So like many people I know, I have a large range of ups and downs. I have discussed this with a doctor. According to him I’m within normal range, if on the higher end of things. I do not do anything harmful or majorly self-destructive. Please note this is my experience, and if you have depression, please check with your doctor to make sure you’re safe :)
Anyway last night I felt a shift. I’ve had a few lower stress days, but my life hasn’t really changed, just my perception of how to live. I don’t know if I can explain it but I went from feeling overwhelmed and incapable to What can I do right now to make things better?
I can tell when I have a break through, as opposed to trying to give myself a pep talk because I flossed. YES, I should floss every day, but my barometer for how depressed I am is if I floss. When I get to the point that I don’t care, and too tired, or just don’t feel like flossing then I know I’m sinking and I do my best to be gentle with myself.
So last night I flossed, yay! And then this morning I exercised, another important tool in keeping my mood even. I’m hoping going to bed early will come next.
My focus for managing my depression is sleep, diet, and exercise.
Sleep is usually the first one to go under the guise of reading a book so good I can’t put it down, never mind that it’s a book I’ve read before.
Exercise? Now this one is tricky because even when I’m depressed, I will go to the gym with my friend. It helps temporarily, but it is the daily exercise and the willingness to do it in my home without anyone that lets me know when I’m feeling more stable. This morning I did a ten minute dance quickie, Hula Hoop for one song (I’m just starting out), and then did some yoga. I love yoga. I’m never sure why I don’t make time for it every day, but depression isn’t logical and it can take away things we enjoy.
This was not extensive, hard-core exercise—this was moving my body in ways I enjoy, getting blood pumping, and opening myself up. I feel better, and even if I don’t go to the gym, those few minutes will sustain me for the day.
Food? Now I am extremely lucky. My hubby does the grocery shopping, makes me breakfast, and my daughter makes dinner. This means when I get depressed and want to eat crappy food I have to go out of my way to get it, and when I’m depressed I don’t want to leave the house.
“But you could order in,” you say. And you’re right I could, but with my food allergies, even that is limited, unless I want to have migraines and curl in bed for days with painful stomach cramps. IF I WAS WILLING TO DO THAT TO MYSELF I WOULD SEEK MEDICAL HELP FOR MY DEPRESSION.
I used to fight these times of depression. My inner thoughts would become vicious and ugly, and I would ask myself why I couldn’t just suck it up. I’ve learned this makes things worse and once I recognize what is happening and can be gentle with myself, I don’t sink as deep and I don’t stay depressed as long.
I feel that now that I know myself better, I am stable for longer periods of time. A huge turning point for me, which just happened, isn’t about creating the perfect routine. My life isn’t that stable—things change too quickly and in ways I can’t control. So I now do my best to focus on What can I do today? How can I take care of myself right now?
Some days it will be yummy salads, hitting the gym, writing 2000 words, and spending time with my family. Other days it will be five minutes of yoga stretches, crackers and hummus while I do paperwork, and reading while a child fitfully sleeps between throwing up until 2am.
How can you tell you’re sinking into a depressed cycle? What do you do to help yourself out of it?