⚠️ I want to sleep all of the time.
⚠️ I sit at the table staring at my amazing husband who is making me dinner knowing that life is good, yet feeling guilty that I feel sad.
⚠️ I am short with Samson and feel like a bad mom.
⚠️ I hibernate from social media. Unable to share good messages without feeling like an impostor. The thought of putting on a smile to take a selfie feels fake.
⚠️ I go through my day, fearful that something is going to trigger me and tears will just start flowing and I won’t even really know why.
These are my signs. Warning signs saying, “Something’s going on here Shannon and you need to pay attention!! Take special care of yourself right now!”
I am grateful that I now recognize them earlier. I recognize them as the early warning signs of what my depression looks like and my logic reminds me that those signs and emotions are not my true self. I would say this is probably the first time that it’s come back around since getting better.
I’m sharing because I want you to know the truth. The truth behind the smile. The fact that even though I absolutely love putting positive messages out into the world, that sometimes - these times - it makes me feel like an impostor. It’s a reality check for you too. If you find yourself comparing your life to what you see your friends and acquaintances doing on social media, chances are there’s more to there story too. We all have shit - just like you.
So what am I doing about my shit right now? I’m sharing it! Sharing. My. Shit. For me it’s an outlet. It’s a chance to connect with someone else who might have these feelings too and let them know that they are not alone. I’m paying attention to it. Combating it the best that I can with the tools that I’ve acquired.
Keeping my nutrition in check. No amount of ice cream is going to make it go away. In fact, sugar will feed it and the dairy will just make me feel yucky. Limiting caffeine also helps, but I usually do that anyway.
Still doing the morning things. Waking up early to spend time alone, eat my breakfast and exercise. And I’d like to point out that there was definitely a time that I couldn’t have done these things in the state I was in, but created the habit while my mind was in a good place.
Breathing. Big deep belly breaths. This is the one I use in the most pressing of times. I once heard that 3 big belly breaths is the quickest way to calm yourself. When I’m about to start crying out in public, at work, or even at home, I shut myself in a room, sit on the floor and take big, deep belly breaths saying “in……...out………”. Focusing on the breath and that I am alive and healthy. Reminding myself that this too shall pass.
Getting enough sleep.
Being selfish. Asking myself “What is ONE THING that I can do today that will bring me JOY?” Even if it’s the silliest thing. I remember one day, years ago, my depression kept me from doing my job. Every time I sat down at my computer, I would cry. I took a sick day and spent an hour and a half drawing and cutting ice cream cones out of poster board for a different project I was working on.
My tools may not be the same as someone else’s tools. I thought I’d share in case any of them are things you want to try and add to your toolbox.
During my workout yesterday, there was a sign in the background that said “NOW is the chance to change your life!” I kept repeating that to myself yesterday and it’s still stuck in my head.
NOW IS THE CHANCE TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE. Shannon - keep doing the things. Share your story. Show up for yourself even when you don’t feel like it right now. God is testing me and I will persevere.