I am pretending that I don’t have a headache, that I haven’t been lying on the couch for over an hour with an ice pack on my head, cursing every living thing, pill, or cure that isn’t helping me feel better. I really don’t feel strong enough to write a blog post but sometimes that’s the best we can do. In writing about my recovery from depression, I’m doing the same thing. My depression is far from over and if you heard the constant self-defeating thoughts that circle my brain you would not believe that I can sit down and put a positive spin on it for my few readers. One of my self-defeating thoughts tells me that I’m a fraud. That I’m no trained professional and that I think about suicide far too often to tell anyone how to get through anything. Maybe that’s true, but maybe, just maybe, I am turning myself into someone stronger by pretending to be strong.
We start our lives off by pretending. Kids copy what they see their parents do in order to learn about the world. I used to have this little play kitchen that came with plastic food and utensils and my mom made me a little red apron to wear while I “cooked.” I would serve meals for my stuffed animals and I felt like a chef. Twenty years later I live off of tuna sandwiches and raw veggies more than I should, but I do cook simple things for myself on the stove. If you’d looked at me as a little kid you could have thought, “Good God, never let this person near a stove or she’s going to burn the house down,” but as I grew up I had to learn how to cook for myself out of necessity. It’s probably a good thing that I’m only cooking for myself at this point because I still burn my food and sometimes forget to turn the oven off, but once I do have someone else in my life to cook for, I feel confident that by then I will be able to cook a good meal. Practice makes perfect, right?
I’m not the queen of being strong; I cry pretty much every single day. It is good and healthy to feel your feelings and accept where you are, but for five minutes a day try pretending the opposite. I’m a toddler pretending to be a stronger version of myself when I write. I’m still learning but for a short period I get to practice what I hope to master some day: being a strong person. Maybe one reader out there feels my strength, if only for a moment. That means I’m getting to where I want and need to be.
And guess what? My headache has lessened. It’s still there but pretending it was better in order for me to write this post helped it get better on its own.
What do you need to try to pretend? Start today, if only for a few moments. We crawl before we walk, and we walk before we run. One step at a time.