I woke up at 6:30 this morning, after about seven hours of sleep.
An hour later, I realized that I was feeling down. Please do me the favor of letting me explore this with you.
WHY DO I FEEL THIS WAY?
I don’t know. That’s the wonder of mood disorders. I’ve been feeling pretty good lately – I’ve even done my yoga three mornings in a row and plan on doing it again after I write this.
I don’t want to say I’m depressed, because it doesn’t feel quite that way. I don’t even know if I’m sad. I just feel “down”. That’s the best word I can use to describe it.
I got good sleep, no nightmares or otherwise bad dreams; I got enough sleep, more than my usual 4-6 hours; and I’ve had my coffee.
But I feel sluggish, mopey. Maybe I should change the playlist I’m listening to? In the mornings, I often listen to my “Mellow/Acoustic” playlist on Spotify. And they’re not all sad songs, either. They’re just not high-energy.
But I have discovered that music can affect my mood. If you hang on for a moment, I’ll switch to a different playlist with more upbeat music…
Thanks. I’ve switched to my “Morning Mix” playlist and am now listening to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy”, a song that brings back happy memories of high school dances. (Yes, I’m fully aware that I’m lucky to have happy memories of high school.)
Maybe it will help get my adrenaline moving, pick me up a bit.
The weather is also kind of crappy this morning. It rained all day yesterday and into the night, and right now, it’s overcast and humid. I was supposed to play tennis in an hour, but there’s no way the courts will be dry in time, so I canceled. Tennis courts get slick when they’re wet, and I’m not going to risk a twisted ankle or knee.
Besides, I have another tennis date in two days with my second cousin, Peggy. We are well-matched and have a lot of fun when we hit, and I’m looking forward to that.
I was also reminded this morning that September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, which is a sobering thought. That might have something to do with it, too.
MY PLAN TO GET UNSTUCK
Writing often helps me figure things out and make sense out of what’s running through my head. I was going to write about Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, but that seemed too heavy for today. I’d rather try and put a positive spin on what I’m feeling today.
My plan for the morning, so that I feel better, is as follows:
- Write (duh)
- Upbeat music (already started)
- Yoga (as soon as I’m done with this post)
- Meditation (after yoga)
I also have some phone calls I’ve been putting off, and that always makes me feel guilty. I HATE the phone! Texting is fine, but making phone calls is a real turn-off. The fifty-pound phone is just too much to deal with most days.
I need to make an appointment with my shrink, Dr. Nelson. I’m overdue for an appointment by four weeks. He always makes me feel better; he’s very reassuring, and I enjoy our intellectual discussions and his sense of humor. So I’ll call his office this morning and set something up.
I also need to call my neurologist’s office to reschedule a Botox appointment for my headaches. (If you have migraines, I have found the combination of Botox and Propranolol to be very effective. You may want to check into it. But make sure you see a headache specialist!) Hopefully, it won’t take very long to get in, but you never know.
I was supposed to get my Botox last Monday, but I had to cancel because I was having chest pain. I went to the ER, where they did an EKG, and everything was fine. (Of course; there’s never anything wrong with me.) Based on my symptoms, though, the doctor thought I might have an ulcer.
So my third phone call this morning will be to a clinic for an endoscopy. My acid reflux and my stomach have really been acting up a lot the last couple months. Maybe an endoscopy will help get to the bottom of it because acid reflux sucks. Makes me feel like I’m going to throw up.
Now, I know what you might be thinking – “make the calls already, Laura! It’s no big deal!” But I have this near-phobia of making phone calls. I get really nervous. I’m one of those people who rehearses everything I’m going to say. I’m just not that good off the top of my head. I’d rather be prepared.
So, maybe, after I do all this, I’ll feel a little better. I’ll have more direction and will be on the way to better mental health – and, hopefully, better physical health, too.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS CAN KEEP YOU DOWN
I don’t know about you, but when I leave things undone – like phone calls and other small tasks (or large tasks), I feel a lot of pressure. I feel like I’m behind on things, which is a huge trigger for my anxiety, which can lead to overwhelm and maybe a little meltdown.
