Resilience

I sat down this morning and start taking stock of myself and what quality/skill/thing I could work on to make myself a better manager and a better person. After some time I came up with one word.

Resilience.

When faced with something that makes me uncomfortable, anxious, where I doubt my ability to cope or achieve or when faced with a challenging interpersonal issue I am very quick to crumple like a scrap piece of paper. I will put things off to avoid the situation. I will tiptoe around the issue and then wonder why nothing is better. I will apologise when there is pushback and fold like a deck of cards.

Resilience.

When it all starts to get ‘too much’, my first instinct is to run. When I feel like people don’t like me or someone is upset with me, my first act is to bow and make amends. When someone has done the wrong thing I struggle to call them out on it because I don’t want to deal with the backlash I know is coming.

Resilience.

This year I am going to be more confident in my ability. I am going to do my homework so that when I have to call someone out I can back it up with facts. When I’m corrected on something because I didn’t have access to the information, I will not say sorry; I will say thank you for the information and make sure they make it available up front.

I am going to be resilient.

This year I am going to spend some time on me. I’m going to block out time in my calendar once a week to do planning work and reviewing all the information so I can make strong decisions. I’m going to find a mentor, and I’m going to draw on their experience and their outside view of situations to provide insights that I don’t have.

I am going to be resilient.

This year I accept that I am a good person with a great set of skills. I accept that I must use the skills of others to my (and their) advantage by delegating. I accept that I must show strength and unity but that I must be truthful. I accept that I have a responsibility to tell people when they have done wrong so that they have a chance to do right. I accept I have to have difficult conversations and deal with people who will be angry/upset/annoyed at what I say, but only because it is the truth.

I am going to be resilient.

I am resilient.

Photo by {Guerrilla Futures | Jason Tester}

Depression is not sadness

People who have never lived with depression, or lived with someone who has depression, can sometimes misunderstand what it means to have depression and how it affects people. Depression is equated with sadness and from that viewpoint the concept that a good ol’ “Cheer up, buddy” or “Snap out of it” will solve everything seems perfectly logical. Alas as someone who has lived with depression (technically Dysthymia) I can assure you that is akin to considering having a leg cut off as merely a flesh wound.

In my lived experience, depression is like having a faulty rechargeable battery. Some days the battery is up to 100% charge first thing in the morning and yet two hours later it’s at 3% and in need of a recharge. Other days it starts at 60% and to get through the whole day the charge level has to be managed, eeked out over many hours. It isn’t a perfect analogy but it works for me at least at this point in time. There is the Spoon Theory which is probably a better way of putting it.

Then there is the feeling of total emptiness. It is as if the barrel that contains all of your emotional wealth has holes in the bottom that allow it to drain away without you noticing. You plug the holes one by one until the barrel starts filling again but it’s never completely fixed. There is always a little leak somewhere.

The thing is to try and keep enough energy to keep your eye on the ball and notice when the barrel is leaking. It’s a hard balance. It doesn’t help when you are using your spoons to keep on top of your emotions and mental space and you have less (or none) left for other things (food/money/relationships). Something will always fall by the wayside.

So the next time you hear that someone is depressed, remember it is s whole lot more complicated than feeling sad.

Photo by Hamed Parham