This is a hard post for me to write. In general, I do not talk about my depression (diagnosed) and anxiety (undiagnosed). I am a bit of a perfectionist and try to put on a good front no matter how I am feeling. But, I feel compelled to write this post and feel like the Lord wants me to write and share it. So I am. I hope this post can help someone.
Before I go further, I want to emphasize that I am okay. Please do not take this post as a cry for assistance or an invitation to tell me what I need to do. Each day is a struggle, but I am getting through using methods that are working for me.
I have struggled with depression and anxiety throughout my life. This fall, my depression and anxiety have been worse than the usually are when seasonal affective disorder hits me, even worse than last year when they were worse than usual. I have noticed thoughts that I identified in college as trigger signs that depression is hitting hard. I learned back then not to entertain those thoughts and to work to immediately throw them out. So that is what I am working to do now. I also have found the following strategies helpful:
- A happy light - I bought mine last February, and it has been a big help. While doing NaNoWriMo last month, sometimes the only way I could keep myself writing was having the light on while I wrote.
- Prayer and Scripture study - These daily practices help me stay connected to the Lord. It may not solve everything, but it is a huge help.
- Bliss drink - A family member recently recommended this drink to me. I tried it, and it does help reduce my feelings of overwhelming stress.
- Hugs from my husband - I have heard that hugging can provide all sorts of good benefits. In my case, a hug from my husband often helps calm me down and lift my spirits.
- Hobbies - Sometime participating in hobbies, even if I do not feel like doing so at the moment, can help lift me somewhat out of a funk. I have been pushing myself this week to cross-stitch for my business, and I have found the the cross-stitch helps soothe me.
- Music - Sometimes I like listening to calming classical music, and sometimes I like listening to more peppy Broadway songs. Listening to music often helps calm me down or lift my mood.
- Essential oils - Lately I have been putting a drop of lavender oil on my temples. It helps calm me down.
- Setting things aside - Sometimes it is not worth it to try and face something, so I set it aside to face another day or time. Do somethings continually remain undone? Yes. But I feel my personal sanity is more important than getting everything done that is on my never ending to do list.
- Checking in - Each night my husband asks how I did that day. Usually I answer with just a word or two, "pretty good" or "I did okay." However, checking in with him each night provides a safety net, and gives me a chance to evaluate how I did that day.
I am sure there are other things that I am doing that help me, but those are what come to mind. You might wonder why I do not having counselling and medicine on my list. I have tried those before and had some good results, but mostly not as great results. I feel like I am getting by all right without them for now, so unless I feel they are absolutely necessary, I will continue on as I am.
Dealing with depression and anxiety is not particularly fun. I often feel angry and upset. Frequently I feel like crying, and I am not one to cry. I feel lethargic. I feel overwhelmed. I feel on the brink of metaphorically falling off a cliff. I am hoping that the symptoms will ease come spring. But no matter what, I have faith that I can make it through. And I am trying each day. Below is a short poem I wrote just before writing this blog post. My hope for us all is that we can keep trying.
Sometimes I feel like crying,
Sometimes I feel like dying,
But I will keep trying.