How's that working for you?

At 29 years old, I'd been battling depression on and off for years, though I'd not been formally diagnosed at that point. 

I managed to get out of bed every day, and take a shower and brush my teeth. I didn't function at a high level, but I showed up for life. I had periods of melancholy that sometimes lasted for two weeks; sometimes for two months. All along though, I kept showing up and doing the bare minimum.

But I struggled to maintain any type of focus. In my twenties I started and left two different graduate programs in two different fields. I told myself that the reasons were external - life was getting in the way, I wasn't a good enough writer, I didn't like New Mexico, where I was pursuing my MFA.

You tell yourself a lot of things when you're depressed.

You tell yourself a lot of things when you're afraid of change. 

Analysis paralysis is an interesting phenomenon. You spend your days thinking and overthinking a situation. And it's addicting because you can feel fooled into feeling like your analysis is action. In my case, I was working with a trusted therapist, which was an important part of my treatment process - but I thought it was enough to just talk about my life - to pick up rocks and look underneath them. 

Finally one day my therapist asked if I would consider taking medication for my depression. 

No, I said. I'm managing. 

"And how's that working for you?"

It wasn't a complicated question. I hemmed and hawed. "I'm managing," I said, again. 

"And how is that working for you?"

"It's not." 

The words came out of my mouth before I could filter them. I was stunned by my own admission. I'd just admitted that my approach wasn't working. 

And that opened the door for me to make the change I needed. In the case of treating my depression, it meant trying medication, which was a difficult process in and of itself. You try one, and four weeks later find it's not working, so you try another. Eventually, I found the right one, and I believe for me, the medication helped get me to a better, more focused place. Within six months, I'd quit my job, moved from Pennsylvania to Boston, and within a year, I'd enrolled in a graduate program that was the right fit for me.

And I finished it.

How's that working for you?

For me this question highlighted what wasn't working for me. But it might also highlight what IS working for you.

I started eliminating screen time for two hours leading up to bed. 

How's that working for you?

Great! I find that I'm falling asleep faster than I did before that.

Maybe it's good. Maybe it's not. But either way, the question is worth asking, whether it's about nutrition, or fitness, or some other aspect of your life.