I first learned of Jane McGonigal while listening to NPR.
Now, I’m a BIG fan of TED Talks. And NPR. I read self-help books. For fun! However, I’m NOT a gamer. I get bored easily. I have the attention span of a humming bird.
And…I struggle—daily—with depression.
My symptoms go up and down like a roller coaster. Sometimes, I feel like I’m plummeting down into a gaping hole. I have days when I don’t want to get out of bed. My responsibilities and family are the things that keep me grounded. Other times, I feel okay. Happy. Good. My life isn’t perfect, but I feel like I can accomplish my goals.
Right now, I’m going through a good period/phase. I’ve been feeling good for the last few weeks, which is HUGE. When I’m at the top of my emotional roller coaster, I do everything I can to hold onto that feeling. I don’t want to go plummeting back down. I try to eat better. I try to move more. I try to do whatever I can to take care of myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s so much easier to make little adjustments to keep my brain on an even keel, but once I get caught back into depression’s quicksand, it’s hard to climb back out again.
This morning, I decided to try Jane McGonigal’s online game, SuperBetter. Today’s quests were about honesty and truth, about getting out of your comfort zone and taking risks. So…this is me, getting out of my comfort zone.
Admitting that I struggle with depression is HARD. Really hard. I don’t think anyone WANTS to admit that they don’t have their life together. It’s scary. I worry about how I’ll be perceived. I worry that family or friends will read my posts, shake their heads, and judge me. It’s no fun to admit that you’re broken. Everyone fails. Everyone falls down. Everyone makes mistakes. But when I’m wallowing in the wreckage of one of my depressive episodes, I feel like I’m the only one who has ever felt the way I do, like I’m all alone. A special snowflake. When I’m feeling good again, I can see things much more clearly. I know that my family and friends only want what’s best for me. I’m grateful for that.
Journaling through my feelings, either privately, or online has helped a great deal. Sometimes it’s nice to drop the facade, even if it’s only for a moment.
“How’re you doing?”
“Fine,” I’ll answer.
But I’m lying. I’m lying with a smile on my face. I’m not nearly as “fine” as I probably should be. Today, I’m “fine.” I hope to be “fine” in the future. I want to be “fine” for as long as I can. It’s a lot of work pretending to be “fine,” going through the motions.
My inner critic is my enemy. It tells me that my self-worth is conditional. It lies to me. I lie to myself. It tells me that if I complete a laundry list of to dos, perhaps I “might” be worthy.
On a good day, like today, I can read one of the SuperBetter challenges, give myself a hug, and say, “Yes! It’s not what I do; It’s who I am.” Today, this feels true, because it IS true. “I am already awesome,” is written on an electronic sticky note on my computer’s start up screen, another SuperBetter quest/challenge. I want this statement to feel real. I want this game to give me a boost, to help me feel better longer. I hate the emotional yo-yo, up and down. I want to stay better, maybe even “Super Better.”