My Spirit Animal Is Eeyore

Eeyore-Quotes-12I’ve been feeling really good lately. And sometimes I worry. I’ve opened up to people that I’m depressed. The image that people possibly have of depressed people may fall around the image of Eeyore and always walking around with this perpetual dark cloud over his head. Am I being a liar that I have depression and I’m smiling and laughing and enjoying life? I have these moments where I wonder if I should stop smiling and have this look on my face that says “Hi I’m depressed” but I don’t. Please understand that even though I feel good and I’m in a good place, I still have depression.

I don’t share with many people when I’m in a depressed state. People who truly know me will figure it out quickly and if you are one of the few people I trust, I will just say “I’m just having a day” which is my way of saying depression has set up roost in my body at that moment. If you don’t know me well enough but can sense or read me, I’ll just seem off. Like my smile doesn’t reach my eyes or I’m extremely quiet or distant. If I’m in a bad place, I’ll just want to curl up on my side and sleep and just ask to be left alone.

I see depression as an article of clothing. Imagine one of those suits that cover you head to toe. img-product-lime2-f This is what depression felt like for me this past summer. It consumed me. It felt like it was strangling me and I couldn’t find a way out of it.The suit wouldn’t let me just be still. I had this sense of needing to keep moving. Unfortunately for me at that time, I did anything possible to not be in my house. No one was there, they were all away and I hated the sound of no one home. Sometimes, the head of the suit would fade away and I’d have moments of happiness and feeling good. Those moments didn’t always last long, but the depression suit didn’t come back to consume me like it did. At times the depression suit looked like an actual suit. More of my natural

At times the depression suit looked like an actual suit. More of my natural self-showing through and I could take off the parts of depression that felt heavy and confining. Then they’d go back on when the AT’s (automatic thoughts) came racing back in. I started therapy (with an amazing therapist) and decided to dive in. So the depression suit started to look like a tee shirt and jeans. Less control of me and less confining. Over time the depression suit began to become smaller and smaller. I could hang up the old suits and learn how to live with the new suit. Now I imagine depression to be like a tee shirt, more like an undershirt. The kind we wore when we were kids. We knew the undershirt was on, but no one could see it. They only saw the clothes we wore. My clothes are my feeling good and my happiness and my genuine smile. My depression suit is my undershirt that no one can see (unless I let them) and I always know it is there.

I’m very far from saying that I’ve conquered my depression. I honestly don’t think I can ever “conquer” it. I’ve got a handle on my triggers and how to handle them. Some I have to avoid or the depression suit will have me in turtlenecks and long pants sweating in the summer. Sometimes the undershirt of depression can be itchy. It wants to remind me that there are things that I have not completely gone away. That the issues will still float to the surface begging to be itched and become annoying. But that’s the thing. I’m learning how to deal with those triggers and learning that it’s okay to be happy and to be in a place of feeling good. I’ll always be scared of my depression. It terrifies me that it can come back when I’m not looking and consume me again.

I texted someone this morning and said this “I do have my moments where I have my doubts about things and I get worried I’m slipping back. But I hold on to what I know to be true and try to keep the doubts at bay.” I mean that with all my heart. I’ve had to learn what is true and what I can trust. I feel like my belief in myself was shaken to the core in what I’ve been through in the past year and I have to learn to believe in myself; that I am stronger than I think I am. I needed to learn that there are people there for me and who genuinely care for me. I needed to learn that I do not cause more bad than good.

I have learned that it’s okay to feel good, to be in a good place and to be happy and still have depression. Depression does not define me. It is just a part of me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shiny Happy People

I seem to be on a kick about happiness. I’m struggling with it during the “most wonderful time of the year”. I tried…I’m trying so hard to get into the Christmas spirit. Too feel jolly and non Grinchy. It’s not working. I can’t stand to listen to any more Christmas music. Even my holiday trifecta of the Waitresses “Christmas Wrapping”, John and Yoko’s “War is Over”, and Springsteen’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”. I even got the Principal here at my school to let the staff do an Ugly Holiday Sweater Day for Friday and I just don’t care.

So, why am I just so…..blah?

Some mental health experts give/gave some tips on how to be happier.

#1 – Realize that happiness doesn’t mean having everything you want and being problem-free all the time.  No, we can’t always be problem free. Having a perfect life in itself is a problem. If you have everything that you want all the time, you have nothing too strive for or look forward to. In the same tone, we don’t have to be the victim of the bad things (as we percieve them to be) that happen to us. We need to take what happens to us in both negative and positive and see what we can learn from them.-

#2 – Cut “should” from your vocabulary, because it basically guarantees whatever you think “should” happen, won’t. The would should makes us try to live up to something that isn’t always atainable. Then we feel guilty about not being able to reach those expectations. Our behavior changes us to act in a way that is opposite than what we want to achieve.

