To say I have been in a funk lately is a bit of an understatement.
I don’t want to blame it on my depression because I don’t always like to use that as an excuse when things make me feel low- it very well could be events aren’t ‘helping’ my mental health- but I do not want to say that I am sliding backwards to that place I was in over the winter…
Am I in Denial? Perhaps.
Or- maybe I am right in saying that I am just having a ‘blue’ week and with a bit of self reflection and determination I can find my way out of it.
Time will tell.
‘If’ I find my way out of it- then I can admit it was just a blip and move on to a better week…and hopefully a happier summer.
If not and it continues- I know that I have some talking to do with my doctor.
The important part is to be self aware.
After much deliberation-I have decided to let you into my head, to let you catch a glimpse of my process as I try to work through this.
My oldest graduated elementary school a week ago. With it came a flurry of activity, my insomnia (Which I always struggle with) was awful… I wasn’t getting more then three hours of sleep a night…and then I saw pictures from the event which really didn’t help my self esteem. (Translation: My post surgical weight gain was extremely apparent)
It all made me feel old, overweight, ugly and pathetic.
(Since this isn’t a therapy session- we will leave it at that)
My over-thinking returned and with it- My thoughts started spiraling a bit.
I hate that.
I hate when I take the smallest thing and end up with a monster living inside my head. I have admitted this before- I am quite literally my own worst enemy.
I have two options:
Fight or Give in to the Monster.
It’s a good thing I am stubborn…
I have been trying to channel my thoughts into more constructive things. As I list them- I am going to illustrate the good with the bad…
In a positive move- I decided to finally try out Beachbody’s 3 Week Yoga Retreat program. I love yoga. I love the movement and the mindfulness that comes with it. Since I am trying hard to get back into shape, lose weight and regain my health- Incorporating Yoga into my routine is something that has given me great results in the past.
If you haven’t tried Yoga- I highly recommend it. There is a calmness to it. Not only are you doing something positive for your body- you are really helping your mind. Through physical movement, breathing and letting go- Yoga can help you achieve a sense of peace. It took me years to believe this- trust me. I was a skeptic. Now it is something I turn to whether I need a good stretch or some focus.
(And don’t let the low impact nature of this practice fool you- you will work some serious muscles and even break a sweat)
And after I completed my first session of Yoga Retreat- I cried like a baby. I didn’t mean to- but there was something in the way it relaxed me. My body wanted to let go of the tension so I cried and cried.
I hate crying- but sometimes it is a necessary evil.
I have continued with the program all week- and I have to say I am enjoying it. It is nice to flow and focus on something that doesn’t have me in my head (Though I will admit that every time I try a chaturanga -I swear like I sailor…not very zen of me but 8 times out of 10 while attempting this move- I face-plant into my mat when I try…)
I am also pleasantly surprised that despite my ‘being out of shape’ that my balance isn’t as bad- I just need to work on my strength again. I know I will get there- I always have before.
For 30 minutes a day I am focused on inner peace and movement- okay so the monster starts talking again afterwards, but at least the yoga shuts him up for awhile and hopefully my arms start gaining some definition..
My mood has taken a toll on my creative side, and that is one of the reasons that I have not been blogging. Honestly- I didn’t feel like I had anything worth writing on here, let alone for you to read. Instead of my blog, I decided to focus my creative writing with this idea that was bestowed upon me by my muses – (Translation: I had this crazy dream the other night- and it was so entertaining that I wrote it down and have been expanding on it ever since) I love when this happens… however this week, with my mood not being ‘quite right’- I have been full of self doubt.
Maybe the idea is stupid. Maybe my character is too bitchy, too spoiled? Maybe the plot is too crazy? Maybe I am wasting my time? Maybe I should give up?
I had to step back, give my head a shake and take a breather. I would love to share what I have written with a friend and bounce ideas off of them- but I just don’t feel like I am ready to let anyone see it yet-which is odd. I am normally so excited to share a chapter or paragraph and receive feedback.
So I turned to another creative outlet…
I decided that I would turn to my paints- It has been awhile since I painted, so I decided to try my hand at a Flamingo. As you can see… my mood is reflected in the painting and it just didn’t come out as cheery as I wanted.
