I am regaining control of my life. It’s amazing to think where I was a year ago. I was in the middle of going through ECT treatment for depression which has been hard to treat with typical anti-depressants. My marriage was falling apart, I was unrecognizable to myself. Slowly the light is coming back to my life and while my life is turning out differently than I pictured I am beginning to see new opportunities arise and I am finding my voice and my strength again.
What steps have I had to take to get back to this point?
For one thing, there has been a lot of talk therapy. I am very good at burying my feelings and emotions. I am very good at painting the picture that everything is ok when it is not. I am not sure why this is. I have always been a go with the flow, don’t ruffle the feathers kind of person. While this has many merits can also be self-harming in that I can often go along with something that may not be in my best interest or may not be what I want. Through talk therapy I am forced to confront my feelings and emotions. I am taking a hard look at myself and why I am the way I am. I am learning to find a stronger voice to figure out how to say no at times and not to go along with everything just to keep things easy.
This is the most out of control that I have ever felt which for a perfectionist is almost impossible and perhaps one of the reasons why I sank so low. I have had to learn to accept the feeling of not being in control of everything. I have had to sit with these feelings and to allow them to flow over me. Surfing this year taught me a huge lesson in accepting the lack of control. In order to catch a wave I had to let go and trust that the wave would carry me. I had to trust in myself that I knew what to do and that I would be ok. It’s hard to describe the intense feeling of riding that wave. I imagine it to be somewhat like when you jump out of an airplane at least for a moment. It is a little terrifying but what you gain from going for it is immeasurable. I am trying so hard to not worry so much about the outcome and to embrace the journey and the lessons that I am learning even if they are hard.
Writing has helped me to open up an communicate my feelings. Even if no one reads my words, writing them down has helped me to process what I have gone through and where I am now. This blog has given me a voice that I don’t think I would have otherwise. I want to be open about my journey because not only does it help me but I may be helping someone else too.
Letting go of running for a little while is another step that has been crucial for me this year. While I did not quit running altogether, I put racing and training for races aside for a bit. I needed a break from the extra pressure that I can put on myself to achieve certain goals. I did not need that added pressure. I have finally decided it is time to go for a running goal again because I feel like I can handle the added challenge. In fact I am craving it.
I have been making sure to get adequate sleep. When I was in the bad part of my depression, sleep became difficult and I would often spend nights up late. I have been trying to create a more regular bedtime at an earlier hour. When I am severely depressed my energy is low so getting enough sleep is essential to help with boosting my energy level. Poor sleep can elevate feelings of being depressed so addressing my sleep needs has been essential. Good sleep hygiene has also meant doing non-stressful activities such as quiet reading or meditation prior to bed. Also limiting use of screens before bed is helpful because the blue light that they emit can be harmful to getting into restful sleep.
Getting out to do things that are enjoyable with other people has been critical too. This seems intuitive but when you are depressed the desire is often to shut yourself off from the world. I am trying hard to not cocoon myself in my house rather to get out and be active and to try new things and to meet new people. This is an area where I am trying to say yes more.
I am work in progress but can see the light again!