I wanted to say Thank You to all those who have contacted me personally and publicly since my last post. It seems like such a small thing, but just a few words of encouragement, an offer to come visit, even a "thumbs up" that you liked a post - these things all help me feel more human and better connected.
I wasn't really prepared for the emotional crap-storm that happened shortly after I finished that last post. Apparently, just reading it, several of you could see what was going to happen. To me it just came out of the blue. I was sad, confused, angry, and upset with myself for letting the emotions spiral out of control that way. (No one ever said crazy people are logical.) In 36 hours I went from mildly disappointed, to feeling kind of blah, then crashed to depression so bad I didn't get out of bed to answer the phone. When I told my husband I was having a bad day he told me he would be home all night for me (no meetings or appointments) but instead of cuddling on the couch and watching NCIS with him, I crawled into bed and stayed there until I was woken up at 4:00 in the morning by a nightmare. The emotions of the day came crashing back to me and I felt even more worthless than before. I felt as if I was throwing a toddler style tantrum in my mind - screaming for something and as soon as I get it, it isn't good enough and I want something else.
I don't write all of this out to ask people to feel sorry for me. Pity doesn't really help anyway. The reason I share this stuff is because I am sure that I am not alone in feeling like this. Maybe someone else deals with the same thing but feels alone and weird about it, just like I used to? Just knowing that you aren't the only one can sometimes be the spark that gets you moving towards recovery. I know it was for me.
Today is much better than the last few days were. I won't say I'm completely over this little bump in the road, but I recognize how it feels to be in the recovery stages of a crash like that. I am overwhelmed with thankfulness that this bout didn't last longer than it did but I think I know why I have been able to beat it down this time. I really wanted to share this part because I know that sharing problems isn't right unless you share the solutions you have as well. Otherwise it is just called complaining.
The way I managed to snap out of this isn't because of some miraculous drug or new-wave technique. It is because I decided to ACKNOWLEDGE that this type of deep and sudden depression is not natural. Something causes it to happen that isn't normal so something extra or different must be done to make it go away. It won't go away on its own. This let me accept that I needed to ASK someone for HELP. In my case, help usually comes from giving myself permission to speak out loud about what is going through my head. The third step is ACCEPTING the help and FORGIVING myself for asking for it. Yes, asking for help makes me feel guilty because I don't want to make someone else feel bad for me or wear someone else out with my over-charged emotions. This process is in some ways more difficult and way more simple than it sounds. It doesn't work for everyone and it doesn't always work this way every time. All I know is I was a miserable, crying, mess two days ago but today I am up and dressed and writing.
As soon as I am able to realize that these bouts of depression are not natural and are not my fault I can begin to separate the icky, gray, self-loathing from the normal thoughts that should be going through my head. This is so very important for me because I am a very visual-minded person. I have to be able to see a problem in my head to find a solution for it. In this case I imagined I could SEE my Grey Monster, sitting there lounging in my head and making itself comfortable. I visualized myself standing in front of it and yelling, "Get Out NOW! You are not welcome. GO away. I don't need you."
I can't say exactly WHY this worked, but after a few minutes of repeating this visualization, I felt stronger and more calm.
Now, I am not saying it was easy or immediate or that making this choice made me instantly feel better. All it did was give me permission to look for help. That is a major step in the right direction, though, because no one can really accept help without acknowledging their need for it AND their right to accept it. Before I got to this point, I went over to my #1 sister's house and talked with her a little. I was still a miserable mess, but sometimes getting out of the house can make me feel better, at least for awhile. My sister likes to help people feel better and she has researched a lot of ways that people can help each other specifically in the areas of clinical depression. I won't lie, though. I wasn't ready to hear any of it. I let her talk and I listened, and I talked and she listened but the Grey Monster still had a hold of my brain at that point. Talking things out, I was able to kind of see what had triggered the avalanche of nastiness, but trying to overcome it at that point was just not happening.
THAT point didn't come until early the next morning. It was 4:00 in the morning. The nightmare had just startled me awake and I was huddled in bed sobbing quietly so as not to wake up DH. Yeah, I know that sounds pretty pathetic, and at the time it was. It was also beyond my control until I was able to come to terms with the fact that this was not something I was capable of handling on my own. At first, this understanding only helped to calm me down enough that I could stop crying and go back to sleep. But once I woke up the next day, I was able to see the emotional meltdown for what it was - a minor setback - and decide on plans for getting back on track.
First, I took advantage of the hour or so of quiet time I have with DH in the morning. The time between dropping the kids off at school and him leaving for work is the one time we can really be alone and uninterrupted during the day. Being able to talk things out without worrying about the kids is amazingly liberating. I think I probably needed that more than anything else.
After that, I took some time out to take care of myself with a good shower, comfy clothes, and even a little makeup. Going through the motions of fixing my hair and face kind of puts me in the frame of mind that I am worth spending a little time on. It puts me in a better mood no matter what, and I am more likely to make better choices for me for the rest of the day.
Then, I started cleaning up the mess I made while slumping around all day. I sent an a-mail apologizing for missing one of my appointments. This is a big deal because on my low days I have often missed an appointment somewhere and didn't call or notify them. Then, when I come out of the funk I am so embarrassed for being rude and inconsiderate that I would rather go somewhere else than have to face the person I stood up. That's also when I read through my e-mails and checked FB and saw all the encouraging words from you guys. I started to feel like things really would be alright again.
Just to let you all know - you are free to forward my posts or recommend them to someone you think might enjoy them. If I write something that can help someone, make a person feel better about themselves, or spread some joy somewhere, then I can say my writing is "Affective" and that would make be so very proud.
Deb "Doing Better" Lollar