Tag Archives: depression

Under the Weather

If you’re tired of me complaining about the weather, I can promise this post isn’t just about that. Instead I’m going to use it as a fancy metaphor for depression in an artsy attempt to complain about the weather.

The fact is this winter has been brutal already. We have about 18 inches of snow right now, are already around 80 inches this year and they’re predicting another storm this weekend. We had four days in January with no snow and haven’t been above freezing in weeks. And it’s only February.

Needless to say, FTW.

Aside from the actual cold, I struggle with a commute that gets complicated and dangerous, keeping my driveway and car clean when there’s nowhere else to throw the snow, worrying about the impact of the weather on my house, the increased bills, etc.

And more than ever before, the weather has upped my depression. Well, I’m blaming it on the weather, but in reality that could be a coincidence seeing as it’s been just as relentless for years.

But much like the weight of this winter, lately it’s crushing me down.

The OCD, the exercise, the hopelessness—it’s come to a point where I wonder when I’ll break, either physically or mentally, and yet I keep  testing those limits. I keep waiting for some event so significant in my mind that I’ll feel compelled to change, that the cloak of depression and obsession will fade and voila! The metaphorical sun will melt the snow and everything will become sun-shiny great!

But of course, that’s just magical thinking.

So instead I fight myself from both sides—the terrifyingly powerful disorder that wants me to cling to it and the part that wants to live a life without it. Finding a balance between the two might seem like having the best of both worlds —Yay! I’m a semi-functioning person balancing disorders and depression, well done!— but we know that’s not the case.

Because while everyone has heard how things have to get worse before getting better, what it doesn’t say is that you should make things worse before they magically, somehow get “better.”

So for the first time in years I actually went to a therapist.

It’s early, but so far she “gets” me. She’s a vegan holistic yoga teacher and I want to move into her office, but I think that violates some kind of ethical code. Anyway, much like dealing with winter, therapy is a lot of work. It’s exhausting. It’s expensive. It’s not fun.

But eventually you just reach that point—breakdown again or breakthrough?—and that’s where I am right now. I don’t feel like I’m really “me,” and even more scary, I’m not sure who that “me” is anymore but I owe it to myself to find out.

Now you’re probably wondering a) why I’m sharing this with you and b) when I’ll shut up. Frankly, I wonder that, too. I mean, how do you respond to this as a reader? What good does it do to ramble on about this when I would rather put up something funny?

Part of it is healing for me, getting it out there and telling someone. Part of it is that social stigma (and pride) often prevents many people from discussing these things. However, I do it anyway because maybe reading that I feel this way will help someone to feel less alone — or at least ridiculously sane in comparison.

So to wrap this all up and come back to that meteorological metaphor, I’ll say I have no control over weather, but I have faith that spring will eventually come. The sun will shine, the gray and desolate cold will recede and we’ll start to dig out of this hole.

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I’m ready to dig out of this hole.

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Pulling Back the Curtain

I had two different posts written—a semi-funny one I’ll put up next (when there are more than five people on the Internet) and one of those personal ones that leaves me twitchy with my finger on the “delete” button—but I trashed the serious one.

Then I started to wonder why, if that’s how I was feeling, I wanted to push it away.

Part of it is that I like to keep things light here, another part is that some things are best kept offline, but yet another part is that it might change how you look at me. It’s easy to make fun of myself about certain things, but it’s not easy to truly make myself vulnerable. And so I often slightly hide the truth, internalize any issues and avoid feeling anything slightly uncomfortable.

How’s that working out for me, eh?

So I decided to write about that because I think we all use this trick from time to time, telling people what we think they want to hear, maybe saying we’re “fine” when in fact we’re a little bit (or a lot) less.

I admit it’s not always easy to do. There are times I feel like not sharing more crap gives off the air that I’m always okay. Since part of me wants to believe that that’s true, it feels like this act never stops.

Keep smiling, keep the messy stuff all to yourself.

But there are times this seemingly harmless omission starts to eat away at me, and it’s those times I wonder how many other people write posts they don’t publish, delete all the stuff that might blur up the lines between how they are and how they wish they could be.

We all know why we do this, of course.

We’ve heard the importance to put on a brave face, project unicorns and glitter and “fake it ‘til you make it!” I’m sure that works for some people, but for everyone out there who’s struggling, watching others do only that just adds to their feeling of inadequacy and self-doubt. For many, watching others just hurts and adds to the need to hide out.

