When we expand our sense of time, we can create a hopeful future for ourselves.
In studying extremely depressed people, those with suicidal thoughts, there was a commonality. They had no vision for their future. Their sense of time was distorted. They could only see what was right in front of them and right behind them. They were filled with worry and obsession about what happened in the past and what was happening now. While they were feeling awful, they couldn’t see a way beyond the terrible thoughts or feelings they were having in the moment.
When asked where they saw themselves the next day, the next month, the next year, they answered “I have no idea.”
The depressed group couldn’t see who they, as individuals, were going to be years from now. It was like their future had disappeared. Their only sense of time was the pain and darkness they were currently experiencing.
Extremely depressed people lose their sense of time and their idea of a stable future. When we are feeling depressed or down, we think that we don’t have a future.
When depressed, we feel that we have no control over our lives. We isolate ourselves, we blame ourselves, we let the voice in our heads tell us that life has no meaning and there are no reasons to try.
We don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. We don’t see a way out.
When we are depressed, we may live in a constant state of anxiety that is fueled by this feeling that nothing is going to change. We lose all hope that we can expand our sense of time and get past our current drama. We go to our jobs and have the feeling that we may get fired at a moment’s notice. If we are in a relationship, we think that every disagreement means that the person is going to leave us. We can only see what is right in front of us, in these depressed moments. We lose our sense of time because we can’t see past today.
Healthy people may feel like crap some days, but they know it isn’t forever. They have a sense that it is only temporary.
Getting past our pain and understanding that it is temporary and not forever is the key to start feeling like things can get better.
If we spend our energy thinking about where we want to be a month, a year, or 10 years from now instead of focusing on what we don’t have today, we expand our sense of time by asking ourselves:
Feeling depressed doesn’t mean we are crazy. We aren’t broken. We aren’t defective.
Our societal expectations and norms show that everything is sunshine, perfect, and blissfully happy all of the time. Social media doesn’t help. People only post the good stuff. They could be dying on the inside, behind closed doors, but you wouldn’t even know.
We have to be careful with social media when we are feeling bad. It’s best to stay away.
Expanding our sense of time means looking forward to the future, past our present circumstances.
So tell us in the comments below, how are you going to expand your sense of time today?