We all have our little ways of coping with stress and depression. I think there’s some kind of buzzword for them: Short-term energy-relieving behaviour, or something like that. Some of us even recognise them for what they are, and notice when we’ve slipped into them. The problem is, short term energy release just feels so damn good.
When I was younger and didn’t understand my depression or what was happening to me I had some of the standard responses to feeling bad. I’d want to run, to scream, to throw myself against walls. I’d want to hurt myself for the release I’d feel. It didn’t take me long to figure out that these weren’t good things. It took me longer to stop doing them, though. It’s hard to stop things that make you feel better, even if you know they’re not helpful in the long run.
As time went by I decided to do something about these behaviours. So what did I do? Did I stop and try to see *why* I was acting tis way? Did I go for the root cause and try to fix it? No. I tried to change the behaviour.
And I succeeded.
So now, when I’m feeling down or bad or sad, or I’m trying not to think about something, I clean. I think I’ve mentioned that before here. I clean and I scrub and I tackle all the grimy jobs in the hopes that I can somehow prove to myself how useful I am. And it helps.
So now I’m trying not to think about things. I’m trying to distract myself. I’ve cleaned in a friend’s house, I’ve cleaned in my house, I’ve cleaned in the college society rooms… today I’m probably going to clean back at the family home. And I feel great. I feel like I’ve achieved so much. I feel like I’m really worth something. But I don’t want to stop, because if I stop I have to think again, and then all those good feelings will drain away.
I know this isn’t really helping. I know it’s just putting off the inevitable. But right now, when I’m cleaning and shining and making everything better… right now it’s wonderful.
That’s the problem with bad habits, you see.
They feel so good.