#3- Remember that your negative thoughts are not true. They’re just thoughts. People like me believe that their inner voice tell them that the thoughts in their head are true and are most of the time the negative ones are the ones we..or I in particular … overthink and focus on. While in my heart of hearts, you know these thoughts are just thoughts and there is no basis in them.

#4 – Start your day by reminding yourself one positive thing about your life. I mean when you struggle with depression and anxiety, just getting out of bed and taking a shower and getting dressed is a major positive thing you should be proud of.

#5 – Actually take the time to plan short-term pleasure AND long-term goals (make your life the way your want it to be) I’ve never been one to plan out my weeks, but I do plan out my workout/gym time. I have to stop and see if I have doctor’s appointments and if my children have things that need me there and then I plan my week out. I always like to have some type of goal to work towards even if it is something like cleaning a room or meeting a weight goal.

#6 – Treat yourself with compassion and lots of love. I’m not very good at this. I am bery bad at self talk in a positive manner. I always go to the negative and no matter what it is, even something I am currently struggling with in my head – I know it’s not true, but I’m pushing the negative thoughts in my head. When people turn to me with problems, I’m the first one to tell them to cut themselves some slack and how there is nothing wrong with them or their self believed flaws. While I, on the other hand, see all my flaws and magnify them making me feel like a monster that should be shunned.

#7 – Don’t forget that your physical health has an impact on your mental health, too. I have heard this from my primary care doctor, my therapist and my trainer. Less so on the last part. But he and I did discuss that my going to the gym has helped me with my anxiety and depression. Well more like he asked and I told him that. Even when I struggle with things at the gym, it has been my zen place. When I don’t go I feel it and I don’t mean in my muscles.

#8 – Several times throughout your day, take a deep breath and tell yourself that everythingis OK. Eventually, your brain will get the memo. I’ve had to learn to do this. I’ve had to just stop my brain from carrying on and going crazy with my overthinking and with the thousands of things whirling around in it and take a breath to clear things out.

#9 Make a conscious effort to take care of your mental health the same way you would your physical health. I have just now started to do that.

#10 BE childlike 

If You’re Happy and You Know It…

Good for you1  Sorry, cold coffee in mug, cold temps outside, Monday morning snarkiness is high.

While I was purusing Tumblr  as I do to just look at really amazing home decor and gym motivation things, I came across a post that is about the 12 things happy people do differently. Well; if you can entertain me for a post, I’m going to compare myself to these 12 things to see what I do wrong.

#1 – Express gratitude: When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value. If we aren’t thankful for what we already have, we will have a hard time ever being happy. Well I do appreciate what I have, my family, my support system, all of them. While I will admit that I sometimes forget to tell them how much I appreciate them.

#2 – Cultivate optimism – people who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times.  I do think optimistically….for others. I will always help people look on the brighter side, while in terms of myself, I am more of a pessimist.

#3 – Avoid over-thinking and social comparison – Compairing yourself to someone else can be poisonous. The only person you should compare to is yourself before now. I see these as two different things. I am the Duchess of Overthinking. The Queen of it. I over think things 99% of the time. Every time I do it, it ends up being a form of self torture. I see social comparison as completely different and it is something I do as well. I’m trying to do better with it, but it’s not an easy thing.

#4- Practice acts of kindness – Selflessly helping somone is a super powerful way to feel good inside. Perfect example of this happended yesterday for me. At the drive thru line at Staruck’s (yes I was too lazy to go inside) the barrister at the window told me that the car in front had paid for my order. I intern felt so touched by that gesture that I paid for the person behind me. I was told I was the 4th person in line to do this. I hope the gesture continued on for more cars.

#5- Nurture social relationships – The happiest people on the planet are the ones who have deep, meaningful relationships. I have nothing. No seriously. I don’t have relationships like this.

#6 – Develop strategies for coping – It helps to have healthy strategies for coping pre-rehearsed, on-call, and in your aresenal at your disposal. Working on that now. Some days it’s easy, sometimes I draw blanks.

#7 – Learn to forgive – Harboring feelings of hatred is horrible for your well-being. I can forgive for my own sense of peace, but I will always remember.

#8 – Increase flow experiences – Flow is a state in which it feels like time stands still. It’s when you’re so focused on what you’re doing that you become one with the task. Nothing is distracting you or competing for your focus….I’ve got nothing on this one.

#9 – Savor life’s joys – Deep happiness cannot exist withoug slowing down to enjoy the joy. ….Again, I have nothing on this one either.

#10 – Commit to your goals – Magical things start happening when we commit ourselves to doing whetever it takes to get somewhere. I know I am happy when I set my goals and focus to achieve them.

#11 Practice spirituality  – When we practice spirituality or religion, we recognize that life is bigger than us. I’m Agnostic and I will say that everyone has the right to focus on whatever makes them at peace.

#12 – Taker care of your body – Taking care of your body is crucial to being the happiest person you can be. I do that everyday.

 

I guess I’m the Grinch 17caf71428c14ae70e71f31e873522ea