My two dogs have been faithful companions throughout my depression ups and downs. They are always there to snuggle and give me unconditional love. I don’t know what I would have done for the past year without them. And I have not been the best of dog owners either; not that they are abused or anything, I know they need to go out for walks, but more often than not, I have crawled into bed after work to veg. Not living really, but they put up with me in spite of it. So I am sure they are glad to see me in a better, more active state of mind and body. I’m sure it is a combination of factors, including med adjustment, better weather and trying to focus on positive thoughts. My sister says, “positive thoughts lead to positive feelings.” I’m not sure that any of us can think our way out of depression. But positive thoughts sure beat wallowing in melancholy.
So I am looking forward to a new job this month. I spent the past year teaching nursing at a local liberal arts college. While it wasn’t bad, I really didn’t have a passion for it (or perhaps the depression was interfering with my work). I am more motivated by clinical practice and hope this job fits me well. Practice pays better than teaching too. My therapist says this time between jobs would be a good time to establish a “routine.” She specifically means eat right and exercise. Ugh. I know I need to, but it’s a really tough proposition. I know I need to take better care of myself so I can be more effective in helping others. Sort of like the airplane speech about putting your oxygen mask on before assisting your children/family members. But it is so very hard, don’t you think?
Meanwhile, I have made great strides in taking care of my home and yard. Mowing and pulling weeds is good exercise (push mower, one-quarter acre). The yard has been quite neglected since last year when my Mother got sick. By the way, she has made a miraculous recovery from being near death. She has gone from being unable to walk, to driving and socializing with friends. She is coming to visit me too. Hope to do something fun with my few weeks off. All work and no play makes Jen a dull woman. Can’t have that.
So, I am completing some unfinished projects and have gone back to some creative pursuits (pottery, crochet, jewelry making, blogging). Positive activities boost my mood for sure. Staying busy!
I think it is impossible to not be influenced by others when it comes to your mood. Being around positive people is in itself uplifting, being around those who are down can bring you down. It’s important to be strong enough in yourself that you aren’t completely thrown off-balance by someone else’s influence. But again, it is easy to allow intimate relationships to influence how you feel. So if you are in a bad, or even mediocre relationship, it will impact your depression. I was in one of those for a time, and it definitely affected me in a negative manner. But where is the risk if you have the opportunity to have a good relationship, built on equality and mutual understanding? Just something to think about.
Surprising to me too, but I was actually told that I looked chipper. I suppose that is a good thing, looking better than you feel. Compliments always make you feel better too. So I guess I must be feeling better as well. As Martha says, “It’s a good thing.”
So perhaps I need an attitude adjustment; start thinking positive and feel better. I think I’ll work on that.
Deep experience is never peaceful. —- Henry James
I’m doing most of what I’m supposed to be doing…getting enough sleep (probably too much), taking my meds, seeing the therapist, eating so-so, being somewhat social. I just feel blah. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to do anything outside of going to work. I’m not particularly fatigued, I’m just very unmotivated and I don’t care.
My depression seemed to worsen when my son left for college. He hasn’t gone that far, just downtown to the urban art school campus, about 30 miles away. I still get to see him once in a while and we talk/text regularly. But living alone has been a huge change for me. I don’t seem to be adjusting very well at all. I’ve been lettting the cleaning go, avoiding the kitchen as much as possible, and spending a lot of time vegging. This is so not like me. I’m typically a very tidy person, like to cook, and like to be productive. I feel so out of sorts.
I had great plans for cleaning up the house when my son left. Having him and his friends tramping in and out tending to make for more cleaning up, and I thought of it as this great opportunity to really get things clean. I haven’t even been up to his room except to go to the attic and retrieve a few things. It just seems too overwhelming.
I guess this is what they call empty nest syndrome. I never imagined it could be such a setback in my mood. I’m sure I could be getting more exercise and all of that good stuff, but now I don’t see anything shifting me out of the numb spot. And it’s not very comfortable here either.
Hard to believe that I started blogging a little over a year ago. Looking back, I’ve covered a lot of territory. The question is, am I learning anything, and am I applying it to my life? I hope so, but its hard work.
My therapist is insistent that I really need to work on being more social. Being on the internet doesn’t count! This has been difficult for me. She laughs because just about all my friends are nurses. How else would I know people except through work? Even so, I find that I have a hard time reaching out to others. It’s soooo much easier to veg at home by myself on the weekend. Again I ask, why do I have to be the one reaching out to others? I feel like sometimes someone should reach out to me!
Anyways, it has been a long year of blogging. I have learned much about writing for others and myself. It takes time and thoughtfulness to write something meaningful. I don’t know if it has been helpful to anyone else, but it has been helpful for me. I could never write a journal for myself, but this has come to me somewhat easier. Hopefully even as my depression may improve, I’ll still be able to write about significant topics.
Anhedonia is the failure or inability to experience pleasure. It is a significant symptom in clinical depression. I’ve experienced it before, and it’s not pleasant. Not being able to experience good feelings or any feelings makes you feel emotionally empty. Right now I’m feeling pretty ambivalent about some things that I used to care about a lot. I can’t call it anhedonia, it’s not that strong of an non-feeling. I used to really enjoy gardening and my flowerbeds were very attractive and my vegetables thrived. Right now the only thing that thrives in my yard is weeds. Everything is overgrown and bordering on ugly. And I just haven’t really cared a whole lot about it. It could be just the fatigue/lack of energy that keeps me from doing the things I used to. But I’ve been avoiding dealing with it because it’s gotten so out of control. Today was the first time I had to do the mowing myself (my son has gone off to college). That was a challenge in itself. The mower was not cooperating and kept stalling out. Let’s just say the lawn is less than half done. But I did get the new dog run hung, and that has waited to be done for at least a year. I’m certainly not in a hurry, that’s for sure.
Sometimes I worry the meds are making me unemotional or flat. Maybe that is why I don’t care about things that used to be important to me.
So I guess my feelings about gardening and yard work are no longer what they were. If this continues, I may need to go condo.
This past week has been ch-ch-challenging. I just took my son to college and that was a bit stressful. I’m doing my best to cope with that colossal change in my life. Then I go to work on Monday to find out from the CEO himself that they let my boss go. Wow. That was a shock. I liked working with him (see previous post, New Environments). He was always positive and motivating with me, but apparently not with everyone else, which was the rationale we were given for his departure.
Of course this would be the week that I also run out of meds and I’m waiting for the new insurance card to arrive so I can get the prescriptions refilled. Not a good week to be off my meds! So my mood took a nose dive and I was dragging through the week. It was everything I could do to make it through the day, and I couldn’t wait to get home and crawl into bed. Too much loss for one week. I admit I shed a few tears as well, I was feeling lonely coming home to an empty house with my son gone.
I am so glad my son is attending a nearby college, he decided to come home for the night on Friday and we spent breakfast together on Saturday. That cheered me tremendously. Knowing I can see him regularly has eased the transition. Now I just need to figure out how to handle the new situation at work.