Shades of Grey

Today I saw the movie ‘About Time’ and if ever anything made me think about living with regrets and the destructive aspect of doing so, that movie was going to do it. I loved the movie and yes, it made me cry but more so than anything it made me think. The stated take home message was to live each day as the best day it can be, which in itself is an excellent sentiment but as well as that it made me think about the fact that if I could go back and change things, then likely the future would be different. And in my life, there are some very, very good things that I would not wish to be without.

I used to think that I would never have gotten depression had I not left Tasmania (one of my many flawed thought processes because of course, I would likely have gotten it anyway; the triggers may just have been different). For a long time I blamed the frenetic pace of life that we lived for my mental health issues. I have no doubt that they were a trigger, even a major contributor, but the cause definitely came from inside of me. The cause was my reaction to what happened in my life, not what happened. And in baby steps, I am working on controlling those reactions.

The train of thought that I followed after watching ‘About Time’ was to count my blessings, blessings who or that would never have come into my life without leaving Tasmania. I have an awesome network of people in my life throughout the world who I would likely never have met without leaving Tasmania. I have very special friends in England, Canada and Ireland, other friends and acquaintances literally all over the world and some of the people that I feel closest to are the network that I call my friends here in Brisbane. We have the best neighbours imaginable here in Brisbane. I don’t dare list the important people in my life for fear of missing someone out. You know how much you mean to me, I’ve told you!

As well as people, my blessings include life experiences, places I’ve been and things I’ve done and seen. My life’s tapestry is rich. It has colour and depth, light and shade; it has smiles and laughter. In fact, sitting here and writing, my head is literally bursting with thoughts of the good things in my life.

I believe that part of the reason why I was depressed for so long was that I was viewing the possibilities as limited, that is, I was imagining that there were only two possibilities, one was to be depressed and the other was to be happy. Because I imagined that something that I didn’t have or couldn’t be was stopping me from being happy, I had to stay depressed. I remember doing some wonderful, wonderful things during the time that I was depressed and although there was a level of enjoyment, there was always the fog that dampened the enjoyment. I am not sure how to explain this concept clearly, I guess it is best put into context by thinking black and white or perfectionistic tendencies. The perfectionist in me believed that everything had to be perfect for me to be happy. The black and white was that if I wasn’t very happy, I had to be very sad.

I have to say that the balance and shades of grey that I now feel is an immense relief. The pressure of trying to be constantly upbeat and outwardly happy has, at times in my life been absolutely exhausting!

2 thoughts on “Shades of Grey

  1. I love how you said ‘The cause was my reaction to what happened in my life, not what happened’ – I feel that is a very significant statement and one I also relate too. On one hand it makes things easier to accept once I realise I have some control over how I react to them, but It’s also hard then not to blame myself for ‘reacting’ like I have. I am beginning to understand that it is not my ‘fault’ but a mixture of genetics, personality and past experiences that form how I react. But the upside is, once I’m conscious of it, I (and you) can change it.

    • Thanks for your comment Alison, yes we can change the way we react but we absolutely need to be kind to ourselves when our reactions are not as we would hope that they would be. I find myself checking and re-checking my thought processes but still don’t always manage to keep things under control. I could feel my blood pressure rising yesterday as a result of a particular conversation and just over and over said to myself, ‘Xxx is entitled to her opinion. I do not share that opinion. It is not necessarily wrong but I don’t have to accept it is right either.’ That is as much as I believe I should expect of myself!

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