My mind is all over the place lately.
Now I know there is a lot going on, but that is no excuse. OK, so a year ago I was in the hospital being treated for MDD, major depressive disorder. Then I came out of retirement and went back to work in management. Then, the pandemic happened and all sorts of customs (social distancing) and costumes (masks) have become the new normal.
READ: With depression in full bloom, I was a mess last year
I flutter from idea to idea, with no anchor or underlying theme for the day.
It was suggested to me that I write out a plan for each day. At one point, I was doing that. In fact, many years ago, before Internet, I attended a day long Franklin Planner class. This class gave me tools to plan each day. And it also helped me prioritize each day, with a coding system. At the end of each day, I would roll forward any unaccomplished tasks. This way, I always knew what I needed to do.
Now that does not mean that I always completed my list.
But I always knew where I stood and what my priorities were. Now, the only priority I have is getting through the day. That has become my number one accomplishment. Sure, life and its daily activities are part of that picture, but each individual act is just a part of surviving until I can go to bed.
This is not what I expected my life to look like.
Having spent 43+ years denying my own depression, I built a life of shallowness. It is all about facts, not feelings. As soon as feelings are added, I find something to distract myself. Feelings are messy. When you entertain emotions, you do not know where it will lead. So, you must be open to new and possibly uncomfortable feelings.
By darting about, I can avoid being in the same room with my feelings.
Walking through the living room, my brain gets sucked into whatever is on the TV. I cannot help it. I might even be talking to someone in the same room with the TV, and it will grab my attention, mid-sentence. This is not fair to the person I am speaking with. It is disrespectful and does not give the impression that I care about what they are saying.
While I do care, depression has my ability to focus under attack.
READ: What is depression and why do I have it?
Getting back to a daily plan is one way I can stay more focused. I am a great planner, and love to create spreadsheets and daily to-do-lists. The positive endorphins I get from checking something off the list are empowering. I have been known to write something I have done that is not on the list, just so I can cross it off.
I would rather have a plan, than free wheel my day.
But my ability to focus is so scattered, I am not, in my mind, doing a particularly good job of having a plan. Unless, of course, I default to my overarching plan for each day of getting through it so I can go to bed.
Oh look, a squirrel!
This time it was a hummingbird. This led to a discussion about the height of the feeders. So now I am putting up a new pole for the feeders. And raising the height of the two hummingbird feeders. And within minutes, the hummers had found the new, elevated feeders and were happily and more safely, drinking the sugar syrup.
I am focused now on finishing this… oh look, a squirrel.
One of our neighborhood bears pushed over our bearinator trash can last night. Seeing the can on its side this morning as I brought the bird feeders out, I immediately went to the videotape. We have three cameras that are motion activated and have night vision. The bear started on the front porch, then headed over to the corner where the trash can is located.
The bear could smell the delicious odor of garbage.
But once again, the steel-reinforced trash can did not give up it is contents to the bear’s efforts. We have had this can for several years after the bears found how easy it was to access our previous flip top trash container. And for several years, I have been setting an alarm on my phone to remind me to bring in the bird feeders at night, so they do not become bear feeders.
I keep being reminded that a fed bear is a dead bear.
My plan for today, not written down yet, is to stake up all my tomato plants in the garden. I got the wire cages yesterday, but by the time I got home, it was raining. So, this is today’s first … Oh look, a squirrel.
My office is a mess and I need to get in and clean it.
Watching the bear video on my phone, I had a glitch when trying to download the footage. So, I went into my office to find the password for the app. This led to a torturous flipping through of my 3 X 5 card password reminders, to find the Nighthawk card. This reminds me I need to update my password list so I can throw away most of these cards. Now I want to get rid of the piles on my desk and toss all the junk mail that is on my chair… oh look, a squirrel.
Exercise and making daily checklists are two things I need to focus on.
With depression throwing all kinds of unhelpful thinking my way, I need structure. I also need to shave and have some breakfast before putting the tomato cages around the plants in the garden. Before I lose that thought, I had better get started.
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.
Many thanks to Frank King for the squirrel analogy.
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