BOO! It’s the ghost of blogger Jessi, coming to haunt you.
Clearly, I don’t blog anymore. Blogging’s not really a “thing” anymore, is it? I mean, it’s still a “thing,” but it’s changed into something else – influencing and sponsorship and whatnot. Not really my jam.
Anyhoo, I’ve hit a stubborn bout of depression recently, and writing always helps me to feel better, so…I figured I’d write a little bit. Plus, as I’m painfully reminded TWICE a year (I still own two URLs), I’m still paying for this little corner of the web. What happens if I stop paying? Does my blog disappear, or does it just revert to the basic WordPress format? I’m not sure, and apparently don’t care enough to find out.
Nothing is catastrophically wrong, though I’d be remiss to say this year hasn’t been a bit of a shitshow in the Raum household. Originally I wrote out everything that’s gone wrong this year, but I deleted it – that’s not what I meant this post to be. Do know that everything is fine with our relationship, no one has any life-threatening illnesses, and everything is fine with our jobs (actually, mine is better than ever, after a lot of frustration earlier in the year). Just a lot of minor/moderate issues added up.
ANYWAY. One of the most frustrating things about the depression I’ve struggled with on and off for my entire adult life is that even if things were going perfectly, I’d likely still be depressed right now. I’m sure that everything that’s been going on this year doesn’t help, but I’m pretty confident that my depression has more to do with hormones than with external issues.
I think that when I get depressed, it’s usually a perfect storm/vicious cycle situation. While I admit I should definitely talk to my doctor about potential medication, I know that the biggest determining factor of my mental state is how active or inactive I am at any given time, and I’ve been extremely inactive for the last few months. Add that to what’s already been an anxiety-ridden year (my anxiety levels are definitely tied to depression), and you’ve got a big old batch of depression brewing. And even though I KNOW that exercise will make me feel a million times better, it’s extremely difficult to motivate during a bout of depression. All I want to do is lay down and sleep, which makes me feel WAY MORE depressed and crappy, but sometimes it’s all I can do.
Here’s what always happens: I’ll be feeling good, being active 5-6 days every week, and being productive. Then I’ll go on vacation, or get sick (or both), and my routine will be broken. I’ll still be feeling good though, so I’ll tell myself that I can “take a break” and relax, and I end up enjoying being able to sleep later or veg out on the weekends, so I get out of the habit of moving my body consistently. And then it’s super hot out, or super cold out (these depressive bouts almost always happen in the dead of summer or the dead of winter – I can’t remember a time I’ve been depressed in the fall or spring, or during the holidays), and I just don’t FEEL like being active. Eventually, those happy relaxed feelings turn into boredom, and I start feeling guilty for not being productive (not necessarily physically, but for not doing more around the house, etc.) And then, before I have the chance to course correct, those feelings turn into depression and it’s next to impossible to pull myself out. I never get to the point where I have suicidal thoughts or anything like that – I still know, intellectually, that I love living and that there are SO MANY things that make me happy and that I’ll eventually snap out of it, but depression for me is very physical and it’s hard for me to rally.
It’s so frustrating to know this about myself, and still fall into this cycle. I HATE feeling depressed. It’s such a frustrating, maddening feeling. And I know it’s likely medication would help, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about the side effects of said medication. Since I know how drastically exercise improves the way I feel, I tell myself that I can avoid medication by just maintaining my physical activity, but I NEVER DO. On top of everything, I feel guilty for being depressed “for no reason” – I know how lucky I am to live the life I do, and although I know I shouldn’t feel this way, I feel guilty for feeling crappy. I feel bad for Jeff who 100% supports me and gives me all the slack in the world, but I know he doesn’t fully understand.
Here’s another thing: I’m SO lonely. I have Jeff, and I’m so lucky I do, but I have very little social interaction outside of him. It’s mostly self-inflicted, and another vicious cycle: my social anxiety has gotten so bad that I rarely enjoy socializing, but the less social I am, the worse it gets, and the more awkward I feel around people. Aside from that, I’m one of the only people my age I know without children, so I feel like I don’t have much in common with the people I consider friends anymore. I don’t feel like I have a lot to add to the conversation. I constantly feel left out. I kind of feel like I’m back in middle school.
I realized the other day that it’s been exactly 7 years since I felt this bad. In the summer of 2012, I went through a terrible bout of depression that almost caused me to ruin my relationship – I didn’t know myself as well then, and blamed the way I was feeling on Jeff (when in reality, it had NOTHING to do with him). Luckily, he’s an angel from heaven and was INSANELY patient with me, but it was a bad summer. Anyway, after realizing that, I did some research and found out that there are all these theories that you go through a major period of change every 7 years. I don’t know how much I buy into all of these theories, but it also hit me that 7 years before THAT, I had had ANOTHER awful year (but to be fair, it was almost entirely caused by my sociopath ex – although it could be argued that had I known myself better, I wouldn’t have put up with it)…I don’t know, it just seems like a pretty large coincidence.
All this to say: I know I’ll come out on the other side eventually, probably soon. I do feel somehow that this is cyclical, and that I’m feeling some kind of inner growing pains. But there are things I need to do to pull myself out of this, and moving my body is the first step.
My depression is drastically worse on the weekends (actually, it really mostly only exists on the weekends – I feel fine during the week, which is depressing in and of itself), and so I’ve decided that the key is to get myself out of the house, FIRST THING on Saturday morning. I’m seriously considering doing a morning fitness class every Saturday since that would kill two birds with one stone, but I know that’s easier said than done as long as I’m still depressed, so right now I’m just going to commit to getting out – whether that means finding a farmer’s market or going for a long walk, I just need to get myself out of the house. I’ve been hesitant to do this because historically, weekend mornings at home have been my favorite part of the week, but my routine just isn’t doing it for me anymore and I think it’s adding to my depression.
On a related note, I need to wake up earlier on the weekends – I’ve been sleeping in until 10:30 for a LONG time now. No judgment to anyone who happily sleeps in – if sleeping late made me happy, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. However, sleeping in DOES NOT make me happy – I’m happiest when I’m waking up early, and I haven’t consistently woken up early in probably 4 years. So, I’m going start going to the gym before work again – I don’t start work super early, so that makes it harder to wake up early when I DON’T work, but if I’m consistently getting up early to go to the gym, it’ll be easier to get into the routine. Logistically I won’t be able to do this for a few weeks, but I’m committing to it.
I guess that’s it – just getting my thoughts written out helps a lot. I’m pretty sure no one will see this, and if you happen to, I’m sorry for the super emo post – I wasn’t really intending to share with anyone, but hopefully if someone does see this and feels the same way, you won’t feel so alone. Cheers to autumn approaching (that always makes me feel happier), and to a better 2020!