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Release Me: Depression and Loss of Control

What is the biggest depression-related hurdle to accomplishing your goals in your everyday life? Every person has a different answer to that question, as major depressive disorder (MDD) is intensely personal and varies from individual to individual. And this answer oftentimes changes as years go by and treatment progresses.

A loss of control with depression

My answer has remained constant ever since I received my official diagnosis in 2021: a loss of control. This loss of control is incredibly broad and applies to numerous parts of my life, but they all affect me the same way. Losing control of any part of my life sends me into an MDD spiral that is difficult to break.

It's an ongoing trigger

As I've gotten older, I've learned that there are many factors in life that we don't have control over. Things like professor feedback, friendships, relationships, roommate troubles, even the environment in which I studied had the potential to slip away from me and become this ugly MDD monster that wanted to drag me down.

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There is a clear and distinct pattern. Losing control of part of my life leads me to tighten my hold over other parts, which then slip loose. In the worst episodes, the spiral causes such a loss of control that even basic chores become impossible.

Leaving a job and losing my social circle

I am, unfortunately, in one of those spirals at the moment. I lost control of my ability to succeed at work, which subsequently led to me leaving that position.

As I recovered, my social circle shrank, and I found myself unable to find suitable work or positive social interactions. Now, I am trying to overcome seemingly impossible hurdles in order to leave my home and do basic cleaning.

Why does losing control do this to me?

The hardest part of it all is that I know I should be able to release control without collapsing. I just haven't figured that part out yet. It is one of my personal recovery goals to find that switch, to ease up on the gas without slamming the brakes.

My mom always says that little Michael wanted a crystal ball to see what my future should be, and how to get there. As an adult, I know now that that desire isn't realistic in any way, shape, or form. That certainly doesn't stop the control-spiral from forming, but rather makes it very easy to needlessly criticize myself about it.

Being self-critical with depression

The struggle between the self-critical and the kind internal dialogues rears its ugly head whenever I share my heart. What is the point of beating myself up for beating myself up? It sounds quite silly when put like that, but the question remains with every spiral.

How do I reset myself to my last save point, to break the spiral and learn to breathe again?

Taking back what I can control

That process looks different for everyone. I know my process eventually will involve rebuilding my support system that has fallen to the wayside. I will learn from the mistakes I made during this spiral. I will find ways to ease the regrets I hold, apologize to the people I hurt. Perhaps most importantly, I will find a way to forgive myself again.

As for starting the reset process? If you find out how, please, let me know. We could all use the help.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.