A new year typically brings excitement for many people in terms of what’s to come. For me, January has been a challenging month, because I’ve been dealing with depression. During 2013, I was fortunate to not have many depressive episodes. The ones that I did experience were mild and not as deep as they have been in the past. This in part is due to my meds finally being “just right.”
For me, when I get depressed, I feel exhausted, and it takes every bit of energy to do the simplest of things. Getting up, showering, and going to work become extremely hard. Even doing simple household chores become a struggle. As a result, my condo becomes messy, and things that need to get done (dishes, laundry, grocery shopping, etc.) start to pile up. I then feel overwhelmed which, in turn, triggers anxiety. Beyond feeling exhausted, I also start to eat a lot of carbs. Bread, in particular. I also eat more of my favorite meals and desserts. Unfortunately, though, these comfort foods don’t end up lifting my mood. Another sign that I’m depressed is that I sleep a ton. I usually go into work a half hour or 45 minutes past my usual time and leave right at 5:00pm. Or I’ll work from home. If I work from home, I try to do as much as I can during business hours and then make up what I wasn’t able to do during the day, in the evenings, or on the weekends so that I don’t fall too far behind. In the past, I’ve even had to take time off of work. Over the course of five years or so, I’ve done that three times, but each time, I’ve taken a week off under my psychiatrist’s supervision so that I’ve always had a doctor’s note to give my employers.
Another sign of depression for me is that I start to feel helpless and hopeless. I start to feel like I’m not stable enough to maintain a full-time job and handle the responsibilities, demands, and stress that come with it. During those times, I immediately think of my “go-to” plan, which is to move in with my mom in the suburbs. She’s divorced, has never remarried, and lives by herself. That plan includes renting out my condo—fully furnished so that I won’t have to move anything—and then work a simple retail job in the ‘burbs to pay my bills and rent to my mom. I’ve never carried out that plan, and I’m sure I won’t ever have to, but that’s how hopeless and helpless I get…to the point where I think I can’t handle things on my own.
So, how am I going to deal with this depression? Well, I’m going to continue doing what I can to keep myself healthy and to eliminate as much stress in my life as possible. I’m also going to rely on my support system–my friends and family—and ask for help when I need it. In addition, I’m going to continue to take my meds…see my therapist (weekly, if needed)…start using my light therapy box in the morning (which I haven’t used in a number of years)…pray during my darkest times…and attend the spiritual center that I belong to here in Chicago that helps me stay centered, in the present moment, and at peace. Those are among other things like trying to eat healthy, exercise, etc.
As much as this depression sucks, and as painful as it can be, I know it will get better.
This, too, shall pass. It always does.
Love and light,