I say ’survive’, because I really don’t think it’s living…It had been a process of enlightenment to even acknowledge that I struggle with depression…but this fall, I’ve been struggling even more than usual and I had to realize, this was more than a bad day. I find when loss and grief collide, it is more difficult to cope with life. Maybe it’s because I’ve been listening to podcasts a lot in the last few months where the host and guest talk openly about mental illness, maybe it’s because these are now buzz words, but it really is helping me to think through my own struggle. Right now I’m trying to work out the best things for me to do on days when depression hits me the hardest. Here are a few things that people have suggested, and things that I have tried that help me survive the darkest days.
Take A Shower & Get Dressed:
It sounds simple, but even when I’m not depressed, if I get up and get dressed, I find myself much more productive and motivated. I make sure to wash and dress on dark days. It helps me feel a little bit more “normal”.
I’m not very good about exercising on a good day, but even 15 minutes with my favorite Pilates DVD helps the blues dissipate and a little sun shine poke through.
Setting A Schedule:
On the darkest days, motivation is a bad word to me. So I start by setting my schedule. I found a great template on Pinterest that has the day listed in half hours and I can write in what I want to do every 30 minutes. I pick a few house hold chores, or a section of the house that I want to have picked up and cleaned by the end of the day. Then I decide what school work I need my kids to have completed by the end of the day. (Homeschool mom) And I look at my businesses to decided what I NEED to accomplish before the end of the day. I realize that I won’t get as much done on dark days than on brighter days. So, I give myself a lot of grace. Then I really push myself to take the FIRST STEP to actually Do what I planned on the schedule. That keeps me off the couch, and as I get a few things done, I find the motivation to face the rest of the day.
I don’t take anything at the moment, although several friends and family members have told me it would really help me. For now, I’m taking some vitamin D supplements. It helps offset the fact that the sun doesn’t shine in western Pennsylvania in the winter.
Connecting with friends is REALLY hard for me, having four littles, some of whom still take naps, and some of whom are working on school, and having a car that is unreliable, and living in a place where people don’t like to come because it’s such a long drive from their homes, and everyone’s extra curricular activities, and the never ending slew of stomach bugs and colds that forever plague us… BUT, I do try to make a point of connecting with friends on a monthly basis. If I can schedule a play date at least ONCE a month, we are doing pretty well. And I always feel much better after having spent a morning or afternoon hanging out with good friends.
It’s not a cure all, end all solution, but it’s how I survive… for now…