Saturday, February 16, 2013

My Tower

{Photo published on web here}
Just when I think I am doing really well, I get the feet knocked out from under me.  I am looking up from the ground thinking, “How did this happen?”  Well, it’s more like I am looking out from under my fortress of covers and soggy tissues at two o’clock in the afternoon.

I have been taking care of myself, going to therapy, taking my meds, meditating, and talking about my feelings.  In my opinion, I am doing everything right.  Heck, even in the books of professionals, I am taking steps in the right direction.

A prominent symptom of depression is severe lack of energy and feeling tired all the time.  It is not necessarily the want of motivation; I think I would, for sure, be motivated if I didn’t want to sleep all the time…maybe…I don’t know…maybe not...  Anyway, this symptom of fatigue is usually the last one to go away in the process of healing.

Just when I think I am gaining speed toward a slight resemblance of normalcy, I find I am taking 14 steps backward.  At least, that is what it feels like.

The mornings have always been really difficult for me.  There is something so incredibly daunting about the start of new day.  Each new day I have to start over and build my self-esteem from scratch.  I get no roll-over days.  In the first moments of the morning, I have extreme hopelessness s and deep despair.  I have to remind myself about what I believe in and why I am doing what I am doing.  And then, I play that track on repeat.

There is no amount of healthy eating, exercise, coffee, vitamin D, or energy boosting smoothies that will do the trick.  I am sure they help a little.  But for all you self-proclaimed doctors, there is no “quick fix” or cure.

Every morning I have to rebuild my positive outlook, thought for thought, block for block.  Sometimes, I can build a sturdy tower out of Legos that lock into each other and are difficult to knock down.  At those times, I am really proud of my creations.  Most of the time, however, all I can muster is a crooked structure that kind of resembles a tower but looks more like the game Jenga in the final moments before it tumbles.  A slight breeze or a soft bump of the table and I come crumbling down.

99 out of 100 times, my tower falls over before I even get out of bed.  The whole day I am behind, trying to pick up the pieces and rebuild with no luck.

At the end of the day, all I can be proud of is my commitment to try again tomorrow.

I thought by now I would back at my full-time job, climbing the ladder of success, and writing my book about “How to Recover from Depression in Five Easy Steps”.

But at this point, I am not sure if I will ever fully recover.  I am not trying to be dramatic.  I am not trying to get pity.  I am just being honest.  The point is, I realize now that it doesn’t really matter if I do recover or not.  I have to accept my situation either way and take it just one day at a time.  Just one day at a time.

Below are some tricks that (are no guarantee, yet) seem to have helped me in the mornings so far:

I take extra time to get ready before I have to go somewhere.

I stick to a morning routine as much as possible.

I don’t book my schedule too full in one day.

I keep things flexible so that, if I have to, I can cancel or reschedule at a moment’s notice.

If I am getting anxious about doing something, I get myself ready to walk out the door, even if I am hours away from leaving.  Not that I wait at the door for hours like a puppy waiting for the school kids to get home.  I just prepare all the necessary things when I am feeling anxious.  Then I do other things in the mean time.  I am less likely to panic and back out at the last minute if I practice this technique.

I will continue to practice the steps toward recovery.  I will continue to follow the advice of what will heal my brain.  And I will continue to pray for the strength and guidance when I am out of options.  But most of all, I will continue to hold onto the hope that God is going to take care of me no matter what happens.

Whether or not I receive healing from this illness, I know it is God’s will either way.  And all I can do is  pray and build my tower one Lego at a time.


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