I had plans today.
Plans to go to the gym. Plans to work on my current novel. Plans to write back cover copy for my self-publishing marketing push.
None of those things happened…
…Because my brain is being an asshole.
So that I can count at least one thing as an accomplishment today, I fixed a drink (Southern Comfort and Coke Zero – and yes, I’ll take a sponsorship if it’s offered,) put my ever-widening ass in the chair, and started typing.
This is what’s coming out.
(If you’d rather not read anything about depression just now, I understand. I won’t be bothered if you visit content more jubilant than you can expect in this post. I really won’t.)
Got to take care of yourself.
Speaking of self-care, and depression, let me talk a little bit about what I do, you know, self-care-wise. The depression requires no effort on my part.
I do a lot of things – coping strategies they are sometimes called – to mitigate the deleterious effects of my mental illness.
- I meditate, regularly. (mindfulness, mantra, and auto-hypnosis, depending on the day and what I need.)
- I exercise, for about 75 minutes, six days a week. (I lift weights, because it’s what I enjoy.)
- I watch my diet. (Not so much calorie restriction, although that has been on my menu for a good long while, but I try not to eat things that make me feel shitty.)
- I’m strict with my sleep hygiene. (I usually get 7.5 hours a night, a little more on the weekends.)
- I try to spend a little time, every day, doing a thing I love – something that excites me. (This is usually productive: writing, planning, learning, etc.. I still love a good movie/ TV show/ book/ comic [and sometimes a bad one] but I save that for when I’m exhausted or a need a distraction.)
- I force myself to make contact with the outside world. (Text friends, make phone calls, try to get human interaction, that kind of thing.)
- I take medication. (I’m on two separate ones right now. They do pretty well, most of the time. I still have bad days.)
- I try to use my awareness to redirect my thinking, when I notice I’m crawling down a dark hole.
- I look for inspiration/ motivation wherever I can find it. (Even small doses help.)
- I spend a good amount of time, every day, learning to work with my emotions, when they occur.
- I’m a big fan of caffeine and nicotine. (Black coffee, diet sodas, and I vape. Vaping isn’t necessarily good for you, but it won’t give you C.O.P.D. That’s called harm reduction folks.)
- I go to therapy. Every appointment, like church. It helps.
- I talk things over with my wife. (She’s supportive, and it keeps whatever hell is going on behind my eyes from leaking out and fucking up our relationship.)
There’s a lot that goes into my self-care. And I’m learning more and more as I go.
And, even with all that, I don’t know what it means to feel normal most of the time.
I have days, oooooh those days, where it feels like the weights have been wrenched off my soul. I don’t get manic. But there are days where it feels like I’m not walking around, draped in my bodyweight’s worth of sodden blankets. And everything feels different. Mostly, everything feels.
Those days don’t last, and I have not yet figured out from what alchemy of circumstances they arise.
And sometimes, they aren’t days. Sometimes they’re hours. Moments. A moment.
Days like today are more prevalent.
Days where I lack the energy to do any of the things that I was excited to do, and all I can do is drag myself from errand to errand, zombie-eyed and frayed at the edges, trying not to step on the sharp points of all my broken plans.
I wish I had something hopeful to say.
Something in me knows that would be the right thing. The expected thing. The thing people want to hear.
But I just don’t have the fucking oomph to get across that finish line.
All I can do is keep plodding forward, falling if I have to, step after step, until I can get to a day, or an hour, or a moment where I can continue to try to progress towards the goals and dreams I’m striving for.
So, until then, I’m having a drink, and telling you about it.
Thanks for listening.
Until next time…