If you are just tuning in, feel free to jump over to Day 1. In the post I talked in general about my diagnosis.
Some background about what this challenge can be found on my post “Redefining Disability Challenge Accepted!” I talk about what the challenge means to me as well as where I discovered this unique event.
First, a story:
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.
One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance,
self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”
He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity,
humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Day 2: How do you feel about your diagnosis?
This parable speaks volumes about how I saw myself as a person who suffers from clinical depression and anxiety. I chose to “feed” the wolf who seemed to lead to quick sort-of painless pleasure–at least in the short term.
I used to blame my background, past lovers, finances, situations, even pure bad luck on all the crappy things that were happening to me. I refused to see myself as someone who was “crazy, eccentric, weird, different.”
So what did I do? I developed the habit of running away whenever the situation started to really get rotten..when I had dug myself a deep enough hole. I would reach a point of no return monitored by my own mind and ruled by emotion.
I kept feeding that wolf of anger and guilt so much that I would get to the point where I would just get up and leave–not just the situation but the entire city I had resided in. I got rid of a lot of my old clothes, books, pictures, memories that way. I left several places over the course of a few years and I would actively seek out the company of others who were also feeding the same wolf and running for the same reasons.
It was a very rough time for me.
You may be asking yourself at this point: What changed? Am I still leaving places and people? How is my quality of life?
I know I would if I was reading this 🙂
I won’t get into the hairy details, but I’ve stopped running. I’ve stopped because I wanted to take responsibility for myself again.
I wanted more out of my life than months of darkness laying in some bed sleeping away weeks at a time.
I rediscovered writing and it proved to be my saving grace. It was my one constant–the stability that I had unknowingly been searching for all my life. I started feeding the wolf that stood for life while I was surrounded by so much death, despair and emptiness.
I also started a regular doctor and told him every single symptom I had been experiencing. I was that desperate to find refuge from my own mind. I had tried everything else. There was nothing else to lose now–I had already left or lost everything that had been a part of my past. He put me on new medications and we had ongoing discussions about symptoms and side effects.
I started loving and focusing on me more than anyone else around–feeding my hunger for creativity and challenge.