This post is about focusing on the present as best as one can.
One problem many people with depression and bipolar struggle with is hopelessness about the future. It can be irrational, but often attaches itself to real world events. It’s a kind of inflationary problem; it takes real world concerns and balloons them up to an absurd size.
One subject of my recent hopelessness–actually, one that I’ve had for going on 10 years now–is my work. In short, I hate my job. I don’t like to whine. I’m luck to have a job. Last year I lost my job and didn’t have steady work for almost a year. As the only income earner for my family, that was a difficult time.
But still, even while I appreciate my job, I still hate it. I feel that I made some important mistakes years ago by falling into my line of work. Trouble is that when you get on a particular career path, it is difficult to switch course. And since I’m still the only bread winner, it’s even more difficult.
So what should I try to remember? How does a depressed person keep a realistic, and not pessimistic, view of the future?
One important fact is that my wife will hopefully be getting a professional license soon and can go back to work after a long period as a homemaker. Of course, the job market is terrible and it will likely take her a while. But I trust her abilities and know she will be persistent. And we are looking for something for her in the interim.
Another fact that I try to remember is that I am a capable person. It’s so hard to believe this, though, deep down. One consequence of my depression and dissatisfaction with my job is that I feel that I’m incompetent. So I try to remember times when I excelled at my job. The flip side is that my bipolar affects my ability to do my work. I get depressed, distracted; I make stupid mistakes. It will be a challenge. There’s the “realistic” thinking. Not overly optimistic, not pessimistic.
So if I am capable, though, I may be able to make the transition to another job. I just have to be persistent. When my wife begins working, I can afford to look for something that pays less but that I enjoy.
It’s a struggle. That’s why I have to try to keep my focus on the present.