Of course we can’t change what other people do or how others perceive us. The crafting of a perfect persona is part of our culture now — online and off — whether we like it or not (and I choose the latter.) I know I have to balance between honesty and oversharing, between personal and professional.

Because regardless of whether it’s honest or not, what you put out there is you—for better or worse.

But it’s unrealistic to think you can be happy all of the time. That would be weird and unnatural, like how people’s faces vibrate when they try and hold in a yawn. (Just let it go, people.)

And even though many of us have good lives and good opportunities, normal life isn’t easy for anyone—even those without depression or “issues” they face.

But I can tell you that if you decide to share a bit of the muck, to let the curtains peek open a crack when you crave the light most, the people you need in your life won’t reject you. They support. They entertain. They listen. They can talk you off the ledge that you’re on, knowing they’ve stood there before.

It’s more about trusting yourself.

So I’m still not sure that I’ll publish that “serious” post, but it’s not because I’m ashamed. I just have other, funnier things that I want to share. But I know that when the time feels right, I’ll pull back the curtain again.

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Magical Thinking

There’s a quote in Augusten Burrough’s “Magical Thinking” that I love:

“I like flaws and feel more comfortable around people who have them. I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.”

That’s me, pretty much to the letter.

I had good intentions of keeping things super light here and not addressing some issues, but I also don’t want to be dishonest and act like everything’s fine every day. So today you get this crap.

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Long story short-ish, the past few months my OCD, exercise, weight, depression, etc. have really been kicking my ass. Everything except spacing out on the couch or exercising makes me uncomfortable. When I get uncomfortable my instinct isn’t to sit back and evaluate why, but rather to simply escape.

Quickly.

Enter the (maladaptive) behaviors I associate with relief. But the problem is it’s never enough, and it becomes harder to sit with the most fleeting feelings of discomfort. (And when you’re depressed, there’s a lot of discomfort.)

In other words, it’s a temporary fix for a permanent predicament—that “life” will always happen and things are always in flux.

I guess it’s a little comforting to know that what we all struggle with in our lives can be acknowledged as ordinary experience. Everybody feels the pain of not getting what they want or getting what they don’t want, and most of the time it’s not because they suck and can’t get things right.

It’s life, and we’re not the only ones who feel we can’t keep it all together.

But sometimes the internal issues offer no rhyme or reason—no big life event you can cite—which makes you feel kind of crazy and write blog posts like this.

Because even though my intentions are good — I know I’m not a horrible person — I cancel plans because it might interrupt my “safe” routine. I do a good job at work, but don’t enjoy it or the fact that I’m stuck at a desk for the day. I’m pretty sure at times I come off as a flake.

I’m not a flake.

I’m trying to get by. And while I know these bizarre things I do for self-preservation are technically making my life more complicated, it’s a “comfortable” complicated. I pretend I can deal with that better than I can deal with reality without them.

So why write this? I don’t know.

It doesn’t have some great motivational moment to end with other than the fact that my insecurity over publishing it trumps any insecurity you might have if you relate to anything written.

I can also add that if you do relate to anything here, just know that I pledge to try every day. Most days I fail, but I try.

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Maybe that’s it.

Maybe it’s so you (we) remember it’s easy to get sucked into online personalities presented in an edited version of reality, one where we’re often  given the good parts and a sliver of the flaws, just enough so that people relate. We forget that it’s only what they want us to see. 

Of course I’m envious of those who don’t have to deal with this stuff and can just be “okay” without so much effort, but I’m not ashamed that I have issues.

You should never be ashamed.

So while my next post is back to humor—writer’s block, be damned—this one exposes my flaws. After all, “I like flaws and feel more comfortable around people who have them. I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.”

Magical thinking, indeed.

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Because You’re Human

When give a dose of twisted reality, much like the tragedy in Boston, we’re also given a dose of perspective. Things are completely out of our control. There are monsters that walk among us who are filled with rage and hate. Bad things happen to good people.

It’s enough to make anyone want to crawl in a hole and escape.

But this post isn’t about Boston, Texas or Newtown or the myriad of tragic events that unfortunately, we’ve had to endure. There are others that can speak much more eloquently on those topics, as thankfully, I’m personally removed.

What I’m not personally removed from is depression, something that I’ve written about a million times before, and something that quite frankly, I’m tired of writing about. I like to keep it light, if only for my own sanity.

