I was somewhere else and didn’t know it.
It’s something I do often, quite often. In fact, I’m “elsewhere” far more often then ever I realized. No, I’m not hallucinating, but you don’t have to do that to be elsewhere, to not be in the “now.”
I dearly love my vivid imagination and it has served me well as a writer, but I’m not talking about that—exactly.
Some of my earliest memories include employing my imagination. Guess I was born with the skill. Of course, children “pretend” and dream, but later grow out of it to a degree.
Yeah, not me so much…
Anyway, as the world around me grew more harsh my daydreaming abilities grew more adept. In elementary school I was consistently an average student who was well behaved, but was cited for daydreaming too much. I was also obedient, so much so that to this day if you sit me in a classroom I’ll automatically straighten my back and clasp my hands on the desk in front of me.
Yet, regularly my eyes were directed towards the window, my mind far away…
That ability to disconnect, over time, came to include more than my imagination, but also my drive to please and achieve, to plan my next task—or the next five tasks.
Multi-tasking? Kinda. Efficiency? Oh, yes, I’m always about efficiency, always seeking to squeeze more out of the day, out of the hour, out of the moment…
…and placing one foot in the depression grave.
Yes, it’s that same ability that depression used against me. Several days ago I started reading a book on the topic. Given that I’m only a third of the way through the book I don’t want to discuss it in detail at this point, but will draw conclusions about its merits next week. For now, I’ll say that it’s making a lot of sense and opening my eyes to traits that open the door for depression to return.
Don’t want that.
Don’t think anyone would want that.
So, back to the “grave” statement. My ability to easily (and often) disconnect from the moment is the same skill my depression uses against me. Rather then remain in the “now,” my thoughts disengage from reality and flee into the past or obsess about the future even while I’m busy performing tasks. Meanwhile, “the moment” (reality) is ignored.
I don’t think I’m explaining this well…I’ll try a different approach…
Ever arrive home from work and can’t remember the drive? Yeah, it’s similar to that. Ever pickup your coffee cup and discover it’s empty. Yeah, it’s like that, too.
It’s THAT disconnect. Rather then evaluate NOW on its own merits (and, by extension, me) my thoughts seize a bad moment from the past and run with it into the future to draw conclusions that have no basis in fact.
And all the while I’m sitting with a book in my hands that I’m not seeing because I’ve disconnected and run off to the world of negative thoughts. Then, when I return, the negative mindset comes with me.
And all the easier to do if you’ve suffered from depression in the past!
Already—and with most of the book remaining—I’m becoming more aware of this dangerous tendency and finding it easier to return myself to “the moment” before any damage is done. My fledgling awareness is also making me aware of how often I leave the moment. While it’s a scary thing to discover, it’s also an awakening.
I’m excited about all this and wanted to share. If the book’s promise holds through to the end I’ll return next week to talk about it in more specific terms.