Monday, April 12, 2010

When You're Between a Rock and a Hard Place - a Mental Checklist

Note to a friend:

ok, cause I like to look stuff up :

and it makes me feel less helpless ...

I think it's weird articles about depression don't usually address what I call situational blues. I mean if your dog dies, your sad, and even depressed sometimes. Pretty common sense to me.

Not that you asked, but since it runs in my family and I first had to deal with it after Darryl died [25 years ago] (I did consider suicide) and then after the two suicides [in my family] (one from depression, the other probably addiction and probably both from bi-polar), and even recently with job/money problems I've learned, thru the years that these few things help most:

1. know that losing your perspective is a big part of it. Choices seem really limited, and they may be, but usually there are more than you can see when you are really down. Don't let the depression fool you. It lies!

2. let yourself be down when you can. To me it was like a rip tide. Instead of fighting it, I did what I had to do (the minimum) and then let myself stay in bed sometimes, watch tv or sleep extra. I sort of swam parallel to the shore until it lifted. More than 2 days of it was a *really* big warning flag, unless some event had set me off, like a death.

3. I try to practice extreme self care - that means trying to eat, sleep, and get up and around a bit. I don't push myself hard, but gently. I know that when I get a few things accomplished, I feel a bit better, even if only a tiny bit.

4. (more self care) I give myself credit for bad days when I can only get one or two things done, besides getting dressed, eating, taking care of G, walking the dogs.

5. (more self care) I make damn sure to stay in touch with a few close friends/family. I may not be able to call them when it is at it's worst, but I make a point to call them as soon as I can after. Even just saying "I've had a few really bad days" makes me feel less alone. I make myself reach out even when I don't feel like it. Again, friends/family help me fight tunnel vision, which adds to the whole cycle (worthlessness, being trapped or stuck, no energy, no interest in anything, can't solve my problems, etc. etc)

6. I told my friends and family, when it got real bad, to check on me. Again, a life line is there to keep you from going under - use it. You would do the same for me/them!

7. I've had a few close friends who have gone on drugs for a short time to get thru. I made sure to find out what I would do next if it got worse.

8. I also break down a list of the "big rocks" when I feel up to it. This makes all the swirling shit seem a bit less overwhelming. I put them in "boxes" : Health, Kids, Money, Job, House - sometimes that's all I can list. Sometimes I have to add a box called "Problems with ex". On a good day I'll add easier stuff, like Spirit.

9. I do believe - know - that the universe responds to prayer. Even just [saying] "help" can make a huge difference. I ask for signs, and then watch for them.

10. Oh yeah, and whenever I can I make sure to think about what is good in my life. I say "thanks" for healthy kids, my health and for the loving people in my life. And other times I get mad at G-d. I think she can take it ;) The other day, I thought we were going to have a throw down!

Let me know if you want to talk about it. If you don't mind the emails, I'll send notes when I need to check on you. That ok? Mind if I offer suggestions?


[love the way I ask if it's ok to offer suggestions at the END of the note - pushy broad]

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