Depression is here again

Landscape Winter Snow

Image by blmiers2 via Flickr

I know that you look at me, but the me inside, you never see. I appear to have it all together. But I feel as frozen as the view outside.

The battle I fight comes from within. I have to admit that depression is here again. Every winter I get stuck.

Because I need money, I need to work. I work from home so no one knows I have not changed my clothes in a few days. I make my own schedule, so no one knows it is taking me 4 hours to do a 1 hour task, and I only bill for the 1 hour.

Because I want my kids to be happy, I force myself to drive them places. I say hello to other parents, then drift back into the background to avoid annoying, strenuous conversations. No one knows I have dirty clothes, under my winter coat, or no socks in my boots.

I am actually happy. And I smile real smiles. My depression now does not make me sad or suicidal anymore like in years past. For this I am grateful. Each year gets better.

I am so tired. So confused. So scatterbrained. So unorganized.

To get one task done, takes all my energy, and I forget about the others. I wash some dishes, then take a rest. I pay a bill, then forget to sign kids homework folders. I prepare a lesson plan, and forget to wash laundry.

I have not vacuumed in weeks. Pretty sure weeks. The dust bunnies in the corners have grown fangs.

I have no idea where everyone’s clothes are. Husband is helping get clothes in the wash, but no one folds or puts it away, so every day we dig through baskets. or buy a new pack of socks.

I have the constant feeling I have forgotten something – and I usually have. It takes me 3 trips to get the little shopping list done. I can’t concentrate to cross things off, even when I have the list in front of me I still forget to go down the correct aisle.

I don’t know where my mind goes, it just isn’t present. I am not stuck in old memories, or worrying about the future. I am not sad or anxious. Just frustrated. I don’t think any thoughts are happening. Like my brain is mushy molasses, and the thoughts happen individually, trudging through the muck. Eventually they get to the right place.

I have to plan ahead to shower and take care of myself. And then somehow hours are lost in the process.

Everything takes me too long, like I am in slow motion and the world keeps going.

I wanted to avoid it this year, but it got me anyway, despite my defenses of light therapy, exercise, vitamins, talk therapy. What else can I do?

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12 thoughts on “Depression is here again

  1. You can talk about it, for one. I have found that I have to crawl out of it in increments. Maybe on Monday I make a deal with myself that by Thursday I will take a shower, because let’s face it, once we actually make it into the shower, we do feel better afterward. If I give myself a few days to get there, sometimes it relieves some of the pressure. It can be hard to turn off that voice in our head that tells us how ridiculous it is that simply washing a few dishes or taking a shower seems overwhelming, but beating ourselves up about it doesn’t help us break the grip of the depression.

    One other thing I’ve tried that sometimes works is to pick just ONE thing that I simply have to do by a certain (time, date). For instance, on Monday I might say that before the end of the day, I am not allowed to avoid vacuuming today, no matter what. I can either hurry up and get it over with now, or I can wait until the minutes before I’m getting ready for bed, but one way or another, I agree to vacuum. Sometimes I’ll even break it down into a smaller increment, saying I will vacuum only the bedroom carpet, but usually once I start vacuuming in the bedroom, I will manage to do the whole house. Just crossing over that mental and psychological threshold is the challenge.

    You know this will eventually pass. One day you’ll realize you actually were able to do two or three things, and that will make you feel a little more confident and accomplished. Then you will build on that. Today you managed to write an honest blog post about your struggle with lethargy and depression and the mental confusion that usually accompanies those symptoms. Maybe tomorrow you’ll be able to take some energy from this post, and use it to cook a meal, or fire up the vacuum, and get in the shower and give yourself a fighting chance.

    I went almost a week without a shower, and finally got a shower yesterday, and it helped. My hair is clean. I feel better when my hair is clean. It gave me the energy to actually go out of the house. I was headed to the grocery store, and even though I pulled up to the store and sat in my car a while, and never managed to go inside, I did stop and get sodas on the way home, so I took a tiny step instead of a big step. If I hadn’t taken my shower, I doubt I would have managed to go outside the house, so I had to be okay with calling that a victory. No, I didn’t make it to the grocery store, but at least I did manage to get out of the house. That counts for something.

    It’s a lot harder when you have other people to take care of … I’m at that point in my life that it’s only me, so it doesn’t matter as much if I have a string of bad days. Hang in there, and use what energy you can summon to do those things that require your participation, and maybe, before the end of the day, you’ll even manage to talk yourself into getting in the shower. One step at a time, sister. Keep going.

    • Yes that sounds like what I do. Break everything down to baby steps, justget moving, do something, and more usually follows on its own. Never actually stop and stagnate, or depression wins and you don’t get back up at all. The shower thing is always my sign I am slipping down, as I don’t decide not to take care of myself, just notice finally, hmm, this is the same clothes I wore to take kid school tuesday, and now it is thursday kind of thing.

