Checking Out Before Check Out – Despair Versus Hope
By Lynn Silva
At one point in my life, I had to stop checking out…giving up…wallowing in self pity. I was so ill,physically and emotionally, that I spent my days in bed. A typical day consisted of waking up, watching television, eating and sleeping. One day, something hit me hard and fast. I had already checked out. How had I gotten here? More importantly, how was I going to pull myself out of this despair? I had just plain checked out of my life. Quite literally, I was waiting to die! There is an abundance of information on pulling out of depression. What I wanted, however, is information on what to STOP doing. Below are some examples of what I stopped doing in order to diversify and multiply physically, emotionally and financially.
The Brush Off: Stop disengaging from family members! My kids would come home and tell me exuberant stories of their adventures at school. I would sit quietly looking them dead in the eye and wait for them to finish. Then I would quietly say, “That’s great Honey, now go do your homework.” Before they even finished their stories, I had already checked out.
THE ACTION: I made an effort to force myself to listen, encourage and respond.
The Woe is Me: Stop saying, “I’m too sick…old…fat…ugly…dumb…!” Being physically ill and getting depressed about it does NOT mean it is time to check out! I realized that there are many sick…old…fat…ugly…dumb people who are out there living very happy lives.
THE ACTION: Accept or change. I accepted I was sick. I accepted my age. I started working out. I changed my hair. I started studying my illness and continued in college.
The ‘Who cares how I look’: For some reason, the very act of making myself presentable seemed impossible. I had already checked out, so no purpose in making myself pretty. I did not even care how I looked, or smelled for that matter!
THE ACTION: Get dressed, do my hair and do my makeup first thing!
The ‘Nobody cares anyway’: Why should they when it was obvious I did not care about myself? Face it, I had checked out already, so why in the world would anyone want to ‘check me out?
THE ACTION: Show genuine interest and concern in others.
The ‘I have no life’: (Because I’m too busy feeling sorry for myself!) “Depressed people are directionless because they are under committed to goals. Without goals to drive future behavior, current behavior becomes frozen for long periods.”  I remember reading an article with this sentence and the words echoed in my head.
THE ACTION: Get a life! Find a passion! Set some goals!
Are you at a place in life where you check out? When I STOPPED disengaging, accepted myself, took pride in my appearance and started caring about what other people were doing…I GOT MY LIFE BACK! Five things. I promise you, it really is easier than it appears. If I can do it, you can do it.
STOP checking out before you hit the check out line!
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If you or someone you know has ‘checked out’ you can find local resources at http://www.medicinenet.com/depression/city.htm.
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 Why Do Depressed People Lie in Bed; Bed days; Published on June 3, 2011 by Jonathan Rottenberg, Ph.D.; PsychologyToday.com