I have made one blog post in thirty-three days. I usually prep blogs and then schedule them to drop on a certain day. I have not been able to wrestle up the motivation to put in the prep work. Which is a shame really. I watched 21 Marvel movies leading up to Endgame and then watched Endgame. I have notes for all 22. I had planned on posting a blog an hour leading up to watching Endgame on opening night. I had notes for a blog for what would have been Daddy’s 77th birthday. I have tons of notes to wrap up all of my past due blogs (I have two from last May’s Cali portion of vacation and all of the camping and adventure trips after that). I have tons of notes on Game of Thrones that will never see the light of blog (well, I plan to listen-read the whole book series and then watch the correlating season at the end of each book so the notes will be utilized later in the winter sometime).
I have a new HomeCloud to organize all of the photos and family documents. I have a new printer that can print on photo stock. I uploaded the home financial program to incorporate the last seven years of finances for Husband and I.
I have been fortunate enough to stay exactly where I was in March on weight. Which is amazing because I fell off every healthy eating regimen I was happy enough to be on. My exercise has been somewhat sporadic and not up to par with my plans and expectations. This week I have realized that my blood pressure is slightly elevated which has screwed up my hearing and I am fairly certain has screwed up my vision for the past couple of months.
I have not “listen read” until this week. Last month I tried to listen to Mariska Hargitay’s adaptation of the Hamilton book. I will have to go back and have a re-listen because it was not a passive listen or even a complete listen.
I have been disappointed across the board with all of the above and strapped with an absence of motivation to tackle any, or all, of it.
And that, my friends, is what functional depression looks like.
The best I can describe how depression affects me is like this: it is like being in a deep body of water with no escape. It’s deep enough to be able to stand on your tippy-toes and keep just your nostrils and eyes out of the water. Theoretically you are not drowning because you are getting the oxygen to breathe. But it takes everything you have to keep your balance to get the oxygen you need to survive and you cannot really concentrate on anything else. And the long term vision is skewed. So, every ripple you see in the water seems like it might be a tidal wave that will consume you and all the while you are ignoring the shark that just swam past. Then one day, you realize that you can push off your tippy-toes and break the surface. But you are tired from all of that concerted effort. And as you make your way to shore you see everyone on the beach enjoying themselves and they have their sandwiches made and are jovially talking about the dance from last night which you missed. If you are lucky, you can settle for being happy that you survived the ripple tidal wave and you find your towel on the sand next to them where you suddenly realize that the sun feels so good on your skin and your people are happy to pass you a sandwich and turn on the music so you can dance the dance you missed and it is ok that you were overwhelmed for a little while.
Confusing, I know. Short version: useless struggles and hopefully your people help you through it, sometimes without realizing it.
So, how do I combat depression?
How am I able to tamp it down so that most others do not realize I am barely breaking the surface?
Getting on with the getting on.
The last two weeks I concentrated on my patio garden and cleaning up my front porch/yard to prepare for summer. I put out a ton of birdhouses in the front, bought bright and colorful cushions for the chairs and threw birdseed around to attract the songbirds and allow them to populate my front yard (I find that amazingly soothing). I have potted maybe fifty sets of flowers. I have themes (mystical creatures, religious homily, down home living, and a few others – eventually there will be pictures). I have twinkle lights (two more sets and three wind chimes and the back patio is done). I have two trough planters and one barrel planter filled with tomato, pepper and cucumber plants. I have incorporated a lot of color and life into my patio (I was going for English cottage garden). I am over the moon excited to put up two sections of fence so I can sit, meditate, listen-read, grill out and feel comfortable knowing that I am no longer in a fishbowl where all the passers by can gawk. Being allowed some sense of privacy in my own space is a fairly huge thing for me right now. I kid you not, people who walk on the road (separated from us by one row of houses) tend to slow down and stare and it will be nice to have my alone time not on public display all of the time. I owned a home in FayCo where I could walk out onto my back porch and all that was there was the forest for miles and miles. The absence of the world (that was easily accessible through the front door) allowed me to have a place of refuge. All of the birds and squirrels and chipmunks and the occasional deer made their way through the yard. I am realizing how much I miss that and I am excited to have a version of that coming back in my life.
This past Thursday I made it to studio yoga (with my head in the game) and came away feeling amazing (although I have a hard time adjusting to new things – the “new to me” instructor was amaze-balls). Husband is ordering a cross rack for the top of my car so I can carry the kayak places this summer. I need to get a new rack for my bike as well. I think I want to get some tent camping in.
Sunday I was able to take in a live taping of Mountain Stage. The music made my heart happy. Winning the social media swagbag made it even happier.
I am currently listening to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and it is narrated by a man with an amazing range of voices. It is familiar (yet new), comfortable and calming.
This is the second week I have meal prepped lunch. I fell off my breakfasts but hope to pick back up in the morning. I stopped walking at work until today. I have a Thai massage planned for Wednesday.
I might have binge watched season five of RuPaul’s Drag Race because Queens make me happy.
Getting out of the fog is just so exhausting. I have called my PCP and asked to set up my yearly wellness check (I usually have it in February, just missed the marker on that). She and I will discuss things that need attention (high BP being another concern at the moment). This weekend, if I am lucky enough, I can sit on my fenced patio, grill a hot dog, watch the tiny birds and enjoy all the colors of my rainbow flowers. I will definitely get a bike ride in and I may get a little kayaking in as well. The weather will be beautiful enough for all of that! There is a Hinton camp trip and a week in NYC in June. There is a tailgating Bootie and the Hofish concert in July. August has Peace Slam. I hope to eek out some camping and genealogy adventures along the way. Husband and I plan on a later-in-the-year adventure with a trip to NASA that includes a flight simulation with an actual astronaut.
The sun will come out….tomorrow….bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there’ll be sun.
I am generally not comfortable talking about my depression. Not to my family or friends or anyone for that matter. It is kind of like a scar – no matter how you acquired it, you have it / it does not go away / it is personal / it can’t really be fixed by the person standing next to you no matter how much they would like to fix it / and sometimes you just don’t like the look of it. If your first thought is “how can she be depressed and yet so hyper and upbeat” – just know, that is a coping mechanism. Or, if your first thought is “she doesn’t seem suicidal” – just know, I am not and not all depressed people are suicidal. I decided at the beginning of the year that I would blog about my health, the things that go along with it and have transparency to (and for) myself. That way, I can look back at the end of the year and see my progress and pitfalls and how I made it through. And in future years, if I struggle, I can go back to read an associated struggle-blog and be reassured that I survived. I blog to open conversations with people who did not realize they have me to talk to or I to them. And I will end with this: If you struggle with depression and you want to talk or vent, I am here. If you struggle with depression and want to sit quietly on a secluded patio full of flowers, I know a place. If you struggle with depression and you need someone, I am here.
In a couple of weeks, when I blog the Health Update for May – it will be in the regular format that is easy for me to track. This one was a little different, just like me.
Its a constant fight to stay out of that deep dark hole. But its worth it.
Depression sucks, so damn debilitating to me sometimes….your post really put yourself out there. Thank you for sharing your struggle.