Why am I stuck in this loop of sameness?
As I begin writing, I realize this is not the first time I have written about this. My mind has been stuck in a painful, unproductive loop before. And how to jump-start a new, more productive loop is where I am now.
Last night, after getting home from work, I had a small meal.
By 11 PM, I was in bed. My pre-sleep routine includes a Word game and solitaire on my I-pad. Then lights out. I remember looking at the alarm clock thinking, “if I am going to sleep at 11 PM, I could get up at 7:30 AM and I would have had over 8 hours of rest. That seems like plenty of sleep.
Yet, I finally drug myself out of bed at 9:07 AM.
READ: Get up, get up, get up
And had I not needed to pee; I would probably have stayed in bed longer. What kind of life is this? I ignore the alarms that I set. Now I only ignore them on days I do not have to get up for work. If I must be up at a certain time to get to work in the morning, I will honor the alarm clock message.
But often, even doing that involves strategic calculations to determine if I can do everything I need and be out the door at the right time while hitting the snooze alarm once or twice.
Why am I stuck in this non-productive, annoying, frustrating, “it’s making me angry” loop?
Reviewing over 308 blog posts I have written; I know not every day is like this. But there is enough evidence that this question has become a major theme blocking my recovery. And I am not able to articulate exactly what is going on to my doctors or my therapist.
In fact, I have not had a therapist appointment in four weeks.
It is my own fault; I was not connecting with her as much as I told myself I was when we first met. And then with the pandemic, we began meeting over the phone. I am sure she was focused on me and my problems, but not being able to see her let my mind wander to her completing a project for another client while offering pauses and affirmations designed to keep me talking.
These thoughts are almost certainly me catastrophizing the situation.
My days are filled with being good at concealed depression. I go through the motions at home and then expend my positive energy in the workplace. High-functioning depression is the game. And I play it very, very well.
Lately, I have been bringing work home.
Not physical paperwork, but problems of the day, unresolved conflicts between employees I want to address, and upcoming projects, reviews, and training I am responsible for. This, I have figured out, is cutting into my “me time” when I am at home. And it is distracting me from my family and the things I want to do at home.
Squirrels have noticed the corn coming up in my garden and have dug down and eaten the seed kernels, leaving just the beginning corn stalks to whither on top of the soil.
I got my rabbit fence up around the melon plants, but only after the rabbits had eaten most of the cantaloupe vines. And now I must stretch the fence around the rest of the garden to save the lettuce and carrots as they emerge.
Plus, there is always mowing that needs to be done.
With all the recent rain, my grass has exploded. Staying on top of that takes about three hours if I mow everything, including the glade. And while a lot of the outdoor activity is really self-care for me, I have not sat and read anything in months.
For some reason, I cannot justify spending 15 minutes reading once a day.
Depression reminds me that this is selfish, that there are too many other things I should be doing. Spending time on myself, for myself is bad. This is what I hear depression telling me. Perhaps it is what I was reading? After all, if I am reading material designed to combat my depression, leading to a more balanced life, depression is not happy about that.
Depression reminds me it is the one true way and everyone and everything else is against me.
I am becoming more secretive, or at least less open about my feelings and events that are occurring in my life. I am withdrawing and circling the wagons, keeping my thoughts and feelings closed off. While this gets me through the day, being open and receptive to others was getting to be more normal.
Now that I am withdrawing into myself, I miss what I was learning about openness and sharing.
And so, I put on my concealed depression cloak and go through the day. The same day over and repeatedly. I want so much to get out of this negative cycle but have not had much success in doing that. I am banking on my appointment in a week with my new Psychiatrist. If I list all my concerns, and what I am doing, perhaps he will come up with a new plan for me.
Or maybe, we will craft a plan together that will keep each day from being the same.
My concealed depression is written under the alias “Depression is not my boss.” I have certifications in SMART Recovery and am a Global Career Development Facilitator.
Diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder last year, I am sharing what I learn. If you know someone who might benefit from reading this, please share.
I very much appreciate your comments.