Reframing

I recently came across an article about high-functioning depression. I won't bother linking as the piece itself isn't the important part, just the concept. I'm familiar with high-functioning autistics - we have one in our house - but wasn't aware that high-functioning depression was a term that even existed.

It makes sense. I suppose I am one myself as I am able to go to work and, largely, keep up my relationships. Doing so, however, is frequently exhausting, taking everything I have just to make it through the day.

Many wouldn't know from observing me that I was experiencing mental health issues.

During a recent discussion my wife said to me "I don't think you're depressed, just fed up, because you care too much."

There have certainly been times when I haven't cared, when I have almost given up, but I don't feel that caring precludes you from suffering such problems. Caring, in my opinion, is your route out, not the evidence that you have already escaped.

Yes, I am fed up, about a number of things including work and the feeling of being trapped due to financial pressures associated with that work. And I get fed up with myself.

Perhaps it is all in the framing.

Negative thought cycles are one of my biggest issues, if not the biggest, but what if reframing my thoughts is a way out?

I am using my daily log to force a positive retrospection on each day, reframing it so as not to dwell on the negatives. It isn't about being more observant but being better at recording and remembering the observations I do have. Getting lost in a funk, being disinterested in things, means that my memory suffers. Badly. I'm terrible at recalling so much and then judge myself harshly for having forgotten it. It's a negative spiral I could start to unwind by being a little more mindful, a little more present, a little more positive.

And that will, hopefully, instead begin a positive spiral; the more I recall the happier I will be about remembering it and so on.

I may not be able to completely reframe depression itself but by reframing my time and attention I'll be on the right path.

  1. vasta says: #
    @colinwalker Great post. As someone who has high-functioning depression (as part of my bipolar diagnosis), reframing is not just a tool for understanding my mental illness, but a strategy I use in my daily life to cope with stressors and anxiety. Good luck on your journey of refraiming.
  2. colinwalker says: #
    @vasta Thanks Sameer. Indeed, I can’t exactly reframe the condition but I can certainly reframe my reactions and responses and how I feel about things. In that sense it’s very much aligned with the Stoic ideals (not worrying about what I can’t control, only my response to it) so I need to ensure I’m dealing with things in a healthier way.

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