Last night I had the privilege of taking photos of our local high school football game under the lights.
It was a game where everything was working for them, and they had the game at 45-0 by half time. In the second half, you could tell that the visitors were demoralized, and they played that way. The final score was 69-0 for the good guys, extending their win streak to four games.
While I am proud of the way the kids played, it made me think about the visitors, and on another level the feeling of defeat that they had to have.
One of the local coaches commented after the game that his team “dominated and demoralized” the opposition. I would say that the comment was accurate.
Depression can feel a lot like how the visitors had to feel last night. For me, it’s a looming sense of defeat. It can feel like an overwhelming mass that is crushing you. It can make you want to give up.
To their credit the visitors did put in a solid effort for the full game, but they were never able to gain the momentum to make a come back. They played defensively trying to keep the home guys from piling on more points. Their self confidence was gone by the half.
Self-confidence and mental health go hand in hand. When mental health is low, self-confidence tends to crash as well, which further reduces mental health, turning into a self defeating loop feeding off of itself.
I know the kids played hard. The home team just played better. The more the visitors got scored on, the bigger the mountain they faced, the more that they defeated themselves.
I know I’ve been there myself. I’ve been in situations where I felt overwhelmed by emotion. I’ve set myself up to fail because I didn’t think I could succeed, and I believe that is what happened last night after the home team piled on the points.
The self-defeating behavior is one of the hardest behaviors to change in those struggling with mental health issues. I know I still struggle with it.
Looking at my calendar of upcoming events, I’m feeling overwhelmed myself. I’m asking myself that with everything I have done in the last few weeks, I can I keep this going?
I have no easy answer. All I can do is keep putting one foot in front of another. I can push my limits, and when it comes time, hit the brakes and recover.
Depression can be a lot like the lopsided score from last night. It can seem to be like a huge mountain blocking in our path.
The thing is, mountains can be climbed by us if we don’t defeat ourselves.