Today is a coping day with regards to my depression. I’m still trying to figure this thing out, but I came to the realization that what I have accomplished thus far today is because I have many tools I’ve incorporated into my life to cope with the depression. Things that I was doing before I was diagnosed, before I acknowledged the feelings that were eating away inside me were more than just stress, or not enough sleep, or too-high expectations, or any number of other things I attributed it to.
And I know depression is different for everyone. Me – I don’t have suicidal thoughts, or thoughts of self-harm, or worthlessness; I tend towards guilt, and not having the drive or energy to do things that I know (intellectually) that I want to and would enjoy doing. I just don’t care enough. I feel like internally I am railing and pulling against a straight jacket, and I just want to pull free, and scream out my rage – how dare you try to pin me down, to hold me back!
This morning I woke up and took my anti-depressant. As I was making tea I took stock of myself and acknowledged I was feeling down. I hoped the little bundle of science I’d ingested would help. It has, a little.
But I still feel on the verge of tears – though I am also removed from that, and able to analyze it and say “Nothing in my immediate surroundings is causing that feeling – it must be the depression.”
So I try to fight it. Try to cope. Try to get through the day feeling inexplicably down, when I just want to go home and eat comfort food and curl up with an indulgent book or fluff movie and not think about anything of significance.
Tools I’ve employed so far today to help me cope, to help trick myself into not wallowing.
- Follow set routine items (even easier since I’ve started awarding myself points for these)
- Get in the car and go to work, anyway
- Acknowledge publicly (in this case social media) that I am feeling down, and I know it’s the depression (putting the name on it helps)
- Take walks during my breaks
- Listen to music – favorite songs in the car or on my walk where I can belt out along with it, up-beat/silly Pandora station while I work (“Weird Al” anyone?)
- Take note of how I’m feeling throughout the day (to help the next time I talk to my doctor – we’re still working out medication levels)
- Daydream about leaving work, and just doing nothing
- Daydream about the things I want to do that aren’t work (make something, go shopping, go to a park) that may make me feel better
- Celebrate each task I get done – and break jobs down into smaller tasks, so I can get to the “I accomplished something” point sooner
- Eat a healthy lunch (leftover spinach and fruit salad from yesterday)
- Walk to convenience store and allow myself a comfort-food indulgence (ice cream and soda)
- Try to step back and analyze what I am feeling
- Talk about how I am feeling to others
- Daydream about hugs
- NOT checking how much sick leave I have, because if I do, I’ll be tempted to go home sick for the rest of the day, because mental health is health
Okay, so some of those things are, I don’t know, not really active, just me distracting myself, but I’ve found that to be important too.
And as I go on, I am less and less coherent – apparently I have spent my “analyze-things” portion of my brain power on keeping tabs on how I’m feeling. I’m going to let it get back to it’s job.