Depression is a side effect of my PTSD and anxiety problems. Once you’ve had depression, there is always a chance you can get it again. This is a scary thought but by planning what you will do when you feel well, you can make it easier for yourself to get support before things become too bad.
Often before we become depressed, there are some early warning signs. For example:
Having problems with your sleep
Crying a lot and not really knowing why
Feeling more anxious
Feeling frightened for no reason
I have another great warning sign, when I zone out my West Highland Terrier chews my toe - and I have a very sore toe.
When you notice your early warning signs, take action! Write a plan of what you will do. Make them things that you will find easy to do when you’re feeling low.
My early warning signs are that I don’t sleep well and I find it hard to face the world in the morning. Colours tend to look less vibrant. I'm lazy, lethargic and irritable. When I notice this happening, I will:
Get some exercise every day even if it’s only a 10 minute walk. This helps me sleep and is good for my mood.
Cut down on unnecessary driving
Stop playing computer games after 9pm
Knit, crochet or draw
Find a good talking book to listen to a night to block out my own thoughts
Say no and not over commit (therapist put that in and I'm glad)
Staying at home with a sick child last week resulted in warning signs flashing all over the place, but I was unable to activate my self help plan. I managed to complete my 5k run on Saturday, but it felt like I was running in a black and white film. I've been so irrated with loved ones, and when I failed to get my daughter to church on time for her first session as an alter girl I felt as if my entire life was a failure. In reality, the reason we were late was driving through floods and fallen trees.
It's Monday morning! Yesterday I had actually pre packed the car with my gym bag, put the books in to take to the accountant, university bag in the car. My partner drove me to the town centre and filled the car up, (it could be because last time I was in a bad place I put unleaded in the car instead of diesel) he also insisted on paying. For that I'm so grateful.
I wasn't going to sink into the hole without a fight.
So of course daughter number two - who bravely managed to go out with friends on Saturday against my advice, and then went kayaking when she said she would watch - woke up with a high temperature and rash. She also has bruises under her elbows which I KNOW are from capsizing. Typical.
I am a steam roller by nature. Give me a job - I do it, sometimes accidentally squishing people on the way. I don't do change of plans well. But today I'm going to try and catch a curve ball.
Child number two is currently catching up on sleep. But I need to get well! There is no law that I have to get everything done before 11am. So when she wakes I'm going to dose her up and take her out because I NEED fresh air. Ok, I won't get to the gym - but I should be able to get to the laundrette and the accountant. And unless she takes a bad turn for the worse, tonight I intend to take my sick child to uni with me and damn the consequences. She can snuggle up with a blanket, orange juice and portable DVD. She may have a sore throat and temperature, but if I don't lift my mood soon it will effect the whole family. Besides I would prefer to have my children with me because of all the power cuts.
I won't get my full to do list done - but I'm going to try and not beat myself up about it.
My #OneWord is self - nurture (and I've already pointed out in previous posts that it is actually two words :) ) and that is what I'm going to do.