Archive for the ‘Taking Care Of Me’ Category
March 8th, 2013
It happened again.
I had another several weeks of depression. It always seems to come around a time when I had hoped to start blogging again. So I don’t, because it’s just going to be day after day of the same thing.
- I’m extremely overwhelmed by everyday tasks.
- I find basic housework dreadful and energy sapping. It is a gigantic weight on my shoulders.
- It seems like clutter is piling and piling and it is severely oppressing me. (Though in reality it’s being managed – it isn’t growing.)
- I cry every day.
- My brain is in a continual fog and I cannot write.
- I can’t imagine ever accomplishing anything creative and “meaningful” with my life.
- I’m short tempered with my husband, my mother, and my toddler.
- I cry more because I feel like a terrible mother. (And daughter; and wife…. And sister; and friend.)
But I’ve continued to exercise a few days a week despite this and I’ve learned that that is the most essential piece to my mental health.
At my lowest these past several weeks, exercise didn’t make me feel any better and just sapped my energy. But I did it anyway.
Most of the time though, it makes my entire day better.
- I’ve started to feel those endorphins that my husband is always talking about.
- I think it helps with the insomnia and with quieting my intrusive negative thoughts.
- It makes me feel more relaxed and less overwhelmed about the chores and the clutter.
- I am able to adopt that healing attitude that life is not a race.
- I accept that my life is not currently designed around deadlines and social engagements.
- It doesn’t matter if I finally get the Christmas decorations that are sitting in a pile in my office put away downstairs this week or next week – or here is a crazy though – ever.
It doesn’t matter.
Exercise makes me more confident. I feel more secure about the state of my home – take me as I am world! I feel more at home in my own body. I feel better about my creative ideas. I feel like there will be time to make my ideas come to life. My thoughts aren’t such a jumble that I feel hopeless that I will ever accomplish anything creative or fulfilling again.
Because of exercise I believe I can weather this storm and arrive again in another season of creating, growing, and improving my life.
Oh, in case you are wondering, the reason I am even able to fit exercise into my life at all with winter weather and a toddler, is the new Gold’s Gym in town. Like the Stroller Fitness class I was invited to when Sebastian was 10 weeks old, and where I met my best friend in town, it has saved me.
I love the classes! I love the protein shakes! I love the childcare room!
I love meeting my good friend there and working hard together while our children play together. I love running into just about everyone I know there. I was never a big “gym” person until I tried this one. No joke, I thank the universe for bringing a Gold’s Gym to my small town.
August 9th, 2012
(I wrote this two days ago and it took this long to get it posted.)
It is plum hard to blog while a toddler, just shy of twenty months old, is awake.
Ditto when packing all one’s possessions into boxes and moving them across town, just to have to get them all out of the boxes and into some kind of order.
And it got sooooo crazy at the end of the packing. All of the boxes are scrambled – and the unpacking is not working out at all like I had hoped.
And do you know just how irritating it is when you thought your toddler was going to take a nap, to let you finally write! – and finally break this cycle of blog silence – but he just won’t?!
So you pack him into the car – in which instantly falls asleep – except now you have to waste this nap because you really need to run the couple of errands that you were going to do later after he woke up. So now, out of sheer stubbornness, instead of going directly to your errands, you’re sitting in a taco restaurant (Panchero’s, which we used to frequent in Iowa City, how crazy is that? It’s not a very big restaurant chain but there’s one in this small Colorado town) typing on your laptop, while your toddler sleeps in his car seat in the booth across from you, because you don’t want to waste the precious time he’s asleep on errands, because you don’t want to give up the idea that today you are finally going to post something again, darn it! (Seriously, I haven’t taken my laptop out with me in months.) And then you notice you forgot to put your wedding bands back on after you put on lotion this morning. Ick! Don’t you hate that eerie feeling of having your bare ring finger out in public?
Whew! It’s been rough. It’s been rough because I really, really want to be blogging. But this boy is just so demanding of my time. I am not going to plop him in front of the TV just so I can blog. (Though it is tempting.) But man, I hate wasting his nap on errands when I could be using it for me time.
Yeah, so that’s where I’m at these days. If I’m not blogging, you know why.
Here is a picture I took this morning after breakfast.
This happened to his hair all on its own. We put him into the stroller and went for a run and that’s what he looked like when we took him out. The picture does not do the hairdo justice. And do you know how difficult it is to get a toddler to pose for a photo now that he knows he can instantly see it on your camera phone? I have countless blurry photos of him running at me with a big grin on his face while I’m shouting “No! No! No! Stay there! Stay there!”
