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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August, My Least Favorite Month, Is Finally Over

One more week in the bank as I trudge through a spate of incredibly draining and difficult weeks with the hope of some kind of peace and rest on the horizon. The exact kind is to be determined still, from where I’m writing this (nor do I expect to have any answers soon), given the on-going health issues I’m dealing with on top of the work-related stress, world-related stress, and constant pandemic stress. I don’t know what things are going to look like once this flurry of activity has come to an end. It’s difficult to tell from the middle of things, especially given that I’m partway through a bunch of medical tests, none of which indicate that this is going to be a temporary issue if I’m reading the supporting documentation correctly. I, of course, could be wrong, but since I have to wait to speak with one or more doctors and then get one or more additional tests before I know anything, all I can do now is speculate. Which isn’t super helpful for me, but I’m grasping at straws and unsure of what else to grasp at.

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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 Have A Low Bar For What I’d Call A Peaceful Day

This has, so far, been the first week where nothing has happened by the end of Wednesday (please keep in mind this was written a week before it was posted). This will mean it is the first quiet week I’ve had in about a month and something I sorely needed after the tumultuous few weeks I’ve had immediately prior to this one. Not all of that time has been bad, of course. A lot of fun and/or good things happened during that period of time, but a lot of bad, unpleasant, and awful things also happened during that time period. It has just been a lot without much of a break for me to catch my breath. I couldn’t escape the constant happenings anywhere I went. Even the refuges I had built on Twitter for moments like this had been overrun by happenings. Long overdue happenings by the sound of it, happenings that I support wholeheartedly (for the most part, more than one thing happened after all), but still stuff that was a drain to encounter.

As I’m writing this blog post, it is the end of the third day since anything new happened to me. I’ve had no new issues to deal with, no new occasions to celebrate, no new happenings to work through, and none of the old stuff has reared its head anywhere beyond my anxiety. It has been quiet and I’ve had time to feel exhausted without worrying that I’m missing something vital. As boring as my days have been, this is exactly what I’ve needed. I even found an extra bottle of mouthwash when I thought I was entirely out of it, so even the small stuff has stayed incredibly uneventful.

As I write this, there is no noise in my apartment aside from the quiet whir of my fan, the distant gentle cheeps of my bird who is upset with me for walking past her without spending the rest of the time she’s awake interacting with her, the clack of my keyboard as I write, and the soft rumble of distant thunder as a series of heavy storms roll past to the north of me. I’m under a tornado watch, as is most of my state right now, a severe thunderstorm watch, and an incredibly enjoyable “watch the dark storm clouds roll in” watch. Given my history with storms, this is incredibly calming rather than worrisome and I’m looking forward to whatever tonight brings as the storm rages outside. It might be a tornado, which would be terrible, but there will definitely be plenty of rain, lightning, and thunder.

I don’t know what I’m going to do with the rest of my evening. My attempts to make plans met with no success, so I suspect I’ll be reading or playing video games by myself while listening to a backlog of podcasts. The exact activity will depend on whether or not I still have power of course. Even now, I’m actively saving my work every line or two since it looks like the kind of weather that steals your power away without warning. That would suck, since it is hot and humid as all get-out, but it would definitely make tonight a quiet night with no demands placed on my emotional energy. Unless, of course, my apartment gets wrecked by a tornado. The one exception to the hopefully peaceful night I have ahead of me.

Still, a tornado does one thing and there’s only one thing I can do about it, so it is a relatively simple situation to handle when you’ve studied weather patterns and lived in the Midwest as long as I have. Feels so much easier to hypothetically handle than a difficult conversation about why I chose to remove someone from a Dungeons and Dragons campaign or why I think we absolutely need strict gun laws in a way most pro-gun people around me don’t seem to comprehend given the way the second amendment to the US constitution has been misinterpreted for years. Even writing those out was exhausting.

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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Imperfect Rest Is Better Than None

As I’ve been working on recovering from all the stress of the past few months and trying to find ways to still make progress on my goals without worsening my current degree of burnout, I’ve realized that my most restful days of late are days that include a mixture of actual rest, enjoyable activities, and moderate productivity. While I’ve always known this to some degree or another, I’ve never been able to nail down a formula for it. Experimentation over the last few weeks though, has had startlingly positive results. If I have enough rest and relaxation intermingled with a moderately busy day of self-directed activity, it is usually a net-restful day for me, even if I’m cleaning my apartment and doing all my laundry. If I can be a little productive on a day set aside to not need productivity while also engaging in restful occupation, it is usually quite restful.

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Making Do With Depression

I’ve been cleaning my apartment. After months of doing just enough to not feel gross or awful, I’m finally doing a deep the-inside-of-the-fridge-is-sparkling-just-like-the-stove-interior clean. I have taken time off of work, I’ve created my to-do lists, and I’ve done my best to get my mind clear so I can focus on the work of cleaning without getting distracted. Got an old favorite podcast queued up to keep me entertained, got fresh cleaning products, and I’ve once again confronted the fact that mass-produced rubber gloves for cleaning almost never come in my size. I’m all set to clean and then maybe file my taxes if I have enough wherewithal left to string together the coherent thoughts required to let TurboTax file my taxes for me.

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Managing Mental Health Over The Holidays

I need a t-shirt that says “I went outdoors to treat my depression and all I got was this mild tan.” One of the efforts I started last year to combat my feelings of isolation and worsening depression was to make sure that I take daily walks. I didn’t really expect it to solve all my problems, but I did hope that it would have a more marked improvement on my mood and general mental health. The daily walks sure help me make sure I can get my average of six hours of sleep per night, but the emotional benefits of getting daily sunlight or daily fresh air have largely vanished at this point.

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I Am Exhausted, But It Feels Great. Time To Celerbate!

There is a particular mental state that I rarely experience, that I don’t enjoy experiencing as much as I appreciate being in a situation where it happens. Specifically, it is when I am so unfocused that I wind up adding more media or minorly active tasks until I am literally incapable of interacting with anything additional. For instance, last night, I found myself watching Critical Role, playing Pokemon SoulSilver, and swapping between Twitter and Imgur on my phone, all while singing a song to myself that had been stuck in my head all day.

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