But events like Boston bring something to the forefront of my mind, something that I’ve heard others who suffer from depression bring up all the time—the guilt.

Ahh…the guilt. That useless emotion.

I have a job, a roof over my head, family and friends who love me and who are still safe. How dare I be depressed when on paper, things look go good? Other people have “real” reasons to be depressed, so what the hell is my problem?

These are the thoughts that go through my head. The guilt—combined with frustration—are what lead me to physically wear myself down to a literal shell of who I once was.

I won’t go into my details again, but when it hits, I can’t imagine how things might change. My motivation becomes basically reduced to: food, exercise, sleep and hopefully coming up with something to write. Anything on top of that isn’t something I have any interest in.

I just don’t want to think anymore.

I simply want relief, and part of me thought (and maybe still thinks) that if I kept physically pushing myself, eventually something would literally give and then I would have a “real” reason, a valid excuse.

Because if I have an excuse, then I won’t have the guilt and there’s something else I can blame for the way that I feel.

In their own way, I hear this from friends who deal with depression themselves. That the guilt is what keeps them tamped down, that they don’t “deserve” to feel anything less than the inspirational quotes and posters that plaster the globe expect everybody to feel.

But you know what?

Sometimes things are completely out of our control. There are mental monsters like that fill our minds with negative thoughts we don’t ask for. Depression happens to good people.

It’s not your fault.

So even though I cringe as I publish this— “serious” equates to insecurity for me—I wrote it because I know I’m not alone, because everyone has shit that they deal with—big, small, internal, external. 

What you deal with is your shit and what I deal with is mine. That’s both comforting and disconcerting, as it means even though we’re not alone, we’re also not unique or the exception to some rule. Everyone has pain.

The only guilt you should feel is if you don’t honor the fact that your feelings are valid and real.

This doesn’t mean you wallow. This doesn’t mean you throw up your hands, say “screw it” and crawl in a hole and escape. This means you fight. This means you endure. This means your guilt is replaced with acceptance and you take the next step forward and deal with your reality now, whatever that reality may be.

You’re human.

That’s all the “excuse” that you need.

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I’m a Fixer


I’m a fixer.

Home improvements aside, if I see something that’s off in any way I have the urge to try and make it better. But there are certain things I just can’t fix, and it frustrates me to no end.

When I was little, the fact that my mom was in a full body cast or gone for weeks at a time for surgery was completely normal to me. I thought the X-rays showing all the hardware in her back and neck were neat, and we had a kick-ass collection of braces and medical stuff to use when my friends and I played around.

But as I got older, I realized that despite the fact that she tried to keep everything normalized, my mom was in pain. All the time. She still is. The realization that there was nothing I could do to make it go away left me feeling helpless. All the time. I still do.

At some point you realize that things happen to you and happen around you that can’t be fixed.

And it’s not your job to fix them.

I bring this up because there seems to be a string of pretty crappy things happening to those around me lately, and it feels like every day I’m confronted with another story that proves we all have “something” that we’re dealing with that’s out of our control.

There’s no greater feeling of helplessness than to know that someone you care about is sick, financially strapped, in pain—physically or emotionally—or let’s be honest, dying.

I think a lot of people unintentionally ignore these things at times, not because they don’t care, but simply because they can’t “fix” them and have no clue how to react. Those who are sick or aging aren’t necessarily the same people we’ve known them to be, and selfishly, we want them to be the people they were before they got sick, before they got old, before they became so… mortal.

The realization that things will never be the same—and that you can’t fix it as such—is enough to make you stress yourself out in an attempt to save the world or conversely stay at home curled up in a ball, not dealing with it at all.

But just as much as you don’t want to deal with it, I can guarantee that the person who is sick or struggling doesn’t want to deal with it a million times more—but they do, often with courage and grace.

I think that in and of itself can be intimidating, the fact that you are lucky enough to be in a comparatively better position. The strength of those who aren’t can be inspiring beyond belief, but it can also make us question how we would be if faced with such a challenge.

It takes courage to face the unknown, but it’s much easier to do so when you’re on the right side of the coin, to be the one who has a choice.

But the fact is that as strong as they are or appear to be, they’re probably still scared. So we put the guilt aside for wanting them to be the people they were before they got sick, before they got old, before they became so…mortal—because at their core, they are the same people.

And you know what?

They know that you can’t fix things, and most don’t expect you to. They have no choice but to deal the hand they were dealt, and sometimes they just want you to hold that hand.