I’m a procrastinator, which I honestly think has its origins in fear. Fear of making phone calls, fear of having my first endoscopy (what if they find something?), fear of lots of things.
I’m learning now, though, that the fear of knowing is more palatable than the fear of not knowing. One might think this would be impetus enough to take care of business, then, but it’s not that easy. Not for me, anyway.
I do know that it’s best if I do things right away, right when I’m thinking of them. Otherwise, I let them go and they become bigger and bigger in my mind until I feel paralyzed.
I’m constantly working on that.
I’m just going to guess that you might be that way, too. You put off seemingly-simple things for whatever reason, and then they just pile up and become overwhelming. Am I right?
One of the many things I’ve learned throughout my journey is that I feel better when I do something. As my old therapist once told me, you can feel like shit and still get something done. I know now that she was right, yet I constantly have to remind myself of this. Black-and-white thinking is my enemy.
Thinking that my day is shot because I don’t feel the best is one of the worst things I can do, yet it’s the nature of the depressive beast. It’s a constant battle.
Peeling myself off the couch (I should really be writing at the dining room table anyway) to grab my phone and the calendar so I can make these appointments can be so hard. It takes a lot of energy, believe it or not.
But I need to do it in order to feel like I’ve accomplished something.
Even though it’s only 8:30 in the morning, I feel anxious and down. But I also now feel like I know what I have to do in order to feel a little better, simply because I wrote it down in this post.
JUST DO IT!
It is that simple, and it is that hard. Hey, “simple” doesn’t mean “easy”. They are two different concepts. For instance, getting through a workout class is “simple”: You just attend the classes and do the work. Right? Ah yes, but it’s not necessarily “easy”.
You may not be in the greatest shape, you may feel embarrassed by your lack of stamina, your schedule and/or mental health issues may make it incredibly difficult even to attend the classes, and you may have a hundred other things on your plate that are more urgent. Again, a simple concept can be very difficult to execute.
In my case, it may seem simple and even easy to you to make a few phone calls and schedule some appointments. But for me, it’s a chore. I have to psych myself up for each call, and then there’s the difficulty of finding a time that will work with my overwhelming schedule.
However, I know I will feel better having done it. It will be three things I can cross off my “to-do” list (they’ve been on that list for over a week now).
Same with the yoga, meditation, and picking my mood up.
It all reminds me of when I was in my late teens (?) and joined an aerobics class with my mom. Remember those? Legwarmers, headbands, dance music?! I despised the idea of going and would come up with all kinds of excuses not to go, but once I got there and started doing it, I felt better almost immediately. Afterward, I felt great and would always wonder why it was so hard to get going in the first place.
Much of life is like that, I think. It’s hard to get going, but it’s so worth it. Even when it seems like you can’t, you can. And that feels damn good.
IN A NUTSHELL…
- I’m not feeling so hot today, but I feel better after having written this.
- It helps to have a (flexible) plan, something you can look forward to.
- The phone doesn’t actually weigh 50 lbs., even though it seems like it does!
- Making a list of things you need or want to do can help; but it can also seem daunting. Make your goals for the
- day practical and doable, depending on where you’re at.
- It’s okay to have a “to-do” list of only one or two things.
- Black-and-white thinking really limits our ability to enjoy the day.
- Do something for you You’ll feel better for it.
- Many things are hard to do – like going to the gym – but you feel better afterward.
SOMETHING TO PONDER:
- What are you going to do today that you’ve been putting off? What are you going to do for yourself today?
If you need encouragement or have questions, feel free to email me at Laura(at)DepressionWarrior(dot)com.
(Ever wonder why some people put their email addresses like that? It’s because if you put it in standard, clickable form, bots tend to come out of the woodwork and send you lots of spam.)
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A version of this post was previously published on DepressionWarrior and is republished here with permission from the author
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