I have been feeling rather upset lately. We have officially passed over the halfway mark to my husband’s time away. I know that we make sure we see each other as often as we can, and that we Facetime and text several times daily- but it isn’t the same. I am starting to feel the way my kids have been feeling the whole time- it is a lot of to shoulder their feelings, his feelings and try to keep mine quiet.
The logical part of my brain knows that I am being ridiculous- but the heart wants what it wants and I just want things to return to some sort of normal.
I take comfort in the fact we will see him this weekend and eventually we will be off on our summer vacation together- finding more adventures for me to write about.
I miss my friends too. I wish they weren’t so far away. With all the events around my daughter’s graduation, I started reflecting on my own time as a teenager, and it made me miss the freedom, it made me miss being able to go out with my friends and have fun. I miss getting together for coffee, drinks, karaoke, dancing, all the laughs and even all the serious talks… I feel like I have missed out in some ways- not having our kids grow up together.
Maybe I am not going through an actual episode of depression.
Maybe I am just sad.
I am sad that every day I get older.
I am sad that this year has been full of change.
I am sad that when I look in a mirror and at pictures- I am not seeing ‘me’ anymore but this stranger that I have become.
I am sad because if I don’t get my emotions under control, it could lead me to a very dark place and I don’t want to revisit it any time soon.
I share this all with you because writing and being open is part of the process for me. I know from my previous Mental Health Blogs- and past comments, messages, emails and texts that I am not alone, and like always I want you to know that you aren’t alone.
We all have our days, our weeks, months and *sigh* sometimes ‘years’…
When we are consciously aware of what is going on- we at least have a choice to let it it make us or break us.
The problem with Mental Illness is that it isn’t always easy to determine.
It is easy for a peer to say “Oh you are just sad- It will pass” when they aren’t experiencing it.
It is easy for the sad person to say “It will go away” and it will.
It is easy for a depressed person to get swept up in the emotion and end up in a very lonely and scary place…Which is why these emotions need to be taken seriously.
I have reached this incredible point of self awareness where I can tell when it is time to ‘wave the white flag’ and dash off to see a doctor.
As you can see from the above, I can list my worries, my emotions, my triggers, my positives with my negatives and try to make sense of them… Is it normal? Is it not? What is ‘sadness’ and what is ‘depression’?
I give myself a time limit. If I can’t get these emotions, this ‘sadness’ under control and it continues to get worse… than I am dealing with more then a case of the regular blues.
Not everyone can do this so open and honestly. Trust me- it has taken me a lot of years, a lot of therapy and a lot of inner reflection to figure this out.
Hiding my feels is self destructive and counter productive. I can’t fight the monster head on if I don’t admit to myself, let alone anyone else- that he is there.
There is no shame in admitting it either.
We all suffer from ‘sadness’ from time to time. That is the way life works- it isn’t always sunshine and roses. Depression is much different. It will take your sadness and snowball into this monster and a lot of times you don’t realize it until it has sucked you in.
Focusing on positive isn’t a cure… it’s a start– but it isn’t the complete cure and it is not always easy to do. I will say this from experience, that taking breaks and stepping back..trying to do something positive that benefits you or cheers you up in some way is a good start– even if it lets you have just a few minutes of freedom from that inner monster.
If it works and the clouds begin to lift… Great.
Know your signs.
Know what is normal for you and what isn’t.
Be honest with yourself.
Write it down.
I cannot stress this part enough: If you can’t figure it out- If you feel like the ‘sadness won’t go away’ or if you know you are going down that spiral yet again…you need to immediately call and schedule an appointment with a mental health professional. Your doctor is the perfect place to start.
If there is one thing you can learn from me, it is that it is okay to feel sad. It is okay to feel weak and it is quite normal to have ‘those days’ that get you down and make you feel awful… it is even okay to talk about it…but it is incredibly important to learn self awareness and implement self care as soon as the signs begin to show and make a pact with yourself, or a family member or friend that if it continues that you will seek help.
You ARE worth it…even if that monster tries to tell you otherwise.
Question: What do YOU do to boost yourself up when you are feeling low? Let me know in the comments.
Authors Note: All thoughts and opinions are my own. Always seek medical help if feeling depressed or suicidal. For more of my Mental Health journey- please see the Cloud Category to the right of your screen.
Post Partially Inspired by Daily Prompt:Dash