They don’t want to do it alone.

That’s one thing I—and you—can fix.

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Three Things

“The three grand essentials to happiness in life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” – Joseph Addison

Although I like to keep things light here, this time of year is always a little bit rough for me. So while this post feels self-indulgent and I’m sure I’ll regret that I shared it, that’s why I’m writing it—because it’s easy to only share good things and hide all the gray in between.

I promise “funny” next time. It’s not all doom and gloom.

But while everyone is optimistic and resolving to be EVEN MORE AWESOME and productive and “following their passion” in 2013, I’m still counting the minutes until I can crawl into bed and drop the façade of a functioning adult human being. In other words, riding out another wave of depression in which I find it hard to find any or all of those things.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

The past couple years I’ve really come to embrace my own likes and dislikes and peculiarities, and I do have a slightly better grasp of what makes me content. I’m quite simple, and it doesn’t take much.

But depression’s a game-changer, and I feel like my biggest accomplishment in 2012 was surviving without complete self-destruction. I didn’t really live up to my potential and didn’t really care all that much. My weight slipped down, motivation came in bursts and busts and for the most part I just floated along.

We don’t need to go back over that, as that’s not the “something to do” that he spoke of. Instead, I shall overshare more.

Doing

For me, “something to do” is to make a living in a way that grants me the freedom to look forward to going to work, ideally writing and making a few people smile. I don’t seek fame, but rather the work that I do and the people I’m around to make me feel good about myself.

I’ve yet to find my “fit,” that place that feels right, but I have to believe that meaningful work is somewhere out there for me.

Loving

When you’re depressed, your world gets very, very small and soon you see nothing but things in your head. The last thing you want to do is appear weak or feel like a burden, so it’s easy to keep it all in.

And despite my fierce independence, wanting a connection with others is a natural inclination. Connections are the main reason why I write—along with the fact that I love it—but I often reveal myself to strangers and hide myself from the people I know.

I need to remember that “something to love” doesn’t necessarily mean “something to validate me” and that being in an abusive relationship with myself takes up time in which I could be open to healthy relationships.

Hoping

As I’ve covered before, the key is to want to want something to hope for, to want to want something to change. For most of last year I had insight, but not much inspiration. So while I don’t aim for extra awesomeness or miracles in 2013, I hope to do more than survive.

I hope to find somewhere I fit.

And no, it’s not a resolution. It’s a reminder that life is messy for everyone. It’s filled with pain and confusion mixed with moments of joy, much of it out of our control. But we can all seek something to do, something to love and something to hope for.

Three things.

One day at a time.

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What are one of your “three things” from above?

It’s Not the End of the World

Along with the inevitable “Top 10” lists that come out this time of year, we’re also being inundated with talk of the Mayans and the end of the world.

“What would you do if it were your last day? How would you spend your time and what would you say/eat/wear/post to your soon-to-be-doomed Facebook page? For the love of broccoli, live each day as if it were your last!”

I don’t live each day as if it were my last simply because it’s impractical. If everyone subscribed to that suggestion we would have no custodians, waitresses or accountants and only millions of actors and musicians traveling the world or co-writing a column with Tina Fey from their couch (okay, that last one is me.)

But that’s the practical, concrete “big picture,” and that’s not the point of this post. The point is that watching the news or reading online makes it painfully clear that everyone—young and old—is mortal. Regardless of our differences, this is something we all have in common. It’s a challenge we all face together.

Another challenge is admitting that fact, or more accurately, any weakness to those that we know.

I’m convinced that most people think “the other person” has figured out the world before they have. That person won life, so that means we’ve lost. We don’t have it all figured out yet and good lord! We’re at an age when we SHOULD have it all figured out, we SHOULD know what makes us happy and exactly how to get to—and more importantly—stay in that place.

I call bullshit.

I call bullshit on the whole thing, as the world is too freaking confusing for anyone to have it all figured out, whatever that even means. We live in an age when people hide behind computer screens or emotional barriers and carefully plan their communication with other people, something that makes truly honest moments few and far between.

And for some reason there’s a societal stigma attached to feeling lost or confused, to letting yourself be seen as vulnerable or admitting that no, you actually don’t know what the hell you’re doing — even though most people likely feel the same way.

Well, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing other than living life day to day.

I’m technically a mess.

