Managing my symptoms

I’ve been feeling kind of crappy lately.  It’s crushing since I thought (naively?) that I was on an extended upswing.  I can’t tell if I’m really, truly on the slippery slope, or if this is just a brief spell…but in a way it doesn’t matter.  This week I have a lot to do, and I’m very anxious about all that’s going on.

Yesterday morning I made a decision.  I took my cue from DysthymiaBree, who has talked about how she managed a recent crisis – by simply (simply!!) making more good choices than bad ones.  She was in the mode of managing her symptoms to the best of her ability.  So I decided yesterday, as I laid in bed and felt the cloak of depression and anxiety, that I would try to go through my week with that strategy – focus on managing my symptoms, doing things that I know can help, and most importantly, putting on hold all of my thoughts and worries about my depression returning in full force.

It forced me to really think about the things that help me.  What are they?  In no particular order…

  • Exercise.  Exercise.  Exercise.  There’s really something to be said for those damn endorphins!
  • Get plenty of sleep.  I need at least 8 hours.  It sounds pathetic but it makes a difference for me.
  • Practice deep breathing. I’m new at this, but I’m certain it will help me once I commit more time to developing the skills.
  •  Ask for help.  This is a tough one – isolation is my default and my comfort.

I took the first step tentatively – getting out of bed.  So far, so good.  Then I got the kids off to school and took some quiet time to just sit and breathe.  Then I exercised.  And as I went about my day, I tried to push away all thoughts of the slippery slope and how afraid I am.  It took a considerable amount of willpower but I kept telling myself that today was not about analyzing my feelings, contemplating my meds, and getting to the psychological roots of things.  There is a time and place for that, and it is not now.

The day was all about managing my symptoms.  And you know what?  As the day went on, it gradually required less and less effort to keep the monsters at bay.

Success?  Perhaps.  Certainly enough of a success that I’ll do the same today.  And tomorrow, and the next day…


3 thoughts on “Managing my symptoms

  1. What emoticon do I have to put after “Well done that's fantastic”, to make it known that I'm being genuine and not patronising and sarcastic? Anyway, please consider that emoticon inserted. Because to make the decision to try and push to one side all the going round in circles analysing and the guilt and everything else and concentrate instead on doing the things that you can to keep functioning as best you can until the storm has subsided a little sounds like a good decision. To put it into action and persevere must have taken some doing.
    My first hope would be that you are feeling so much better that you don't have to practice this technique, but failing that good luck sticking to it, and try to remember that even if it fails sometimes, it has worked and so it can work again.
    ps the phrase “Isolation is my default and my comfort” really resonates with me. Not sure I'm ready to work on that one yet.


  2. Emoticon understood and very much appreciated! 🙂

    Yes, it was definitely an act of perseverance. I like that word – thank you. It seems like a small miracle that I was able to manage it, even for just a day. Normally my brain is operating at a million miles an hour and when I get in an anxious mode, it's like a runaway horse with no chance of me reining it in.

    As for isolation, I completely understand your feeling not ready to tackle that. It's a biggie for me, too.


  3. Pingback: Under attack | One Depressed Mama

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