Expectation ManagementTo my compatriots in the battle against Depression....
I just thought of a couple of my Favorite Slogans for Life that have been key to my battle. The first one I learned from a counselor who sort of sent me on my way after several years of counseling. He said to me....
"You will be just fine if you remember always to manage your expectations"
The other Slogan is the well known Serenity Prayer....
God, grant me the Serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
To change the things I can
And The Wisdom
To Know the Difference.
This is at the core of so much unhappiness for so many. So many of us have a deep abiding sense that somehow we have been cheated because our friends, our parents, our family or the world at large doesn't treat us right. But if you step back and ask yourself...."Why do I expect (a certain thing)"....we can begin to put a balm on our pain.
Expectations are built over time ba
Depression comes from intense chronic sadness, not a sense of Wellbeing. Assuming that the Chronic Sadness is not rooted in any deep biological dysfunction requiring medication, it may spring from an Unhealthy Expectation, For instance, the Expectation that I can keep acting in the same way but expecting different results. Or the Expectation that people we love should not die. Or the Expectation that a spouse who has come to be unremittingly abusive is going to change into a loving spouse. Any of these or hundreds of other Expectations about our situation are simply "wrong thinking" and must be identified as such and then "managed" into a "right thinking" alternative. This will bring us to a Healthy Expectation which promotes wellbeing. For instance, we may need to see and expect that the only way to get a different result is to do something different (take medicine, go out in the sun, call a friend and talk). We need to expect that death of a loved on is a sad but a normal part of life leading us to happier thoughts about the one who left us. And the abuse we suffer will not stop unless we love ourselves enough to protect ourselves.
This is how I have managed my depression. The meds have helped a lot but getting the rest of the way to healthy has required me to always monitor my expectations. I try always to see the flaw in my thinking....what I can change (usually my behavior or the Future) and what I cannot change (usually others behavior or the Past). And I remain prepared to adopt a new point of view leading to a new Healthy Expectation and Future Wellbeing.
For me, it really is just this simple......and....just that difficult.