He is at a delightful age though. (Even if he sent me from calm and this-is-going-to-be-a-good-day-finally to irritated-beyond-belief when he popped up in his crib for the umpteenth time and I realized that my plans were going to be foiled again.) He is starting to try out more and more words, parroting back things that we say. Tim and I had a laugh-attack last night when I was asking him to say words, “Can you say mama? Can you say daddy? Can you say car-car? Can you say doggie? Can you say car keys? (He does, ever so cutely – with a velar fricative to make a linguist’s knees buckle.) Can you say coconut?”
And for coconut he suddenly made up a really convoluted sign with his hand. And he repeated it again and again while we asked him to say “coconut” while sharing a good belly laugh. Losing our breath a little – but trying to downplay it so he wouldn’t get worried we were laughing at him.
I know it’s not funny, really, to anyone but us. (And you really had to be there.) But that bizarre invention of a sign, for no reason, from my child – that is the kind of moment that manages to ease the irritation of my day-to-day and the realization that I’ve given up all notion of free, or me-, time for the next decade or so.
Here are a couple more pics from our photo shoot today.
March 6th, 2012
Recently, I found myself in the midst of some very blue days.
I felt extremely sad and lonely and my homesickness for Denver (city life) was ultra-strong.
I had already noticed that when I lack sleep – and I’m always lacking these days – I feel depressed. The depressed feelings were just starting to become more obtrusive – lasting longer throughout the day and for more days in a row.
And then, yeah, couple weeks ago it got pretty bad. I was beginning to actually get tearful at times. I haven’t felt that way in a long time, but it’s becoming apparent that this happens to me every couple of years.
Now? I’m almost better again. I’m back to my enthusiasm about my current entrepreneurial endeavor, but it’s at a healthy, non-manic level.
So yeah, I meant to write some posts about depression while I was feeling so blue, but it’s possible that the storm may have passed for now.
Either way, I’m reading Andrew Weil’s book Spontaneous Happiness. Thank you loving hubby for ordering it for me at the library!
And I’m really going to work on getting to bed earlier. Honest!
Like all moms, I’m sure, it’s extremely hard for me to get to bed at a decent hour. I never have time to do the reading and writing I want to do when Sebastian is awake.
Every night I face the dilemma. We make dinner, get the baby to bed, and then, against my better judgement, I stay up too late.
But, I’ve got to take care of me if I want to live my best life.
Maybe a miracle will happen and I’ll suddenly start going to bed between 9 and 10 pm, getting up at 6, exercising, having tons of energy, and living happily ever after!
A girl can dream!
But for now, I’m taking my vitamins, walking as much as I can during the week, and making it a goal to hit the sheets before 10 pm!
What time do you go to bed? What time does your alarm clock (or your kid) wake you up? Does lack of sleep give you the blues?
April 23rd, 2010
One of the hallmarks of depression is supposedly low self-esteem. I would have told you during my years of clinical depression that my self-esteem was fine. I liked myself. I thought I was an inherently good person. I never did what I’d observed in a few others – verbally berate myself as stupid and worthless – I considered that to be pathetic behavior.
But looking back, I cannot deny that my self-confidence was nil. I felt petrified by my fear of uncertainty and incompetence. This fear prevented me from learning what steps to take to achieve in my endeavors and from knowing how to socialize with others. These qualities unfortunately lead to a downward, self-perpetuating spiral of depression. You feel terrible, you feel unable to do anything, you do nothing, you feel worse.
For me, turning thirty has been a welcome transformation in my life. I have a lot more confidence in myself, both in that I can take steps to minimize my ignorance about whatever activities I wish to take on, and also in that I care less what others think of me. One of the easiest ways to damage your self-image is to get caught up in shoulds. I should have a career, I should have children, I should volunteer, I should be able to keep a clean house, I should be able to throw fun dinner parties.
I’ve stopped listening to that inner voice that tells me I’m not successful enough by measurable standards. So I’m not good at having a career; nor am I good at domestic skills. Where does that leave me? It leaves me the compassionate, interesting person that I am! It leaves me here in the moment feeling gratitude for my miraculous, mundane life. I’m learning that it is enough just to be. And a thousand times better when you pair that being with a connection to those you love.
I love being married. I love being a daughter, a sister, a teacher, and a friend. I think I will love being a mother. I love connecting with others, something I wasn’t able to do when deeply depressed. This is what it is to be joyful. This gives me not only confidence, but faith that I will be successful in life whether or not I have physical markers to show for it.
At least, this is what I tell myself. : )