TW Depression, Anxiety
For several reasons, life has been heavy recently. As per usual, when life gets heavy, my brain does what it does best: retreat into a dark corner leaving me depressed and hardly functioning!
The past 3 weeks have seen me spending way too much time in bed, having way too hard a time focusing at work, and consuming way too much caffeine. With everything going on, it was hard to do pretty much everything besides consume lattes and play Cozy Grove.
I let my life fall apart around me…but on the bright side, my Cozy Grove island is immaculate.
Now that I’m working my way back out of this depressive episode, I’m dealing with the aftermath it left in its wake. As it turns out, when your brain forces you to completely detach from life, there are some things to catch up on when you get back!
Uncertainty is metabolically expensive
Yes, I read this in a tweet. Yes, my therapist agrees that this is how my brain works. Yes, I’ve posted this line on a blog post before. Yes, I’ve considered getting it tattooed on my forehead.
Like Starbursts, I am a bit of a contradiction. I really hate being tied down and inhibited by a forced routine, but I also don’t get anything done without a routine. My brain simply thrives best when there are clear expectations and a planned schedule (that my rebel personality is constantly tempted to break — I’m telling you, I’m a walking contradiction). Once one thing is removed from my routine, the rest of it becomes completely unbalanced.
As I’m sure you can imagine, depression tends to really mess with my schedule. Spending more time in bed means getting to work later and not going to yoga while also getting behind and stressed out at work until I’m working nights and weekends to keep up. My schedule became so topsy-turvy that I didn’t know which way was up.
Now, I have scheduled monthly hangouts with my best friends and set working hours at my in-person job. I’m starting to get back to having that routine that I really need to be productive. Soon, I’ll add yoga back into the mix, but (happy) baby steps for now.
Hi-ho hi-ho, it’s off to work I go
As of right now, I am a contract worker who sets my own hours. As someone who loves to play Cozy Grove in the morning, this is great! As someone who struggles with motivation and discipline, this can be challenging. It happens to be especially challenging when I can’t focus on anything for longer than a few minutes and feel incapable of leaving my bed.
For the past 3 weeks, I’ve been procrastinating more than usual and haven’t been able to come up with the creative ideas that usually come (at least somewhat) easily for me. Hell, even this blog post was written down to the wire.
After 3 weeks of struggling to come up with ideas and focus, now I need to catch up on work for my current contracts while also adding in new contracts.
Adding in new things
As anyone familiar with Mas-Leo’s Hierarchy of Needs can attest, I struggle to take on new projects unless I’m in one of the top rungs. With an already erratic schedule and difficulty completing my current obligations, adding in new things feels nearly impossible. While my brain is starting to allow me to function normally again, it’s slow going. It’s hard to bring everything back at once; it’s easier to incorporate things back one at a time. Unfortunately, that’s impossible when I have new things starting up right as I’m beginning to do things again. While I try to incorporate all of my normal day-to-day responsibilities, I’ve also had to incorporate a whole set of new ones, which feels impossible. As of right now, I’m caught in a cycle of motivation, lack of focus, overwhelm, and defeat. It’s time to kick it into high gear, stat.
While I was deep in my depressive episode, I slept very well. The sleep that I got during this episode was the best sleep that I’ve gotten in a while. I think that this was a combination of depression knocking me out while also keeping the anxiety at bay. Back when I was depressed, I was so low on Mas-Leo’s Hierarchy of Needs that the higher-level functioning that anxiety requires wasn’t possible. The apathy that I felt didn’t leave any room for feelings of anxiety.
Now that the depression is waning, the anxiety is once again rearing its ugly head. I am now back to worrying about everything constantly, especially in the middle of the night. On one hand, I guess it’s a good thing that the depression is fading. On the other hand, I could do without the anxiety keeping me up with needless worrying.
Oh and that “other hand” has at least two bandages on it since the anxiety is making me bite my fingers again…seriously, typing on my phone with my right hand is practically impossible right now.
The great restocking
When I’m depressed, I primarily stick to snacks. I don’t have the energy to prepare food on any level, so most meals are pastries or chips. Since I was too depressed to be bothered to even heat cheese on nacho chips, I just stopped stocking the house with foods that I like to make so they wouldn’t go bad while I stared longingly at them and stuffed my face full of pretzels. I knew that I wouldn’t have the energy to add honey and granola to yogurt and cut up an apple or make an egg scramble with spinach and tomatoes, so I just didn’t get any of those things. Now, as I get my energy back and want to actually, you know, eat meals, I need to realistically start stocking back up on the things I like to make.
Reprioritization? Deprioritization? Hell if I know
Surprisingly, I was able to keep up with my writing better when I was deep in depression that I am now. Previously, I was able to keep up with my blog posts and Aaron’s Sunday Scribblings posts fairly easily. The past two weeks, however, have been a struggle. Even though so many other things in my life were cast aside, I was still able to get lots of writing done, which is really odd if you ask me.
Because of this, I’ve decided to declare the Sunday Scribblings posts collateral in The Aftermath. As I reprioritize other things like work and eating full, balanced meals (as well as getting back to editing and finalizing the book!), I haven’t been able to do them. Will I do it this week? Your guess is as good as mine, but I’d like to get back to them soon!
I hate creating a post like this without adding some silver linings, and it does seem as though there are some. A few weeks ago, I told my boss that with all of the bad things going on to me and those around me, I felt as though I must be bad luck. She told me not to say that because I wasn’t and saying I was could bring about more bad luck.
That night, someone in the restaurant where we were having dinner almost choked to death and needed the Heimlich performed on them. Yeah, I’ve really been batting 1000.
The following week, when I told my boss (right after she mentioned how she knew someone whose grandmother had been ill but had made a miraculous recovery), she said that I was wrong. I wasn’t bad luck. All of the bad things happening seemed to miraculously get better. The more that I talk to people these past few weeks, the more that I see that’s true. Everyone seems to have a tragedy that simply ends with a miracle.
So that’s what I wish for all of us this week (and, you know, ongoing, preferably): miracles, miracles, and more miracles. I hope that any bad things that happen to you all end miraculously…or that they don’t happen at all…that would be good!