Depression

To those who know me, it is no small secret that I struggle with depression and seasonal affective disorder.  Over the years I have had my highs and lows.  Right now I am in an in-between place that is frustrating.  There are many factors that play into my current state of mind.

  • Season:  Since I suffer from SAD (the aforementioned seasonal affective disorder) my depression is always worse during from early winter into mid-spring.  I have been spending as much time outside as I can manage (which some days is really tough when the wind is trying to stuff those cold ice fingers inside your brain).
  • Sleep:  Beginning in January Jake moved to a second shift schedule and works from 2:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M.  When he gets home he often isn’t ready for bed until 4:00 A.M.  This is really hard on me because I try to make my schedule mirror his.  I am by no means a morning person, but I am also not a late night person.  I am a “I need to sleep relatively normal hours during the night mostly” kind of person.  I did really well on his last shift where we would go to bed by 11:00 P.M. and get up around 8:30 A.M.  With his current schedule I feel like I am sleeping 10+ hours a night and yet I am not getting QUALITY sleep so I wake feeling tired and less rested.  However, this also has been affected by the fact that I recently stopped taking one of my prescription medications which purpose was to help me fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Church:  Because I am having a more difficult time with my sleep habits I am missing considerably MORE church and church activities.  This is greatly impacting my sense of well-being.  I feel like I am failing in my callings as a Young Womens advisor, ward newsletter editor, and as a visiting teacher.  I also think missing so many sacrament meetings is making me feel more depressed because I am robbing myself of the opportunity to go and renew my covenants each week.  This past week the other Young Women leaders and the girls were so excited to see me and so warm and welcoming.  It made me sad to think of what I have missed out of.  But instead of leading me to take action and participate more I feel sullen and withdrawn.
  • Body ImageOver the past few weeks/months I have had a few occurrences that have caused my body image to take a hit.  I’m trying to stay positive but it is difficult at times, especially when I already feel down about so many other things.

I don’t want this post to be all “woe is me, woe is me”.  Because that is not the attitude I want to have.  I am trying to use this post to identify what is wrong and set realistic goals to address each of these topics.

  • Season:  While it is simple, I need to continue to spend time outdoors and where possible get “true” light bulbs.  If I think the SAD needs more care than what it is currently being given discuss it with my primary care provider.
  • Sleep:   The way I see this problem calls for a few action steps.  First, start taking my sleep medication again.  Check.  Second, try to go to bed earlier and do not take naps during the day.  Third, if step one and two are not sufficient discuss changing my sleep schedule with Jake.  While it would mean I wouldn’t be seeing him as much it could be the change I need to get out of this “funk”.
  • Church:  This one is simple.  Start participating more.  Don’t withdraw.  Just go!  Get involved!  Be active! I will feel better for doing it.
  • Body ImageThis point requires a few smaller steps because I cannot do it all in one leap and be all “ta-da!  I feel great about myself!  Everything is PERFECT!”  So for now, I’m just going to outline a few little things I can do right now.  First, keep working with Shea.  Second, start tracking the calories I eat.  Don’t try to change it.  Just track it.  Third, increase my activity.  Fourth, stop saying such horribly mean things to the girl in the mirror.

Okay, I think for right now I am done.  I’ve got some things to digest and a bed that is calling my name!

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