Depression is Like a Monkey in Your Mind


Your difficult moods have a gift for you: They will make the good days stand out.


How are you today, how is your mood?

The trouble with moods are that they can move up and down faster than the Stock Market after a new President takes over.

The trouble with moods are that they can move up and down faster than the Stock Market after a new President takes over.

Moods are unpredictable

I don’t know how you do it, but a long time ago we consulted with a professional money manager. We set goals, we regularly invest new money and we get regular statements. Then we meet with our investment advisor every six months. We review the graphs and try to make sense of the markets in light of new Presidents, international events and our future. We face the challenge of investing despite an uncertain future and we continuously review and revise our plan.

Your moods have also been with you for a long time. You can recall that a long time ago, you checked in with someone about your moods. You have some goals, you try to improve and you continue to invest new energy in yourself and in your objectives. You check in with yourself once in a while and hope that things are going well. New Presidents, international events and your future come and you try to do your best to navigate an uncertain future. You adjust your plan, hoping that you will continue to feel confident and move forward.

For most of us, moods are just background noise. We feel good most days and the moods don’t last very long. But for some of us, the moods are bigger and more influential.

Depression and the monkey in your mind

Imagine that your investment portfolio was managed by a monkey named Douggie. Douggie is pretty simple. He likes bananas. He likes the flashing lights of the computer screen when the graphs move up and down. And he likes you, especially when you scratch him behind the ear. He means well, but he has no real strategy. He can’t follow through on your plans because the language he understands is made of urges that include bananas, ear scratches and bright lights. You like to check in with him, but you find it pretty difficult to spend more than a few minutes with him because his attention span is shorter than a Superbowl commercial.

We all have a monkey in our mind. For some of us, our monkey is just harder to contain. That is what it is like inside of my head. Most days, my moods are be happy and content, but sometimes Douggie gets loose. Thoughts bang around my head and my moods move up and down like a stock market graph.  Gloom settles in. Then the panic revisits.

The thing about moods is that we all know that they will fall and if they fall, they will eventually move back up again. 18 months ago I was in the middle of one of the most difficult mental health experiences of my life. I have moved on from that time and for the past year I have been mostly symptom free. I have learned a great deal from my experience.

Get to know your monkey, because he is here to stay

But I know that Douggie the monkey is never far away. He and I are on a first name basis these days. We are at peace and I am told that he is in remission. It is great to have my life back and to be able to focus and improve myself. But Douggie can be unpredictable. That is just the way that Douggie likes things. You can’t cage him up.

The depression may be in remission, but the reality is that you cannot cage up your moods. As much as I love feeling good, the depression is and will continue to revisit me. It is different than it was, but it will never be too far away. I am learning that being at peace with Douggie is a difficult thing.

Douggie doesn’t always play nice. Because he is unpredictable, you cannot allow him to be in charge. You may not want to, or be able to fire him. He may always be an advisor, but he is not in charge of things.

Depression and unpredictable moods don’t always play nice. They make life a challenge, but they also make the good days stand out.

Depression and unpredictable moods don’t always play nice. They make life a challenge, but they also make the good days stand out. But the moods get worse when you let them get away from you and they take over. One of the most important things I have learned is to not panic when my moods change. I continue to consult my doctor, see my therapist, practice good self-care, go to work and love my family.

If you ask me how I am today, I will say that Douggie is back. He is loose, and he will always be wild. But he is not in charge anymore.

If you enjoyed this article, please check out some of my other writing:

Seven Words that Will Change How You View Mental Health

Why is Your Good Better than Your Best?

How do You Accept Your Depression Without Surrendering to it?

I write articles about wellness, leadership, parenting and personal growth. My hope is to deliver the best content I can to inspire, to inform and to entertain. Sign up for my blog if you want to receive the latest and best of my writing. If you like what I have to say, please share my work with your friends.

Lastly, if you like my writing, you can click here to vote for my page on Psych Central’s list of mental health blogs.

Keep it Real

Previously published by smswaby in the Good Men Project

Photo by shwethashankar

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