Yesterday was a rough day. I was feeling as though a nagging gray fog had started following me, like Linus’ dirt cloud in the ‘Peanuts’ cartoons. Last night I took some positive baby steps in the right direction- taking my meds, contacting friends to ask them to pray, and getting to bed on time.
Last year I taped this quote at the very top of my computer monitor at work: “Smile, breathe, and go slowly.” The words are from Thich Naht Hanh, a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk. It helped me to remember that no matter how many things are in the “to do” pile or on the list, I can only do one thing at a time. Getting frantic about getting it all done will not help. Getting overwhelmed will not help.
Today I think it’s a day for taking more baby steps. Clean off the desk and tackle one file at a time. Put things away through the day rather than letting them pile up. Take short breaks to walk around when the ‘brain fog’ gets really thick. Eat a healthy lunch. Breathe and center.
Baby steps today.
Recently I’ve been noticing little signs that seasonal depression is creeping in. Foods like homemade bread and cakes are sounding very tempting and are hard to avoid. It’s a little harder to get out of bed in the morning and harder to get to sleep at night. Concentrating at work takes a bit more effort. I feel like I’m operating in a thin veil of fog.
Those little signs are also indicators to me that it’s time to get serious about doing the little things that help to avoid the slide downward. Things that work for me include: getting to sleep on time, making healthy food choices whenever possible and watching portions, taking my meds regularly, taking a multi-vitamin, and getting outside when possible for sun and exercise. One of the most important things for me is to keep attending events that I enjoy, even when I really don’t feel like it. I sing in my church choir (with my Dad), serve on at least one committee at church, attend and participate in worship weekly, and attend a depression support group weekly.
One last thing that may indeed be the most important is cultivating friendships with people who understand what the journey through depression feels like. Getting through is so much easier when there’s someone to call, someone who checks up on me and doesn’t accept platitudes, and someone to pray for me when I reach out for help.
For now I’m taking things one day at a time, one choice at a time, one breath at a time.