Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Some days, it's good enough.

Yesterday was acceptable. Not perfect, but also far from worthless.

I like making lists. I make lists for just about everything. Mostly to-do lists. I don't know what my obsession is, but I know it used to be much worse. I used to write them on my hand. I had a very complicated shorthand system so others couldn't read what I wrote and they just thought it was gibberish.

I read somewhere once that people with depression should try to do something, even if it's small, on days when you feel like all you can do is lay on the couch and let your thoughts take you to horrible places. Wash the dishes. If you can't wash all the dishes, wash a dish. Cook a healthy meal. If you can't do that, defreeze the chicken so you can cook tomorrow. That kind of thinking has helped me a lot, because I can accept that I'm feeling horrible, and it's a valid feeling, but I can also do something small to help me out of it.  If I can do more than wash a dish or defreeze the chicken, great. But I'm not pressuring myself to do more than I can possibly do.

I made my to-do list sort of ambitious, even as I was making it I knew all these things weren't likely to get accomplished. But I did accomplish a lot.  I made guacamole and lunches for the next few days. I prepped the chicken for the curry I'm going to make tonight. I did the dishes and folded the laundry. I didn't run though. So I brought my clothes with me today and I won't leave to go home until I at least walk 2 miles.  I know exercise is difficult with depression, (especially when you're just starting) because it's hard enough to get out the door and go to work. Or carry groceries home, or just walking a lot. And even though I know how I'm going to feel even after a few days of running, it is still so hard to get my feet out the door. It's hard to get your feet out the door to run even if you don't have depression. Just type in 'running motivation' to Google and you'll get millions of reasons to run. It's really, really hard some days, especially when your anxiety tries to do this every morning:

Art by Claire Jarvis

Depression can physically hurt. It's not a symptom I think about often, but when I was carrying two grocery bags home yesterday. and I couldn't get a seat on the train because it was too crowded.  And I was miserable and in a lot of pain. These bags weren't that heavy, but the entire ride home was miserable. That's probably why I didn't go out for my run as soon as I got home. I decided to sit down and read for a few hours on my cozy recliner instead.

So, some days you don't get everything done. Most days you're not going to be perfect. But guess what? It's good enough.  And so am I.

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