As you might know we lost my mother-in-law. This was terribly hard to deal with, paired with my mental illness, it just made it worse. I was able to get thru the month we were in NY before she passed and the funeral with little incident, but once i got home things changed. I have been pretty stable for the past 2.5 years, honestly if you met me you would never know that I suffer from depression or anxiety. I like to think of myself as in remission.
These past 2 weeks have been especially hard. I am tired all the time and take a fairly long nap almost every day. I also do not really want to do anything. Yes it is hot here, but its not even the heat, I just don't want to do anything. Then I went to a guild meeting and was very uncomfortable there and for no apparent reason. Do you ever feel this way?
Being me and having gone thru what I have gone thru with mental illness I know the signs of depression and anxiety and so do my husband and kids. Yes it does seem that the depression and anxiety are creeping back into my life. So I started thinking of ways to handle this without starting a new medicine or changing any of it. Historically I have to be hospitalized to change my medicine cocktail and I am just not willing to go there. I want to handle this better than in the past.
Here's what I have been doing to help:
1. When I am tired I still allow myself to sleep, but as soon as I wake up I get out of bed. Yesterday I slept 4 hours and felt so much better when I got up, Hubs even commented on it. Sometimes my body just needs the rest. But I do not stay in bed. I make bed for sleeping only.
2. Make sure I take my meds at the right time everyday. This sounds like a given, but I know that its very easy for me to just not take the meds.
3. Make myself clean the kitchen. Even though I might not feel like it, I make myself do it. I am home during the day so at a minimum I need to make sure the kitchen is cleaned. When I put a dish in the sink I have to tell myself that it only take 20 seconds to put that dish in the dishwasher. It sounds corny, but doing even a small thing helps me feel better. And really how long does it take to fill and empty the dishwasher? I can live thru 10 - 15 minutes a day of cleaning.
4. Cook dinner. You know I love to cook, but when depression creeps up on me that's the first thing that goes. By the end of the day I am too tired to even think about what to make. My strategy is to make a plan in the morning for dinner. For me not having to make a decision late in the day is good. Plus I can't expect my Husband to work all day and then come home and deal with dinner too. He did that for years when I was undiagnosed and I don't ever want to take advantage of him in that way again. If that means that I have to run to the grocery store for a few things then that's what I do. There's a grocery store right around the corner that I can get to and get home within 30 minutes. I can spare 30 minutes to make my husbands day easier.
5. Once the things that I have to do are done I try to do something that is fun. Usually this is sewing or quilting. Some days I only sew a few seams and others I sew for hours. I have realized that it is good for my soul to sew. Or I will watch some TV. Not in bed though, that is only for sleeping.
6. Try not to over react. When I came home from the meeting on Monday I was very upset. I didn't feel too comfortable and felt that I was being dismissed and was rude to. It took me a while to understand that I was having social anxiety and that it was 'all in my head'.
Since I am very educated about my illness I know the signs of depression and anxiety and am doing what I can to combat it. I encourage you to learn the signs and symptoms. Education is empowering yourself to take control of your illness.
I have spoken to and emailed with quite a few people lately that just don't want to get up or do anything. I encourage you to MAKE yourself do something. Even the smallest thing will make you feel better. If you need support email me and I will be your biggest cheerleader. (I will also suggest that you see a doctor.) I know its hard, believe me I would love to stay in bed all day, but I MAKE myself do things. I stop myself from making excuses. For too long I didn't drive because that's where my anxiety was, but once I started driving down the road I realized that I can do it and that it was just easier to wait for someone else to take care of all these things.
I hope you can take what I have talked about and will give Making yourself do things a try.
PS I am not writing to anyone specific, although there are quite a few followers/friends who are struggling with the same things I am. I just hope that sharing this will encourage others.