walk into town thinking
“I can do this! Of course I can it’s easy.” Then I’d get to the supermarket and it would be busy and I’d feel a wave of fear, and my legs would get weak or tears would start pouring down my face, and all the time I’d be thinking “come on…this isn’t a big deal, I’m safe, I just want to buy some salad.”
Depression is almost definable as a lack of positive feeling. The loss is the problem, not the cause. I didn’t get depression or anxiety because I wasn’t positive. It just happened and I’m learning to live with that, but it’s painful and it’s not easy to admit that I’m unwell. But by admitting it, I’m not being negative I’m being honest.
Pain tends to attract criticism or sympathy, and I want neither. I don’t want attention, or advice, just acceptance.