I’ve been very open about my struggles with postpartum depression and anxiety that turned into persistent clinical depression and lingered long after postpartum should have been gone. It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with. Over the last 5 years I’ve noticed the pattern of depressive episodes- worse in the winter, better in the Spring, great in the Summer and early Fall. It gets easier to deal with every year. Last year I noticed less depressive episodes in the winter and very few in the rest of the year. I thought that was the best it would get. But y’all. Let me be honest here, I was still dealing with depression. It was better than before, but it was still there. And I know that now because I see the difference this year. Here’s how I know.
1. I don’t care how early I have to get up. Now don’t get me wrong, I love to sleep and I would dearly love to sleep in past 8am, especially in the summer. But I don’t care when I have to get up to take Ty to football each morning. Last year it would put me into a funk all day long, worrying about getting enough sleep to ward off a depressive episode. Lack of sleep was always a trigger for me. Now…I don’t think about it. I just set my alarm and go to sleep instead of laying awake for hours worrying about not getting sleep.
2. I don’t mind a busy day. I am an introvert by nature but in the last few years I’ve been almost a hermit. Far beyond introvert, for sure. I wanted to be in the house as much as possible and busy days were something I would dread and obsess over for days in advance. Now…my calendar is so full and I don’t care.
3. I’m happy without a specific reason. I don’t have to have something specific to look forward to in order to be happy. I don’t need to psyche myself up to be happy. I just am.
4. I’m excited about the future instead of living just day to day. I’ve lived day to day for years just to balance out my moods, not looking ahead into the future because I didn’t know how I would feel. Now I make plans and schedule things in advance without fear that I’ll want to cancel.
5. I’m reading less and socializing more. I love to read, I really really do. But I also know that I tend to hermit with my Kindle when I’m struggling with depression. I’m still reading but I’m not avoiding social activities in order to read. I have a great balance now.
6. A bad mood is just a temporary thing, not the start of a depressive cycle. This might be this biggest difference for me. For the last few years I was afraid of every bad mood. Every bad mood sent me into a panic that I was in a depressive cycle. Now I know…a bad mood is just a temporary thing and I’ll rebound later. Probably after another cup of coffee.
7. I can see the bright side or silver lining. Things happen in life that you don’t plan for and don’t want. Even last year bad news or unexpected events would send me into a depression. I struggled to see the good underneath the bad. Now…I see it. I can clearly see the bright side or the sliver lining in things that happen.
8. I can go with the flow. This is huge. I’m a scheduler. I always have been. I like things on a schedule but over the last few years it’s been almost obsessive for me. I’ve really noticed in the past few months that changes in plans don’t even phase me anymore. I just adjust and move on.
I feel really great about my progress and where I am, especially since I made the personal decision to stop any and all medications for depression and anxiety awhile ago. I’m not against medications at all, but after years of being on meds that made me feel numb, disengaged, and fuzzy headed I was ready to stop them. I rely on making sure I get adequate sleep, I eat well, I exercise every single day, and I use essential oils. So that my depression update for those of you who have been here for years and remember the bad times. Thanks for sticking around. And those of you who are still in the trenches of depression and anxiety- solidarity sisters. There is hope and it does get better. If you need a friend to listen, reach out to me. I’m here.