I think everyone who deals with depression sees their battle in a slightly different way. I’ve heard people describe it as sliding down into a deep abyss, or as falling into a funk. For me, it feels kind of like those allergy commercials (Claritin clear™), as if a fog of sadness surrounds me and I can’t shake it.
I’ve struggled with it for most of my life, and have tried a lot of things (therapy, meditation, diet) to try to keep myself healthy. I mostly succeed. The best things for me have been my kids. I know that isn’t true for everyone, but for me the responsibility of motherhood has shifted my focus enough to keep depression under control.
It still crops up, though. Like recently. I’ve been shuffling along, barely doing the minimum, feeling pretty bad about myself. I can feel that dark fog around me, growing denser, blocking out the happiness. I feel tired a lot, and have no pleasure from the things I usually enjoy. I’ve been doing a terrible job keeping my house, and ordering out a lot of meals even though I normally love to cook. I’m drinking more than I should, and not eating as much. I’m okay, but I feel the beginnings of depression settling in.
I’d love to be able to pinpoint depression’s cause, but I’ve been told it is a chemical thing most often and not due to any one event or life-problem. The truth is at any given time I’ve got enough problems to justify a depression, and even if those problems don’t cause it, they don’t help, either.
Around a week ago, I reached a really low, low, low. It was a nice day, and I had a lot of time with my family, and it was beautiful outside, and everything was perfect. Except I wasn’t happy. I was thinking about my writing, and about my bills, and my house, and all the unfinished tasks I have hanging over myself. And that made me realize I needed to do something, at least about the things I CAN control.
So I did. The first thing I did was make a list of the things that make me happy. Simple things, like “making dinner and eating with family” and “reading every day” and “walking along the beach.” Things I haven’t been doing. And for the past week, I’ve made sure to do those things.
I also gave myself permission to NOT write every day. NaNoWriMo is a bust (again) for me, which is fine. I’m not checking my KDP sales numbers, and I’ve stopped my facebook ads (they weren’t working very well, anyway). I have decided that I will not quit writing, but I will drastically lessen my marketing efforts. All that was doing was making me stressed, and sucking the joy from writing. I spent so much time and worry on what my reviews said, and how many sales I had, and what I could do to better fit into my genre. Ugh. It was killing me.
And you know what happened? I’ve been good. The clouds have lifted! I’m happier, and I’m not as tired, and I feel better about myself. I even wrote a whole new chapter of my WIP! I feel much more in control.
I still might call the doctor, but for the time being I’m doing well.
I started a new crochet project today. A “puff stitch cowl.” I like it so far, though I have a long way to go! 🙂 What do you think?