When Choices Are Not So Simple

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2013 Nancy Virden

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Making choices is the key to managing moods. To some, this statement is common sense, as I used to think it is. Then it was me who faced Major Depression for the fourth time and now making choices is a skill I endeavor to gain.

Choices are simple when certain factors are in place. (1) Enjoying one option above the other (2) Knowing how to make the best decision and take action (3) Being psychologically able to choose what is right for you.

When I think of the three women held in bondage in Cleveland all these years,  I know they each made a choice to go in a car with their captor.  Why would they make such a mistake? I assume catching a ride was a more enjoyable thought than continuing to walk or calling a relative for a pick up.  

We have all been in that place where we do not know how to make the better decision. Perhaps we lack information, or have not been taught how to say no.  Without knowledge, the best decisions will remain elusive. It is evident then, is it not, that a healthy and productive choice is to seek wise counsel? Books on my helpful resources page are an effective place to start.

Major depression can temporarily interfere with one’s rational thinking. Just as no one would say to these rescued women, “Shake it off, all is good now,” it is not appropriate to assume the majorly depressed person can snap out of it, get up and function normally, or make quality decisions without some struggle.

I recall a young dad who in the depths of a depressive episode. He did not want to act like his father, yet did anyway. “Just stop” did not help him or his son at all.  

I observed that he did not know of any options. He lacked parenting skills because he had not been taught. In the state of mind he was in, he was not capable of easy change. It took therapy, ideas from other group members, and time for this man to become more of who he wanted to be. It wasn’t simple, it was complicated and difficult.

That is how some choices are. 

****NOTE: I am not a trained or licensed mental health professional. I am not a doctor. I speak only from my experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

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