Wednesday, August 9, 2017


I've often noticed that when I go through a particularly dark mood, I go through all sorts of irrational thought processes.  As I come out of it, as I always do eventually, I look back with a sense of perspective and objectivity.  I can see how irrational I was being, interpreting things in awful ways, coming to even worse conclusions.

We often underestimate just how potent it can be, to be lost in the midst of delusion.  I've been wary of this my whole life, and yet, can only really see past it, from a safe distance.  What really gets me is that if my "safe distance" is really just another delusion, I'd be no more capable of realizing it, than I was of realizing the delusions of deep depression.  From the perspective of depression, feeling better seems pointless, hollow, but neither is really wrong, per se.  Just different.

There's a clear cognitive bias, to wanting to believe that it's more real, when I'm not so depressed.  A great relief in finding ways of thinking that aren't painful.  If my current state of mind involves a more pleasant brain chemistry, I'd sure like to think that it's what's real.  I'm just not sure there's much reason to conclude that's actually true.  Most people believe all sorts of crazy things, and often seem to think very little about the complex layers of causality that really drive everything.

As I finished my first cup of coffee this morning, my daily self-diagnostics were not looking good.  Going for my usual run felt out of the question.  Not because I was all that miserable, but critically unmotivated.  I know this feeling well, and it sounds a lot easier to get over than it is.  In the midst of that state, there was no getting over it.

Few hours later, I began to realize I felt all sweaty and unpleasant, and that a shower would probably be a good idea.  As I moved to do that, I figured it would probably make sense to run first, then shower.  Not to be reductive, and might have been coincidence, but sweating is a side effect of increasing cortisol levels.  A more primary function being how it factors into motivation.

So, out of the blue, I was all sweaty and motivated, and it got me moving.  Was I delusional before, thinking that I couldn't move?  Or did my endocrine system finally kick into gear the way it's supposed to?  If that is the real culprit, is it delusion to blame distorted thinking and bad feelings?  Is it delusion to blame delusion?

There are almost certainly elements of both, and the flawed thinking would not be believing in either one, but in disbelieving in the other.  A sort of delusion that seems quite common to me.

1 comment:

Anna Pittala said...

I think the delusion I get caught up in is that we are supposed to be happy all the time. Life is not like that. It is filled with pain and happiness. Holding on during the dark parts until they pass is the definitely the hardest part. Stopping the train of thoughts that fall into the ruts in my mind is the battle. It can be real work to derail them. I have sometimes found working on an arts and crafts project or spending time in the yard can help push me past it. It can get me out of my head. Sometimes the" mud" is too thick and I just have to wait for it to pass or listen to some metal and "purge the demons". Sometimes listening to some loud metal and embracing the angst can help it pass for me.