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I want to write about depression. Does me wanting to write about depression have anything to do with Robin Williams’ death, I don’t know. Maybe it’s a coincidence or maybe by almost avoiding reading anything about him dying is simply a symptom of his death’s effect on me. But, this really isn’t about him. I want to write about my depression. So, despite my blog calendar having a different topic for today and despite the fact there are no less than 20 other drafts I could work on, I’m going to write about my depression today. And by today, I do mean quite literally today.
See, I’m struggling with my depression. In fact, I’ve struggled with it throughout most of my life, as most anyone with depression does. Often when the pressure gets to be too much, when my expectations are running high, when there’s been a big fall, and when I’ve become a bit less engaged than normal, or even when I’ve overextended myself, I start to get depressed. Depression can be quite tricky for me, as the symptoms often present themselves in a different order. Sometimes I’m much more agitated and snappy. Sometimes I just want to lay down or run away over just about anything. Sometimes I’m simply unmotivated to do the simplest of tasks. Sometimes I want to cry all the time over everything, but often I don’t so I’m even more angry and agitated. Sometimes I only want to be alone, no thinking or doing involved, just lying around, not eating, not bathing, not doing anything.
Usually all of these symptoms eventually happen, it’s just a matter of their order. By the time I fully recognize that I’m hitting one of those times, I’m more often than not already doing most of the above. I guess the good thing is that now, I do recognize my depressive symptoms sooner than I once did and I at least begin addressing them.
For instance, today I’m writing about being in the beginning stages of a depressive episode in the hopes that it won’t grip me as much today as it did yesterday. I’m also only going to address only one household business task today. The rest of the day I’m going to take steps to care for myself. I’m going to return a friends’ call from last week, I’m going to do some art, take a nice long shower (with prayers Baby Boy sleeps through me showering) and I’m not going to engage much in social media. I’ll probably even take Baby Boy outside for a bit of sun as well. I know I’ve been missing sun, as it’s been rainy and gray for a week. And, yes, the weather being gray coupled with other stressors, definitely plays a part in my mood. Nonetheless, that’s my plan of action today.
And already, I feel accomplished. Much more accomplished than I felt yesterday or even in the last few days. Having this seemingly simple list of activities which all center around caring for myself helps me to feel accomplished because I know I’m doing something. Although often doing something is almost like the antithesis of being depressed, doing something is also how I work myself free from the grips of depression. Besides, the more engaged I am in caring for myself, the less likely the thoughts and subsequent feelings are likely to be present and alive feeding on one another.
In other words, I won’t be seeing every little thing that doesn’t go well and only those things, I won’t be telling myself how terrible I am at being a mother, I won’t be talking about how awful I am at managing the household, I won’t be in the throes of feeling like I’m doing everything on my own, I won’t be judging myself based on someone’s exterior presence, I won’t be comparing my life today to the memories of my life in the past, I won’t be catastrophizing, I won’t be stuck in the what-ifs and the can’t-s and the hopelessness all those thoughts and feelings create for me. Most importantly, I won’t be snapping at both Baby Boy and Hun over nothing and everything all at once.
By focusing on myself, I’m freeing myself from thinking of the things that are stressful, the expectations of knowing, being, and doing it all, the frustration of working within the confines of whatever it is I’m facing. By focusing on myself, I can allow myself to relax a bit, I can free myself from the idea of perfection and walk into grace. By focusing on myself, I can be more present with Baby Boy, I can engage with his laughter and play, I can once again delight in the joy that is him. I can go back to actually living my life, instead of working on internal check-boxes written in sand while trying to keep all the grains of that sand together.
These are my goals today. Maybe they sound a bit high, that’s likely because in their own way, they are. For me though, today, they’re not all that high. I don’t have a to-do list I’m trying to check things off of. I’m not anticipating any business calls with good information. I’m not struggling within the systems or structure of any household business task. I’m not relying on information from or about others today. I’m not even putting myself in a place to think about much of anything. What I am doing is allowing myself to be free of thoughts and pressures. Those very thoughts and pressures are what has piled up.
Things have piled up to a point where they’ve begun to be unmanageable. And when things are unmanageable I want to control them, but my lack of control over life and life’s events feeds a cycle of expectation and anxiety, then there’s the stringent rules, which all feeds the lack of control, which feeds the negative thoughts and the seeking for more control and on and on and on.
So, to all my blogging friends and anyone else who happens across this post today. Thank you for being there and thank you for understanding. I needed to get this out and on ‘paper’ today. I’m glad each and every one of you are here. I’m glad I’ve written my truth for the day, thank you for listening.