Spring break up is here, bringing black ice, snow melt, and 15-hours of daylight. I’m finally shaking off the seasonal depression and have packed my happy lamp away.
Which means it’s time to assess the damage depression has done.
We sometimes think of depression solely in terms of emotional damage. People focus on lost happiness, lost relationships, lost time… but there’s a very physical toll to depression. The lethargy and the fight to survive a period of depression means that the physical body is neglected most of the time. This results in either unhealthy weight loss or unhealthy weight gain, loss of muscle mass, loss of routine. And those things matter.
For me, it’s very stressful looking at what I’m left with physically after a bought of depression. Last fall – before the seasonal depression hit – I was walking a couple miles several times a week, my only major dislocation problems were on my right leg, and I was inching closer to my goal weight. Winter hit, I survived, but the physical toll is severely damaged ribs that have been subluxing and dislocating almost daily since December, loss of shoulder stability, and my sedentary habits of winter have led to weight gain even while I was trying to eat healthy. That’s depressing all on it’s own.
There’s also the psychological toll of depression, which for me looks like higher susceptibility to stress, anxiety, and negative self-talk.
So, while Alaska is shaking off the last chill of winter, I’m looking to take back control of my life from depression. I want to shake off the lingering ills of winter and move forward with more focus.
One of the things that I do fairly regularly when not dealing with depression is yoga and meditation. For whatever reason, when I hit a depressive state I lose me-time very early on. The depression tells me I’m selfish to take time away from work and family and friends for quiet time. There’s an overwhelming guilt that always accompanies my depression, and it always becomes this crippling belief that nothing I do will ever be enough.
Depression looks different for everyone, and so recovery will look different for everyone, but for me I need to bring back the element of control to my life. I need barriers between work and home. It’s so easy to let the two lives stream together when you work from home, but it isn’t exactly healthy. At least not for me.
I need to find an end of day for work. I need specified times for writing and editing for myself and editing for clients. I need time for my kids, time for my husband, and time for myself.
But not time for dishes, because I have kids and they are old enough to clean house without me. We all have our hard limits, and that’s mine. 🙂
Obviously this is a struggle-point for me. I’m not good at managing my time and making time for myself. This is step one: setting a goal. Feel free to follow-up with me throughout the week and see if I’m actually taking time off from work.
This is the first step of recovery: recognizing the problem and making a plan to address the problem.
Wish me luck!