Dark Mornings and Depression Coping Mechanisms

I’ve been struggling to stick to a schedule lately. Well, specifically to the timing part of it. I’ve still done all of my stuff every day, I just haven’t really been doing it on what I would call my preferred timetable. Which has had the unfortunate side-effect of really disrupting my sleep schedule, bedtime patterns, and mental well-being. It’s a complex issue since there are a few reasons for it, most of which are valid and difficult to argue with, and all of the problems I’ve encountered exist only in the practical application of this altered daily schedule rather than the on-paper version I’ve been trying to argue with this entire time. It has been going on for a month or more at this point and the roots of it can be traced back even further, but now I’ve taken the time I need to work through the actual problems and have arrived at a proposed solution that might just work for me.

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My Silverware Drawer Is All Outta Whack

I’ve been running with a deficit of spoons and a surplus of forks, lately. For those of you who don’t remember or know what Spoon and Fork theory are, you can read more about them in this post. In short, though, Spoon theory is a way of talking about how people (typically with an chronic health condition) measure their effort through each day when they don’t have the ability to do everything they’d like to do (named so because the purported origin of the theory involved using spoons as a visual aid). Fork Theory is a way of talking about how ongoing stress can pile up or accumulate to the point where action must be taken to avoid becoming overwhelmed (named after the “stick a fork in me, I’m done” saying). As someone for whom both hold relevance, my day-to-day life is a careful balancing act of making sure I’ve got enough spoons to deal with whatever forks need to be removed.

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Why Someone Might Hide a Small Injury in the Workplace

My shoes broke today. One of the eyelets ripped open when I wentto pull my laces tight this morning and I was forced to drive to work with what felt like an incredibly loose shoe even though the other nine eyelets in use were holding strong. When I got to work, I rustled up some heavy-duty tape, some tiny washers, and spent about fifteen minutes repairing my shoes. It was a rush job (that wound up breaking irreparably a little over 24 hours later), with most of the time being spent on making sure the laces could still move through the holes in the tape on the new eyelet and on all the eyelets I reinforced. It isn’t perfect, but it will last long enough for me to get through my work day.

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“Vacation” Just Means You Have To Work More Later

It has been a week since my close scrapes with having my car run over by a truck, running out of gas on the highway, and having a mental breakdown at my workplace. I got some rest, tried to unwind, spent some time taking care of the issues I could resolve on my own, and now I’m back at work. It is, unfortunately, like I never left. Yesterday was so busy that I had a stress headache and an overstimulated migraine at the same time, and wound up spending my evening sitting in a comfortable position on my couch while drinking plenty of water with all the lights off except the dim light of my television and my always-on christmas lights. All of which normally helps but didn’t this time (probably because of how long the combo migrache had been going on), so I would up turning to painkillers and eventually those helped. Sleep eventually killed the lingering effects of the migrache so I was ready to tackle today. Except this horrible combination of brain pains is already back because today is busy as well and it’s not like I magically got used to my new underclothes in twenty-four hours.

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Breaking Points And Self-Care

I almost hit a breaking point last week. I’d been putting off getting gas because I was too tired to do it after work, in too much of a hurry to do it before work, and too exhausted to think of leaving my apartment for anything over the weekend. So I left my apartment with basically no gas in my tank and panicked during the second half of my commute about potentially running out of gas before I got to the gas station because I hit two patches of stop-and-start traffic due to massive tractors being on the highway. Then, it turned out the gas station I went to had ripped out every single pump and not just part of the parking lot like it had looked from the street. While searching for nearby gas stations (a lot of stuff in that area has closed in the past 2 years, so I wanted to be sure I went to someplace that was still open with what might have been the last of my gas), a stupid, massive pickup truck almost backed over me despite me honking at the driver and opening my window to yell. Either he didn’t see me or didn’t care, but I only didn’t get run over by this truly massive lifted pickup (large enough and high enough to have just driven right onto and over my car) because the people who had been blocking me in moved enough that I could get away. After that, I got gas, went in to work, took one sip of my morning coffee, and realized that if I tried to work through the day as I had planned, I was going to have a breakdown.

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All It Took To Combat Worsening Burnout Was A Lot Of Effort

As I’ve mentioned an untold number of times on this blog, I’m struggling with burnout. The problem with burnout is that it isn’t solved by a simple vacation. Or even several simple vacations. It is a process of years to recover from the constant exhaustion, the anxiety, and the need to continue the grind. A process that frequently doesn’t ever play out for people in my society, much less for those who are less privileged than I. After all, I’m not going to be able to escape the burnout until I don’t need to work extra hours to make ends meet in a way that doesn’t involve bargain shopping, penny-pinching, or denying myself anything I don’t strictly need with a few exceptions here or there. Even then, I’d have to find either a new job or a way to fundamentally alter the relationship I have with my job and the way I feel obligated to continue laboring as I have in the past. So, while it is definitely possible (and even probable, given enough time) that I’ll eventually escape this cycle of constant burnout, I find myself focusing on ways that I can continue to live with it, at least for now.

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Stress and Sleep Troubles

It was another rough week. I got everything done I needed to and most of the things I wanted to, but I’m now struggling through another (thankfully silent) Friday and I want nothing more than to turn into a puddle for twenty-four to forty-eight hours. I bet puddles don’t have insomnia or anxiety. I bet puddles can get all the rest they need or want. I bet puddles don’t feel depressed and isolated from everyone they care about because anxiety is mean and they were raised to take on responsibility for the happiness and well-being of everyone around then, frequently leaving them feeling inadequate and like they’re hated whenever they protect their own mental health by not putting in extra effort to help other people who are struggling. What a life that would be, to be a puddle.

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I Struggle To Spend Money On Myself

For the first time in enough years that I can’t actually figure out exactly how long it has been, I’m taking a week off work at a time that isn’t the week between Christmas and New Year’s. For the first time in my life as an adult in the workforce, I’m taking a week off of work to go on a vacation. Even when I was still willing to endure the stress of my family to access the lakehouse every summer, I never managed to take a full week off. I always had to align the trip with a holiday and take only a part of the week off. But this time I’m actually leaving my home to go someplace I’ve never been before with no intention other than to relax and enjoy myself.

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My New Mental Health Cycles

As I sat on my porch this morning, drinking my coffee and enjoying some direct sunlight as I cooled down after my morning workout, I was forced to admit that my struggles with depression this year weren’t entirely due to the long, bitter winter we had. That definitely contributed to it, of course, there’s no denying that. My struggles with work and the increasing solitude I feel as one of the only people I know who is avoiding all but the most necessary trips into public places are also contributing factors of course. However, there is no denying the increased severity of my depression from previous years to this one. Even last year wasn’t as bad as this one, in terms of my general depression.

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