• C. Mead L.C.S.W., L.C.P.C.

Lost in the woods

Depression can sometimes settle in like a semi-homeless friend coming to visit. Once a week becomes twice becomes everyday. Once moved in, devilishly hard to evict. Some of you know exactly what I mean haha, but I think depression is a little more like being lost in the woods. The scariest movie I've ever seen is one many found mild at best, The Blair Witch Project. I can’t think of anything more scary than being lost in the woods, going in circles everyday, and be unable to find your way out. Sounds like a nightmare to me, but depression can be a lot like that. There’s no real clear path out of it and everyone’s “woods” is different and unique to them. Yet, every struggle contains its' own solution.

Luckily there are people that can help you figure out a plan and identify problems that prevent you from finding a way out or even a successful path forward. There are a myriad of strategies and ways to improve your chances and make the journey easier but ultimately you may have to find out how you first got lost in the first place to get out and keep it from happening again and again. Often we have old habits that used to be helpful but now just lead us on the wrong path and flat out don't work for us anymore

Some may struggle for sometime stuck in the spot they got lost. Feeling terrible about the situation and how they got there. They mentally review their choices and steps sometimes assigning perhaps unfair meaning and value to them. Mistakes and poor choices become evidence of our worst fears for ourselves; that we are stupid, weak, unloveable, unworthy, or insufficient in a thousand ways. Below that lies a deep well that gets darker and colder the deeper you go. Some give up entirely and decide this is where they live now. Enough time passes for it to feel normal, almost routine.

Being lost is the status quo. How that happened can be a focus if only to correct unhelpful habits that lead us astray. My wise friend told me always move forward never backward but, sometimes you may go backwards but only to gain momentum to swing forward. That's perfect distilation of the right philophy. Standing still and wallowing in sadness for getting lost is simply an indulgence in self-pity which I suppose has its merits but for only a short time. If you need to feel sad for yourself then do it but, ultimately the only way to get unlost is to pick a direction, any direction and move forward in a path that appears to have most likelihood of success. You're already lost, any direction might due. You might even enlist the help of a lost-in-the-woods specialist. One thing we know for certain is that change can only happen with time or action. Problems do often resolve themselves with time, but action is our only way to speed that outcome to now.