Monthly Archives: February 2014

Making changes

I think one of the harder things for people on the outside looking into the life of the depressive is the fact that most depressives know they need to make some changes/take action if they’ve any hope of improving. As I touched on in my last post, depression is an illness of contradictions. I know I need to set a regular bed time and wake up time, and to eat healthily, and get some exercise, and socialise. But at the same time, your entire being fights doing these things.

And then one day you find you’re ready to tackle the beast that is depression, and make the changes you need. At least that’s been my experience.

I don’t know any depressive that likes wallowing in their depression, unable to escape their own thoughts, and hiding themselves away from life itself. But depression has these very weird ability to hold you there until you’re physically and mentally ready to move ahead. For those of us who are impatient, and like to be in control of things, it doesn’t help when you can’t make things happen as and when you want them to.

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I’ve implemented a lot of small things into my daily routine, and together I think they are helping. I’ve noticed improved mood and energy, and so have friends.

I got my SAD lamp out and use it every single day for several hours a day as I find it works better than the short bursts suggested by the manufacturer.

I go to bed and get up roughly the same time. Every day. Including weekends.

I gave up caffeine for the most part. I wouldn’t say I was ever someone addicted to caffeine, and I actually never felt it made any difference to my alertness, but I drank it via a few cups of tea and coffee every day. And you know, I don’t know if it’s because I’ve never been a caffeine addict, but I’ve not actually had any caffeine withdrawal symptoms. (And I’ve been surprised, and slightly saddened, at how many of my favourite independent cafés don’t actually serve decaffeinated coffee.)

I’ve cut back on alcohol. I’ve never been a big drinker, but I might have a few glasses during the week. I don’t miss it at all. And it makes me a really cheap date.

I spend a lot of time during evenings/weekends doing things for me – hobbies, cooking from scratch, whatever I want really.

There are still a number of areas I need to improve on, but it’s dangerous territory right now. It’s quite easy to overdo it when I’m feeling good so I have to be careful. I want to add in more social activities and exercise for a start, but I need to add these in slowly. I also want to come off of my medications as I think some of the problems I have with fatigue are partially related to medication.

Things are moving forward, and the setbacks are less and less serious when they happen, so I’m pretty pleased with my progress!

Change image from Nana B Gyei.

Learning my limits

Depression and anxiety do things to your body and mind you didn’t think possible since it’s not a visible illness. You can’t concentrate, you’re restless and exhausted at the same time, you can’t sleep, but you can’t be awake. It’s an illness full of contradictions. This is my experience — I become physically and mentally fatigued and really struggle to function at all. Absolutely everything in my life suffers for it — work, relationships, hobbies, house keeping, personal hygiene, eating healthily, exercise. Did I miss anything?

recovery

My mental health is recovering well. Thoughts are buzzing around my head. And not the ‘Why me? Why am I not good enough? Why can’t I just get on with it? Why do I struggle with life events every single one of us experiences? What makes me so ‘special’?’ No, these are energetic thoughts. Thoughts of what I want to accomplish at home and work.

However, my physical fatigue is slow to lift. One day I’m great. I have the energy to go out and do something casual with friends for hours on end. It all feels fine and manageable while in the moment. However the next day or two, I feel totally fatigued. I often worry that I may actually have ME/CFS. ME/CFS really is a disease I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I see friends and acquaintances with it and the suffering they experience. They lead little to no life at all and I feel for them. And I am frightened that this will be me.

I’m trying to find my limits with regards to energy. It’s not the physical exertion of exercise as it is maintaining a constant level of being ‘with it’ at work or out with friends. I have to quit thinking ‘well, I feel OK actually, so yeah, let’s go for another drink’ or ‘Yeah, I’ll stay on at work another hour then do errands afterwards’. It just isn’t working for me right now to push myself that little bit further. I pay for it the next day or two. I miss out on opportunities that I actually really wanted to take part in because I pushed myself that little bit too much the day before.

It’s not really any way to live by missing out on the things I want to do any more than it is to be completely held hostage by depression and anxiety.

Recovery image from ??? – found via Pinterest, but link back to original.