I just thought I was overly busy.
But then, I noticed that each day was clipping along, and I was becoming a spectator. No longer was I seizing the moment, setting aside time for me, or even thinking about tomorrow. Events were driving me. Then I spoke with my therapist.
“If you don’t put your own oxygen mask on first, how can you help others?”
Once again, he saw that then he talked about it, and this immediately put things in perspective. And I needed that shift. My thoughts were beginning to turn to the dark side, and I was becoming very stern with myself for not doing even more.
While this was going on, I can picture depression on the side lines grinning with pleasure.
Letting myself become incredibly busy was my go-to move for over 40 years. It is harder to hit a moving target. I blamed my quickness on heredity, that I was still exhibiting caveman strategies to keep safe. No one specifically told me the rules had changed.
And once again, I had the answer in my pocket the entire time.
My daily routine, my daily self-care was gone. And I had no one to blame but myself. I know for a fact that I cannot control events. But I can certainly control my attitude towards them. I was turning over my right to choose to anyone who wanted to use me. And by doing so, I made depression smile.
Isolation is a tool depression finds effective on me.
It has taught me that no one understands me as it does. Depression makes sure that I see things in such a way that sharing with others is bad. Being secretive is, in depression’s mind, a very good thing. And as an unhelpful thinking style, depression found that secrecy works on me.
Sadly, I cannot write this in the past tense.
Depression is still floating trial balloons just to see if it can get anything to stick. There is not a day that goes by where depression is not crafting a plan to spring on me. And when I am Hangry, depression sees an opening. And recently, going full steam ahead and neglecting myself and self-care, I set myself up for depression to waltz in and go to work on myself.
Thankfully, I have a therapist, peer support, a psychiatrist, and many tools to understand when depression is starting to set up house.
For the past 36 hours, I have reinstated my daily routine and have given myself permission to include self-care in my daily routine. And even more exciting, this has put me much more in the moment with my loved ones. Depression would say I am sleeping with the enemy, but I say depression is wrong.
I love my wife and family and am angry that depression would encourage me to turn them into the bad guys.
So, self-care is back and once again I am “living a balanced life with depression.”