      I am a musician, and had a performance last night. I wanted to go, and yet it took me forever to get started, to just get out of bed and dressed. I was 30 min late to rehearsal, but I made it. The other musicians and dancers are so wonderful and accepting. They don’t know about my past or even my present depression.They just thought I was tired, and I did not elaborate. But I am so happy I went. I made a lot of people happy, including myself last night. I supported a friend on an important day, her museum opening. We performed for the crowd at her opening. She was afraid no one would come, and over the 2 hrs, we had over 400 people come and go. The stand around and chat part is excruciating, but it is worth it to get to the performance part. As soon as I start playing the music, I feel no longer tired, I feel alive and perfect, and then the applause makes me almost cry, explode with joy.

  2. I’ve lived with depression my whole life. It was a healthier choice than the rage. Reading, it sounds like you’ve successfully risen above despair, which is huge. So give yourself credit for making it out of that black pit. The most dangerous time isn’t when someone is rock bottom. It’s when they’ve started the journey upward and figure they should be doing a lot better and aren’t improving as fast as they’d like. My sister and I have talked about this, a lot. We go walking every Saturday morning, even when we don’t feel good. We allow each other the option of keeping the walk short, but we go to the park. When my depression is severe, I resort to my sister’s mantra: I can make it through anything for the next five minutes. I added: I survived it through the nightmare of my childhood, so I can make it through this. Anything you do is a victory.

    Remember that January is a tough month for a lot of people, so you aren’t weird or unusual. A lot of people are struggling. You are not alone. I know January is going to be difficult, every year. I don’t beat myself up over the fact. Instead, I see it as an opportunity to be my most critical with myself. What am I still doing that I really don’t like? Like eating badly, not exercising faithfully. For me, I know February is going to worse. Really. Valentine’s Day is horrendous, no matter how I try to find other ways to celebrate me, being single. I’ve stopped beating myself up over it. I let myself be sad. Oddly enough, by giving myself permission it isn’t quite as difficult.

    I find music helps, but I have to remind myself to turn it on and listen. I’ll read a favorite book that always lifts me. It sounds like you have some good plans in place. There is no magic single thing that will make everything better, as you know. It’s a lot of little things. Life ebbs and flows. Some days, my goal was to simply make it through. I felt like I spent a lot of years that way. There was a period in my sister’s life when she could only be up for 15 minutes a day, and she had to decide what really mattered. Showering and cleaning house wasn’t even on the short list. For myself, I find that praying for others is helpful. When I feel so helpless, it’s something I can do no matter how lousy I feel. Some people aren’t comfortable with it, but others really appreciate it when I tell them I’m praying for them. I want to be a blessing. If I mess up the whole day, but manage to be a blessing to one person, it’s a successful day. You’re going to make it through.

    • Yes I like that mantra. My depression is not so severe right now, but I have been there for sure. It’s so great you have your sister. I don’t have anyone except my therapist, and now this blog, that seems to truly understand. My husband tries, but he is emotionally simple, never had depression or even anxiety. He just bumbles along contentedly. (sometimes I hate him for that, but realize we’d never still be together if he wasn’t)

      And yes, music! Crank it up real loud! Or I play it myself. I perform as a musician, even on my worst days I can manage to get myself up and out to rehearse and play. I tend not to linger long after the performance, where everyone drinks and talks, not up to that part.

      Valentine’s Day is terrible for most people I think. It’s makes me sad too, as I know my husband is not romantic and not to expect anything. I used to lavish him with songs, poems, romantic plans, but I have given up, as my efforts were not well recieved, and certainly never returned. Some times I dream that there is someone out there for me, that really would connect to the real me. But until then, my husband is a very good man and tries very hard.

  3. What you’re going through seems hundred times worse than what I went through. Be strong! I’m sure a time will come when you will feel strong enough to overcome the depression. I really admire what you’re doing for your family in spite of your problems. God bless you!

  4. I suspect you have ADD and certainly fit the description of the Inattentive ADD and the Limbic ADD. Have you ever been tested? If not, can you get tested? If you are ADD and start the medication for ADD you will see an incredible difference in your head. The meds don’t take away the real you, it just allows the fog to clear long enough to get those responsibilities done.

    • I feel like there could be an ADD component. I have been discussing this with my therapist. I am not ready to try any meds yet, but I certainly won’t rule that out completely. We are working on some other strategies.

  5. I’m sorry to hear what you’re going through, but all I can say is taking baby steps is the best towards a more positive outlook…that way, you’re not setting yourself up for failure. I wish you peace, contentment and a healthy attitude and life…thank you also, for visiting my site. I’m glad you enjoyed and I look forward to following your journey~
    Lauren

    • Thanks for reading my blog. I’m generally a positive person. Really. Just I do struggle with depression, and winter it really hits me and frustrates me. This blog is where I deal with the things I usually don’t share. It helps me release pent up feelings and gain perspective from other bloggers who have been there.

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