I miss the energy.
The interaction. And I miss the challenges that come with going to a day job. What in the world was I thinking? Sit in my home office in front of a computer monitor and write for others? Not have daily interaction with groups of people.
I face the same tedious routine day after day after day.
Believe it or not, I am not writing about my blogging. That has been the best decision I have made in quite a while. Getting my thoughts out of my head and onto paper gives me a chance to look at them, to examine them, and make better decisions.
The act of writing down how I am feeling is a new skill I am happy to be learning. My life has been that of a reporter. I can tell you the facts, but I always hid how I felt about them. This blog and the work I am doing with a therapist and in support groups is giving me tools to find helpful thinking styles, so I make better decisions.
So, what am I missing?
I am talking about framing my day to day life. What can I expect when I wake up? What do I have to look forward to today? In addition to my daily blogging, what other activities will occupy my time?
My depression is jumbling up my thoughts this morning.
What I am trying to write about is: how will my days look? Can I expect new things when I get out of bed? Will, there be things to get me going, get me motivated, get me challenged, and excited?
Having a “day job” was a reason to get going in the morning. People depended on me and I enjoyed that. Making a difference in people’s lives is how I have lived my life. I treat everyone with respect, even those who can never do anything for me. I thank my parents for teaching me that.
In that day job, I would recharge my emotional batteries. All of those seemingly unimportant “hi, how’s it going?” type of interactions, kept my emotional gas tank filled. Being relied on to solve problems within company policy was a part of the job I really loved.
Why wasn’t I able to know that before I retired?
It is getting clearer to me that my current Major Depression was already working on me when I made the decision to retire. All I saw was one path, one choice, only one thing to do. Anything that wasn’t that choice was minimized. Anything that was that choice was magnified.
This type of unhealthy thinking style is why a year or so later, I have no clear idea what my day to day life is going to look like. That makes it hard to get out of bed. It makes it hard to anticipate what adventures the day will bring. It makes me think of Bill Murry in the movie Groundhog Day.
In fairness to the depression, my retirement plan did make some sense. My side business was growing and building on that after nine years was very doable. The numbers to make it work were realistic. But my depression had other plans in mind for how I would execute this plan. My depression, as with other episodes in the past, was already planting the seeds of self-destruction. Of course, that is easier to see now. At the time, my mind was blinded by the depression.
Why can’t I do what I planned to do?
My depression started steering my actions almost from day one after retiring. Without realizing it, my emotional batteries where being discharged at an alarming rate. But I couldn’t see that. My body was beginning to let me know, I gained 20 pounds in six months.
I ignored that sign, not associating it with depression. My sleeplessness was getting worse, but I ignored that too. And when the panic attacks happened around the holidays, I pushed that aside. I worked through them and kept putting on my positive face. The newest manifestation of my depression is that I have lost 32 pounds since January.
So here I am, still wondering what my days will look like.
It occurs to me that I received two different handouts while in the hospital that might help me reason this out. The first is the list of unhelpful thinking styles. I have been quoting that like the King James Bible for the past few weeks. But they also gave me a second handout.
On this paper are a list of questions to ask yourself about what you are thinking. It is designed to help recognize these unhelpful automatic thoughts and see that there are other options which can be considered. Hmm, I like the sound of that.
In the end, I do not know what the coming weeks will look like. I have some specific activities planned in the next week, but after that, I still have choices. And right now, I’m going to find that second handout. I will ask myself those questions and see where that takes me.
It occurs to me that I can make the future anything I want. My day to day life can be built by me in such a way that I am happy about it, that I get my emotional batteries recharged, and I feel valued again. Whoops, now I think I am going into self-esteem issues. Let’s come back to that later.
I have options for what my days will look like.
My ability to see that will get better as I keep reminding myself that while I have depression, depression does not have me. It is not my boss. So, I can choose what my days will look like. Take that, depression.