I’m open, I’m raw, I say how I feel and often feel stupid about a lot of the things that I do or don’t do. I question myself and my decisions a lot of the time. And those questions I have yet to find answers to? I obsess over that all too often. I’m human and I’m flawed, but long ago I made the decision to not feel ashamed of that fact.

And when I see people who have sort of an effortless peace to their lives, who are comfortable with wherever they’re at even if they don’t have it “all figured out,” I know that that’s something I want—not to “figure it all out,” but to be okay with wherever I am.

So to do that, I ask myself this—not just before the planned end of the world, but on days when I’m feeling like crap:

  • Who and what do I want to surround myself with? Is it healthy or simply a habit?
  • If something is ticking me off, do I want to make a change or make a point, be right or be content?
  • Why do I feel insecure? What’s really important to me?
  • How will obsessing on things in the past help me feel more at peace with things now?

I try every day to find peace and accept there are bumps—sometimes massive, frustrating speed bumps—in the road, in everyone’s road, truth be told.

But you know what? That’s just life.

And it’s not the end of the world.

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It’s a Funny Thing

I’m not an easy person to be close with. There are a few quirks you have to get used to, and I’m sure I’m frustrating more times than not.

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But there are moments when I can be semi-humorous and/or introspective, and it’s been my experience that people don’t always want introspection—they want to be entertained.

I’m no exception to this rule.

While getting introspective and “deep” can be helpful, sometimes I think that writing about it all the time ends up sounding like I’m just dwelling on things.

So instead of publishing posts that make me sound like a drag, I often try to find the funny and share the posts that make me sound like a weirdo. Humor is a great distraction from things and most people like to laugh—me included—because who wouldn’t want to be happy?

But here’s where I let you in on a secret.

Sometimes when I’m at my (relative) funniest, that’s when I’m at my lowest, and each tweet, update or post is simply me grasping at sanity straws. I might be snarky, but chances are I’d rather be in bed with covers over my head pretending the day isn’t happening.

Don’t get me wrong—sometimes I’m genuinely happy with things and I’m naturally a sarcastic smartass. On those days when I’m able to write, creating something—anything—makes me happy, ridiculously happy, mostly because I feel productive and useful for at least a few minutes in time.

Then there are times I epically fail, and instead of trying to search for a laugh, I go and search for the covers. Unfortunately, those days happen much more often than I’d like to admit.

But while there is often real suffering, there is also self-created suffering. While there is often real happiness, there is also self-created happiness.

I forget this when I’m not only without a funny blog post, status update or quick quip to read or write, but also without the desire to care either way—about that, or really, anything. These are the times when I get stressed, as I simply want to be funny and LAUGH DAMMIT! Why is being happy so hard?

But as Thich Nhat Hanh once said much more eloquently than me, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

True, Thich my man, true.

It’s rather unrealistic to think you can be happy 100 percent of the time. That would be weird and unnatural, like how people’s faces vibrate when they try and hold in a yawn. (Just let it go, people.) And even though many of us have good lives and good opportunities, normal life isn’t easy for anyone—even those without depression.

But we can try to create small moments when things seem most bleak. We can remember that behind everyone’s smile, there might be some pain. Behind everyone’s laugh, there might be self-doubt. Behind every dark moment there has to be light, even if it’s buried under eight pounds of crap.

Where there’s humor, there’s hope.

It’s funny how those things work out.

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This post was kind of written in response to a company called The b Positive Project, a T-shirt company that has become more of a “positive movement” of sorts.  As their site states, “We know that everyone encounters tough times, but we believe that, in those moments, everyone also has the choice to ‘b Positive.’”

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They have a really cool story and they reached out to me to share something, I was honored, so you have this. Oh! And even though they offered to send me a shirt, I haven’t been compensated in any way. I just think they’re cool. But I do love T-shirts, so there’s that, too.   

If anyone else wants to send me a T-shirt, I’ll totally write you a post.  

An Ego Trip

A lot of what I’ve been reading deals with letting go—letting go of attachment to results, to routine, to the ego.

At first I kind of rolled my eyes at the ego thing, as I never really figured myself to have much of a stereotypical ego. I don’t spend a lot of time or money on my looks, I can admit when I’m wrong and I’m pretty much self-deprecating to a fault.

But then I realized that was bullshit. Of course I have an ego. It might not be the, “Hey, look at me! I’ve been meditating for a month and suddenly all of the answers are clear! Praise avocados! Namaste!” type of ego, but I still find myself attached to my story.

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You know what I’m talking about.

