Wednesday, November 21, 2012
A friend of mine once described it as swallowing a rancid golf ball. I don't know how she knew what a rancid golf ball tastes like, but it seems like a pretty accurate description - that feeling of -something- in the pit of your stomach, and that -something- isn't right. It's emotion, all right, but it's not your emotion, no matter how hard it tries. It's an impostor, but it still takes over everything. Letting the golf ball drive isn't fun.
I've been lucky with depression over the last several years. At one point, it was so bad I could barely leave my house. I didn't recognize how bad it was at the time (Like many, I assumed that my depression wasn't legit because obviously I'd screwed up my life enough to deserve it), but it was there and it was very, very real. I went on medication, had some therapy sessions to deal with some of the medical issues, and now it's mostly under control with diet and exercise.
The upside to being fairly 'normal' for the first time in my life is that I immediately recognize when the golf ball comes back. Oh, it'll catch me off guard for a couple days, and sometimes even if you're fully aware it can be a bitch to fight through, but at least you know what it is. You know that it's not you.
So, that's where my head's been the last few days. I've been muddling through some mild to moderate depression (mild in comparison to what I dealt with before, moderate compared to what I've been lucky enough to experience in recent years). It's been slowly dragging me down, while the stress mounts and the energy disappears. A couple days I pin pointed that this was more than just normal work stress or season depression. I had a good cry and a long talk with my husband the other night to try to sort some of it out and separate the invader emotion that was hitchhiking on normal, everyday issues.
Right now, my priority is, like usual, eating well and moving my body. I've mostly kept my eating in check, but it hasn't exactly been stellar. I need balanced food to be healthy, so that's the number one priority. I've also been shrugging off workouts. It's hard to get out when it's cold and dark after work, and even harder to go to the gym. I skipped my Sunday long run because I had very important youtube videos of Neil Patrick Harris singing to watch. Then I wimped out on Monday when I got stuck late at work and it was pitch black when I left the office. Yesterday I started fresh and went for a nice 5k, even though it was snowing, and I started to feel renewed. I tacked on an hour of weights in front of the TV, which was more of an emotional victory than a physical one because strength training is the first thing to go when I'm not feeling it. I've planned my meals for the week so that I know what I'm cooking, and I'm making myself a promise not to give tasty foods a bad association by stuffing my face with them when I'm feeling down.
My sleep has been crap, so that's the next priority. Sleep and water.
Finally, I'm giving myself a day off on Friday to just relax. The last few weekends have been slightly stressful and packed with errands and chores. Even when I did relax, I felt guilty for not doing something more productive. Friday is just for me. We're thinking we might go to the zoo, since Nick has the day off. Whatever we do, it's a recovery day, as much as a day off when you have a headcold.
So, I'm feeling better today and working my way back to normal. I could still use a long nap or a comforting hot chocolate right now, but at least I feel mostly like myself and not a rancid golf ball. That's progress.