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Waking Up with Depression and Anxiety, a play in one act. 

Waking Up with Depression and Anxiety, a play in one act. 

[CURTAIN RISES]

ME: *turning off my alarm* Feeling pretty good about myself today!

DEPRESSION: Really? Did you forget about all the sad and/embarrassing things that have happened in your life?

ME: No, I didn’t forget, I just-

DEPRESSION: Remember that time in ninth grade when someone wrote something mean about you in your friend’s yearbook? Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on July 10, 2017 in Depression, Life in General

 

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Holding on to What I Haven’t Got

Holding on to What I Haven’t Got

Do you ever randomly think of someone you haven’t seen in ages? This happens to me a lot. All day long, various things will remind me of my friends or family members. It’s like having a memory player on shuffle in my mind all the time. Sometimes it’s people I see every day. Sometimes it’s people I haven’t seen in years.  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2016 in Depression, Life in General

 

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The difference between sadness and Depression

Imagine you are treading water, just managing to keep your head above the surface. The longer you do this, the more difficult it becomes to stay afloat. Now imagine someone drops a weight in your arms. You can’t let go of the weight because it is glued to your hands. You no longer have the use of your arms to help you stay up, and your legs are tired so you begin to sink. That weight could be any number of difficult emotional situations. It will take you a while to shake it off. You might think the difference between ordinary sadness and Depression is how heavy the weight is, or how strong your legs are. You would be wrong.
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Posted by on February 25, 2013 in Depression, Life in General

 

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Why I love my husband and also sort of want to punch him in the face sometimes

For most people who suffer from it, depression is an illness which is always on the horizon. It’s no different for me. Even when things are good, I know eventually the beast will return eventually. And when it does, I sometimes forget how to be myself for a while. To illustrate, here are some common every day occurences broken down into my normal & depressed reactions:
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Posted by on July 15, 2012 in Life in General, My new life plan

 

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Something is Different

Something is Different

I was going to write a blog about my trip to Spamalot with my parents but you will all have to wait for that because I have something much more important to say. This morning, for the first time in years, I woke up on the right side of the bed.

I don’t know what happened, but something inside me has changed, and I’m afraid if I don’t write about it I will lose it. I have navigated through the hills and valleys of depression for years, so I know this could easily disappear if I don’t grab onto it with both hands.

It started last weekend. Last weekend, I went to the gym as I always do – reluctantly. But something clicked while I was there, and I actually kind of enjoyed it. I KNOW, RIGHT?! When I left, I was actually looking forward to going back. On Monday I knew I wouldn’t have time to go in the evening, so I skipped lunch and went to the gym instead. (Say what? No, really, I did!)

This isn’t the first time in my life I have been shocked to find I enjoyed exercising. Not long after my son was born I fell in love with TaeBo. I looked forward to my daily TaeBo workout; at some point during my pregnancy with my daughter I had to stop, and at every checkup after that I asked my doctor when she thought I’d be able to start TaeBo again. When I finally got the green light, I found it wasn’t the same and it didn’t quite engage me like it used to.  It was around this time when I was finally diagnosed with clinical depression. A few months later we moved from the Minneapolis area to Fargo, ND. Overall the move was a positive thing for the family, but it was a difficult adjustment. I got a part-time job I loved, but I had to leave because we needed a full-time salary and benefits. I worked for a year at a large travel agency and I loved my job…until September 11, 2001. That day I went to work and had to leave immediately because it was too traumatic. Two months later I left for a job in retail.

In early 2003 something struck me again. I dusted off my TaeBo tapes [remember VHS, kids?] and made a bargain with myself. I bought a pair of boots I loved, but I told myself I could not wear them for two months, and then only if I had exercised at least 5 days per week. I also quit drinking pop (or soda, or whatever you call it where you live). It worked; two months later those fabulous boots were on my feet and within a few months I was wearing clothes that would have fit me in high school.

I was energized and motivated. I quit my retail job and went to work for the zoo and the humane society. I went back to school to get a vet tech degree. During this time I also discovered Tae Kwon Do. I loved this too, with all my heart. It broke my heart the day I had to give it up (between work and school and the kids it no longer fit into my schedule). My heart still aches a bit when I drive by my old gym. Perhaps someday…

But today was a different day. Today when I woke up, I did not have to claw my way through a fog of negative thoughts just to motivate myself out of bed. Even more amazing to me, I looked at my dog and realized I wanted to sketch him. I used to hold a pencil like it was a part of my hand; I could not sit in front of a piece of paper without drawing something on it. For years though, I have not really been able to draw, even when asked. The muse had simply left me. But today I woke up and I wanted a sketchbook. So I am going to get one.