We all have a story, and at times I still let past chapters of mine continue to define me today. There are labels I had never removed because it seemed impossible to let those things go. After all, it’s easy to define yourself by the past—the things you’ve had to deal with that were out of your control, the way someone treated you—or by your struggles—OCD, weight, depression, etc.

But I’m learning that there can and will always be another story as long as I permit myself to “be” without worrying about figuring it out.

In other words, dropping the ego—or at least peeking around its rough edges—and letting go of control.

So I’ve been reading—slowly, not rushing through—and taking more time with more things. By deliberately slowing down a mind that has a tendency to run ahead without me, I’m much more aware of my space and of the fact that I don’t need to fill that space up with things and noise all the time.

That can be hard, as in this self-branding/social media world we live in we’re offered platforms to try and present flattering one-dimensional versions of ourselves and told to do, do, do and share it all the time. And then—because everyone else is doing it too—we’re given tools to calculate our popularity.

No wonder we’re a mess half the time.

And truth be told, I’m still a mess in a whole lot of ways and have no clue what I’m doing with things. It has nothing to do with anyone else, but simply with my own frustration. (If I hear “find your passion” one more time I’ll flip my shit out, but that’s for another day.)

Anyway, the best way to fight unhealthy habits is to cultivate a personal mindset that simply doesn’t promote their presence in the first place.

There’s a difference between content and complacent, confident and cocky, reaching out and clinging on, stuck and simply stumbling. Sometimes I’m all of these things all at once, but I’m finding is if you’re content with yourself and need nothing else, it helps solve a lot of problems.

But of course there still are problems.

So if there’s anyone out there hiring a mostly content slightly neurotic writer to move to a remote island to practice yoga and meditation while editing vegan cookbooks and selling sea shells by the sea shore, shoot me an email there buddy.

Hey, I said “peek around the edge” of the ego, not completely squash that crap down. Snark will always be a part of my story—and my next post—so praise avocados! Namaste!”

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Detour Ahead

My commute to work is a rather straight shot and usually takes around 25 minutes. Considering that I leave early, I tend to miss the morning rush and  make pretty good time.

The other morning I was cruising along and saw flashers lighting up the dark. It turns out there was a bad accident and emergency crews were directing traffic down a side road I had never been down before, much less in the dark.

My first thought was one of panic, as my ability to directionally navigate is on par to Helen Keller’s in a maze.

If it’s not my normal route, there are no detour signs and it’s not light outside, you can pretty much expect me to end up four counties over, huddled in the backseat in the fetal position eating everything in my lunchbox for survival in the span on 20 minutes.

But I followed the cars in front of me and long story short, I realized where I was and made it to work with my mental faculties no more damaged than after accidentally hearing a snippet of a Nickelback song.

This would be a really boring story if I didn’t try and squeeze some deeper meaning out of it though, right? Let’s try, because while my first thought was one of panic, my second thought was a wee bit more centered.

“At least it wasn’t me in the accident.”

I was inconvenienced, yes, but I wasn’t a victim of some personal misfortune. There were people having a much worse morning than me—namely those in the accident—and the fact that I was stressing over finding an alternate route was actually quite absurd.

But don’t we do that more often than we’d like to admit? The screaming child in the grocery store, the traffic jam on our way home, bad weather—a lot of the stress and anxiety we feel comes from the internalization of external events and the feeling that they’re happening directly to us instead of around us.

The way we react to that misinformation is what actually intensifies the discomfort, not the events in and of themselves.

Now don’t get me wrong–crap happens, often directly to us. But we’re often victims of our old way of thinking and not some universal plot to destroy our inner peace (although I would argue that Comcast and people who drive slow in the fast lane are truly in on that plan.)

If we adjust our reaction to one of acceptance instead of resistance and adopt a new way of thinking about them—an emotional detour of sorts—we’re at least giving ourselves a chance to get where we need to go.

So much like my drive to work, I’m trying to stop my brain from operating on autopilot, aware that I can’t really practice contentment while continuing to identify with whatever darkness I’ve let cloud up my mind. I’m trying to remember that my internal reality doesn’t have to be dictated by external events.

Easier said than done—and I have five million half-posts written about this that will never see the light of blog—but the occasional detour can show us there’s more than one way to move on through the world. We can adjust or we can resist, and some days I do both in the span of 3.4 seconds. But progress not perfection and all those other used clichés.

I’ll get there one way or another.

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