Archive for the 'depression' Category

December Dysfunction

As many of you know, I struggle at times with chronic recurring cycles of depression. It is mostly well-controlled with medication, self-care and amazing, supportive friends. Winter, with its gloom, curtailed physical activity and the holiday season seems to be a bit of a challenge some years – and it is this year. Stupid neurochemistry!

I thought it would be a good time to post a reminder – and an accountability statement for myself – of what constitutes good self care for me, when stress & depression roll in.

  • Exercise. Daily if possible. Getting outside in the natural light earlier in the day is a bonus! I enjoy walking outside and swimming laps, but my gap between desire and effectiveness leaves something to be, well, desired.

  • Stay in touch with people. Make myself accountable to friends, get out of the house to work in the office, and make a point to see friends and family in person.
  • Eat healthy and get enough sleep. This is again, obvious, but a diet of toast, tea and macaroni and cheese isn’t all that good for the frame of mind or waistline. And sleep? I need to at least climb in bed and make myself available for sleep at a reasonable hour.
  • Do nice things for myself. I need to remember to do pleasurable, satisfying things for myself a couple of times a week to combat the persistent anhedonia — get a pedicure, pick up flowers, read a fun book, listen to good music, have a decent meal.
  • Participate in creative activities. For me, creativity is an antidote to depression. It helps me express what I’m feeling and the tangible results are very satisfying. Writing, quilting, beading, metalsmithing, photography and web design all make me happy.
  • Manage my attitude. This is easier said than done, but maintaining an awareness of my attitude and self-talk and focusing on what’s positive helps so much. This is why I started my December daily gratitude posts.
  • Meditate, daily. With or without a yoga practice beforehand. ;) It’s such an effective stress and anxiety management technique — it’s just difficult to make a priority with my overscheduled, hurried, productivity-oriented mindset.

What do you do to manage stress, depression & anxiety in your life?
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Previous posts on the subject – note the predominantly midwinter timeframe – are:

Winter Gloom – January 2010
Depression Take II – June 2009
Living with Depression – January 2008
Frame of Mind – December 2007

Posted on Monday, December 13th, 2010 by Jeri
Under: depression | 2 Comments »

Lost Dreams

Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.
      ~Thoreau

A friend and I have been talking about understanding and supporting each other with our priorities, our needs, and our lives in transition.

My challenge is that I no longer have any clue what I want in life.

My personality type is such that I focus on the practical details to avoid dealing with messy feelings and dreams and mood swings. It does make me a decent project manager.

Practically, I’m focusing on getting the rather overwhelming details of my life straightened out – my old house painted, re-carpeted & sold, my eldest launched into independent life, my finances stabilized, my job figured out with manageable work-life balance.

I will admit that I have been depressed lately – seasonal? – and the manifestation is my lack of effectiveness in some of those same details of life – fitness, personal habits, financial discipline, housekeeping, etc.

But at a higher level, what do I want emotionally? Spiritually?

Sadly, since Iosing Bryan and focusing so much on survival mode, I don’t even remember how to dream or know what I want from life anymore. I know what I do not want: loneliness, strife, depression, overwhelming demands. I really have no interest in remarrying, climbing the corporate ladder any further, or amassing wealth or things.

A friend invited me to participate in a small group doing an online “Soul Restoration Workshop” put on by the Brave Girls Club. It has kind of a journaling/art therapy/personal exploration focus, and the idea of creative restoration really resonates with me. Maybe I can find or rediscover some of my dreams.

I am happiest when I have big enthusiasms in my life – whether art, fitness, friends, service, learning, even work. I used to have that passion; I hope to find it again.

Posted on Tuesday, December 7th, 2010 by Jeri
Under: depression, inspiration | 3 Comments »