Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Nature of Depression

Ok, so that last post was a downer.  I warned you.  Sorry.

Want something that will make you smile?  My cat is chasing the letters on my computer screen while I type.  Pretty darn cute, right there. :)  He chases my mouse too.  I made a YouTube video about it. :)

Here are some things that make me smile.

Counting my blessings and the Lord's tender mercies in my life.
Like when my kitten came home after a day and a half being completely gone and I thought I'd never see him again.
Or like a friend who brings me an entire meal plus some when all I asked for was a box of macaroni meat mix stuff that she was getting  rid of.
Or like my family going out for a laugh a couple days after the reunion and how I was able to take off that little bit of work in order to do it.
So when our bank account is low, or when our microwave breaks, our tire goes flat, or our clothes washer starts whining, all I need to do is count my blessings.

Another thing that makes me smile?  Getting a better routine to go by and so I get things done.
"Get things done" means I don't neglect myself, the kids, or my house.  Something in each place gets addressed.
So I started doing just that.  I scheduled a type of exercise for each day of the week: Dancing, biking, yoga, or jogging.  So far so good.  I danced with the kids to Hal Palmer yesterday and today I did yoga.  Sweet.
Other must haves on my schedule: Non electronic game time with the kids (cards, boardgames, strategy and teamwork games, etc.), a focus room for chores (today it was the porch, yesterday was my bedroom, but I ended up focusing more on the basement/toyroom), laundry every other day helps.  Just that kind of organization.
Why does this make me happy?
Because if I don't schedule it, I don't do anything.  I have passed days laying around in my robe doing the bare minimum, which means making sure my kids don't destroy the house or kill each other.
Because I have depression.

Having depression is something I haven't acknowledged as "having depression" for...well, never.  I always want to say I'm in charge of how I feel.  I want to say I choose my feelings.  Because that's what I want to do.  I want to be in charge of my own feelings and be responsible for them.  I don't like blaming my feelings on anything else outside of myself.  But it's just not true.  In spite of everything I try, sometimes I still just feel like crying and have to fake a smile.  That's just how it is.  And I can't often explain it or find any reason for it.  It just is.

I didn't realize this until I was discussing introvert/extrovert tendencies with my family.  They talked about how extroverts feed off the energy of other people and so they get lonely easy and have to go be with people.  Introverts feed off their alone time.  It doesn't mean they don't want to be around people, but they can get overwhelmed because they have to be alone for a while to fill up their buckets, so-to-speak.  During the discussion, I found myself asking the question: But what if you feel alone when you are with a group of people?

No one really answered at first and then my brother told me that was the nature of his depression and why he's sort of become a hermit because he can't handle that kind of loneliness.  At least when he's alone he can explain why he's lonely.  I found that very sad.  But I could understand him completely.

And that was my first step in acknowledging my depression.  I like to take St Johns Wart for it.  I took it when I had the baby blues after my last pregnancy, and when I had my miscarriage it helped too.  So I've started that up again and I will look into using essential oils for it as well.  I'm sort of inching away from medicine (I know there is a place for it, so don't judge me.).

But as I've given myself a schedule and started to try to practice positive thinking, counting my blessings, and finding things to be grateful for every day, I feel like the fog is lifting again.  In a way, I am in control.  I just have to catch myself when I feel like something is bogging me down, before I'm left feeling like the tears are about to spill, or I escape to some form of media distraction to keep my mind off life altogether.

I hate that in the past this is what I've done.  Movies, tv, and for a while internet was my go-to escape route.  But because I did that I missed out on my life.  I missed out on the more important things, like my kids and my days.  Because they are mine.  No one else's.  When I lose myself in media, I'm trying to live in someone elses life and it's a tragic way to live.  It's not living at all.

So this is what I'm going to do.  I'm going to do my best to live, acknowledge the issues at hand but pull myself out of the negative thinking fast.  Today I started to tell myself "It's going to be ok.  Everything is going to be fine.  It will be fine."  I had to say it a few times out loud before I believed it and my breathing got easier.  And then it felt like the sun came out on my troubles.  I still don't know if my troubles are fixed or solved and I know my troubles are far from over, but it feels much better realizing the world will not end because of them.


  1. Love you babe!

  2. Dani, I don't know what to say. I applaud your honesty. Depression is real & it is hard. I love your plan. I think you are a strong, wonderful, capable woman who is doing beautifully. Keep going. Something to add, recall specific times you've felt God's love.. You are so loved.