Filling the Emptiness

For myself, so much of depression is feeling a sense of emptiness, as if there is a literal void inside of me. I picture it as a dark space that is so black it sucks in any light that tries to reach inside and turns that light to nothing. Depression isnt always about actually feeling certain emotions, like sadness for example. Sometimes it is lacking the emotions, lacking the ability to care, to give a damn, that is what really becomes a struggle.

I have been working with my therapist on different ideas to cope with depression. One of the main ones is exercise. This isnt a new idea for anyone that is struggling. It is well known that exercise increases endorphins and makes body and mind feel better. However, this kind of backfired for me. I walked almost everyday for 3 weeks for about 30 minutes at a time, but on the end of the third week I broke my ankle! I was dumbfounded, I mean who breaks their ankle by simply walking and tripping over their own feet? Me, this girl. Now its months later and I’m mostly healed, so I’m doing yoga. Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube. I’m enjoying it, but seriously, I’m waiting to see how I’m going to break something else.

I also began doing a gratitude journal. I love journaling and I keep one by me at all times so this isnt a stretch. What I do is when I am feeling down, or bored or lonely, I write down 5 things I’m grateful for. But the rule is that they have to be different things each time. I cant just say the same 5 things over and over. And, surprisingly, this can be hard sometimes. I really have to think about new things and what I appreciate. But, honestly, it works great for getting my head to start thinking in a more positive way, or at least stop the negative thought processes that hound me sometimes.

Today I’m doing pretty well. I’m feeling content with where I’m at right now. At least at this exact moment. Now, an hour from now, I could be feeling completely different. I’m hoping not, though.

One step at a time.

Depression on sunny days

It seems that everyone thinks that the cold winter months and lack of sunshine have a negative effect on emotions… That the season can cause a depression. I know this is true for many people, however, for me, winter is my favorite time of year (by the way, I live in the SE of the United States so it never gets too wintery here).

For me, I don’t like the constant sun. I especially don’t like the heat. Where I live, the heat is heavy and damp with moisture. One step outside and I feel like I’m already bathed in sweat. Its incredibly uncomfortable for me. I also like covering myself up. I do not like wearing shorts and t-shirts. I’m definitely a hoodie and jeans kinda girl. And yet, the very atmosphere I live in during spring, summer and most of fall practically forces me into less covering clothing or else I will be facing the very real possibility of heat stroke.

The sun seems to be trying to convince me to be happy. Like, “Look at these beautiful colors and leaves that glint golden in my light.” Can’t I just have some more storm clouds instead? Maybe some thunder and lightning with cold gusts of wind that create a great indoor environment perfect for reading under a blanket with a steaming cup of tea?

The sun is shining today on January 25, 2020 and its actually kinda warm outside. Why does this make me so depressed? I feel like something is wrong but I just can’t put my finger on what it is. Its like the sky is faking me out trying to convince me to be happy but I can’t fall for it. Maybe my brain just stubbornly wants to hold tight to depression on days like this.

Right now, I just wish it would rain.

One of THOSE days…

Some days are just hard. Some days everything seems so much more difficult than it should. Common chores are just too much and unwanted distractions and interruptions seem like personal attacks on me.

I really thought I was getting out of that depression slump I’ve been in. I thought things were getting better and they were. My mood was improved and those little daily annoyances were easier to handle. However, the past two days my level of aggravation and depression has been escalating. Honestly, its been escalating quite rapidly. And that makes me feel bad for the people who love and support me because I’m just not fun to be around at these times.

I don’t know if the families and support systems of people living with bipolar, depression or any mood disorder understands the guilt that goes along with it. I feel so much guilt for not being always so happy and serene and easy to get along with. I also feel deep, deep remorseful shame for the times I lash out. And honestly, I don’t know how to apologize anymore. What do simple words like, “I’m sorry” mean when I cannot promise that I will never be in such an aggravated state again? Its not enough.

I know this is an overused metaphor, but I feel like I’m on a rollercoaster. I’m going up and up and I finally reach the top but only to plummet again.

I hope anyone else who is going through this has some good ways to cope. I read and sometimes do guided meditation. However, I have to sometimes force myself to even try.

Well, I’m trying today. Just one second at a time.

On getting to therapy…

So, yeah, I made it to therapy on Thursday, January 9, 2020. I made it. However, I did not shower before I left my house and honestly, I wasn’t sure that I was even going to leave my house until I was in my car pulling out of the driveway.

A small step leads to another small step which leads to big leaps. A friend told me that. I may not have showered and dressed nicely for therapy but I did clean up and put on fresh clothes. “Got dressed today: check!” My therapist is amazing and she doesn’t judge me for this. She agrees that when my depression is so so bad, like it is now, that just leaving the house and getting to therapy is amazing.

I told her, my therapist, that next week I’m expecting her to pay me for coming. Definitely joking, but I feel like anyone going through such severe depression for any reason should get awards for any and all small accomplishments. For example, I put my coffee mug in the dishwasher and that really took effort! I know that’s terrible to admit, but geez, the dishes do not matter to me at all right now. My priority at this moment is to just simply get through today.

So, I’m saying to anyone who may also be going through depression for any reason… “A small step will lead to another small step, which will lead to big leaps.” If your just going to stay in bed today, try doing some stretches and drink some water. These little things can help your body feel better. And if your tackling anything outside of your den of safety, you’ll be okay. It will be okay.

Update on Mom and Myself! ✌🤟🤘

Mom has exactly a week and a half of radiation left. She is doing so well with it! This honestly surprises me just because I always expect the worst but also I’m just so happy. I may partially be so happy because I really didn’t expect this to go so easily. Mom uses Aloe Vera gel, unscented just straight up Aloe, and she really has no burns or redness so far. She does experience some fatigue and some short lived headaches occasionally after her treatment but it’s nothing severe. Nothing that can be compared to chemotherapy. Of course, like I said, mom’s got a week and a half left so I will see if she remains feeling as good as she does. I will update again after she completes her radiation.

I am doing well. For the past week and off and on earlier, I have been driving mom to her radiation treatments. I have no problem with this, I enjoy being up early and I also enjoy the feeling I get when I know I’m successfully helping mom. I’ve been going through a depression lately, which makes everything so much harder. I find myself drifting off into bad thoughts about random events from the past and also things that bother me but really are not a big deal. I catch myself doing this while reading and it bothers me a lot. I will be staring at the page and yet, on the inside, I am somewhere completely different and also somewhere with a very negative feeling. This scares me. It scares me because of my fear of becoming embittered. I do not want this negativity to overcome me and turn me into a person that I do not want to be.

I will say that mom and I are helping each other equally. Not only does it help me to help her, but my mom is a great person to talk to and we are both able to empathize with one another right now. This empathy, a very real understanding of our separate and yet similar issues, is also surprising to me. It’s a very pleasant surprise and I really appreciate this gift we have been given at this time to have the ability to not just care for, but to compliment our care with such complete understanding. It is a wonderful feeling.

I hope anyone else who is getting through Chemotherapy and radiation has a helper and also, as a person struggling with Bipolar 1 disorder, I understand how lucky I am to have someone like my mom and the rest of my family to simply be there.

More updates coming soon. Thanks for reading! I wish the best for everyone out there. No matter what it is your going through, please hold on to hope.

XOXO