Because today, for the first time in years, I feel like I am going to stay happy, and I don’t want to lose it.

UPDATE:
Here is the first sketch I drew with the new pencils and sketchbook I bought today. In case you have never met her, that’s my Saint Bernard, Selby. [Sleeping on my bed, where she is normally not allowed to be].

A pencil drawing of a sleeping Saint Bernard's face

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2012 in Depression, Life in General, My new life plan

 

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What a difference a year makes

Today I am 3 dozen years old. I had a great day. I went to work, went out to lunch with Ian & the kids, went back to work, then went out to spend a gift card my in-laws had sent me. I used another gift card from Christmas to buy myself this awesome lego set. When I got home I opened the rest of my cards and presents (Adele: 21 on CD, gift cards to my one of my favorite lunch restaurants, and the Lego Star Wars III video game). Then I took Stephen to his guitar lesson, and afterwards we watched a couple of episodes of the Muppet Show (which I received as a Christmas gift, along with THIS AMAZING THING, which won Ian the Husband of the Year Award.)

Other than the bit about the gifts, the day was actually pretty ordinary but I don’t mind at all. In fact, ordinary is exceptional for me. Though I have been battling depression for many years, the last year or two have been a real struggle for me. This time last year I was miserable. I was working 3 jobs, and hardly sleeping; apart from Christmas Day, I don’t think I’d had a day off since Thanksgiving. To say I was exhausted would be severely underestimating my condition. I was also recovering from a painful rejection from a local vet clinic where I had thought I was a shoe-in for a vet tech job. At the time, some friends of mine and I were developing an exciting non-profit project, but I was so busy with all my jobs I hardly contributed. Early this year that project hit a brick wall, and in February it completely choked. When it became clear that we would not be able to revive the project, I almost lost it completely. I was so depressed that I took my lunch breaks alone in an empty conference room so I wouldn’t have to pretend to be happy and make small talk with people.

Then something wonderful happened. My miserable full-time job got suddenly and dramatically worse, which forced me to finally look for something else. I called the temp agency which had previously been helping me in my job search, and told them I was back on the market. As it happened, they had recently received an opportunity which almost exactly fit the description of my perfect job. I can’t even describe how badly I wanted the job. At last I got what I wanted; the job was mine. I quit one of my part-time jobs and focused on healing myself. Eight months later, I am continually amazed at the difference the new job has made in my life. Of course there are frustrations as there would be with any job, but compared to the positives, these are minimal. I absolutely love my job. The lack of stress and the fabulous benefits have improved my life so much I can’t even do it justice here; you will just have to take my word for it. Maybe by this time next year, I will finally remember what it’s like to feel “normal”. For now, I am more than happy with what I’ve got. Thank you all for being there for me this year; I can’t wait to see what wonders the next year holds and I look forward to sharing it all with you!

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2011 in Family Life, Life in General

 

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Progress and Setbacks

If you’ve read my previous post, Inertia you already know that I suffer from depression. I was diagnosed with depression over 10 years ago following a crippling episode of post-partum depression. I do what I can to cope, including seeing a counselor and taking medication. I have known people who suffer through it and refuse to seek treatment, but I don’t understand why. If you suffer from heart disease, you do what you doctor says to treat it, right? If you are diabetic, you control your diet and use insulin when needed, right? There’s no reason to be ashamed of asking for help when you need it. If you are one of those people who thinks depression is just mind over matter and that you can just wish it away, you can kiss my ass. That may work for some people, but I am not one of them.

The thing about depression is that it never goes away; it just waits. Even with medication and counseling, I still have peaks and valleys. This weekend I found myself at the bottom of a canyon with no idea what I was doing there. I know that eventually I will find my way out again but for now I just have to make myself get up out of bed and do something, or I won’t do anything at all. I’m lucky to have a wonderful, loving, supportive family to remind me that things are not hopeless. As Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) put it recently, “depression is a lying bastard”. It helps to have someone in your life who can help you see through the bullshit.

It also helps not to watch shows like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition when you are in a very weepy kind of mood. If you’ll excuse me, I need more Kleenex because this box is empty.

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2011 in Life in General

 

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