Ode to neighbourhood coffee shops

Today I am so grateful for my relaxing local coffee shop. It was a horrible rainy day so I struggled getting up. The darkness zapped my energy and not being able to enjoy the outdoors took away the enticement that has worked so well over the past few days.

I lazed about all morning and into the afternoon, alternately surfing the web, playing games, reading and sleeping. Mostly sleeping.

Finally at 3, I said, Enough! I knew I just had to get out of the house and do something. So I settled on studying at the coffee shop.

I was still rather slow as I went about showering, dressing and having lunch. But finally I made it out.

I’m so grateful for the coffee shop culture. Where you can bring your work and spend the day sipping lattes and getting things done. It’s warm and cozy, homey-feeling without the options of sleeping or watching tv.

Sometimes, like today, it can be hard to be productive. You run into a friend and chat. You blog. But you feel more alive and part of the community.

And there are so many others who are working on projects at the coffee shop. I get inspired by their studiousness and can settle down for my solitary work in the non-demanding company of others.

That said, I’m now being inspired to stop blogging and get to the work I came here to do.

Thank you, local coffee shop and fellow coffee drinkers. 🙂

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The self-saboteur is back

I just realized that it has been almost two weeks since I’ve posted something. There are a number of reasons:
– it’s summer and nice out
– I’ve been really busy with work
– I’ve been busy with sports
– I have been feeling better for the most part.

But then I have days like the past two days and I just want to crumble and cry and fall apart.

For the past two days I haven’t been able to get myself out of bed. I don’t know why. I was feeling great until mid-afternoon Saturday. What happened?

My self-saboteur struck again and I basically just made a mess of things for myself.

How so?

I had the opportunity to do a lot of overtime this weekend and just couldn’t bring myself to do it. But that is so stupid! I could have banked a lot of hours which would have been very helpful financially. And with a lot of new financial stresses, this would have been wonderful. And what do I do? Barely work and then call in sick today! How is that going to help anything?

I have been a lot better with socialization over the past few weeks, but then caved and cancelled again on Saturday night.

I’m about to start dating this great guy, and all I can think is why is he interested? I’m such a mess and so unreliable.

I’m feeling like I am worthless and never going to get better. I know in the back of my mind that I am being too hard on myself, but that doesn’t help. There are a lot of things that just happened – my contract was shortened, so I’ll soon be jobless again; I have been sick to my stomach a lot, quite possibly due to my antidepressants; I’ve been opening myself up to dating which is inherently stressful to me; I have no idea how I will support myself and pay my debts over the next few months.

But that just makes me feel like I am making excuses again. But I know something is up because I’m breaking out in psoriasis again and unable to stop scratching. How do I manage to crash so quickly?

Sorry for the rant. I feel so useless today. And now my parents are really mad at me for my financial mess. But I somehow got up this evening and got some things done. And some possible financial solutions are starting to come to mind. I also think I need to make an appointment with my psychiatrist. It’s been about four months since my last visit, and I think I need her support and insight.

For now, I just have to put this aside tomorrow morning, get up, get out of the house and get to work. Fingers crossed.

Loss of Interest in Favourite Activities

One of the major symptoms of depression is the inability to be interested in anything. Not even your favourite things. During the worst of my depression, I was either indifferent or I dreaded the outings that normally gave me so much enjoyment.

Today I started one of my summer sports. And I’m so happy to feel the difference between this year and last! 🙂

For the last few years, I’ve been backing out of practices at the last minute because I couldn’t get out of bed. I’ve been resenting the responsibility and time commitment (even though I had a pretty empty schedule!). I just didn’t enjoy going out, meeting up with my team and being active. I sometimes went through the motions, but I wasn’t engaged.

Even though I was exhausted today, I went out and I had a fantastic time. I feel very excited about the season and I think it will be a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to getting to know my new team mates and catching up with old ones.

I don’t have any advice on how to find your normal enjoyment in favourite and everyday activities. I can only say this: pay attention. If you find you don’t care about any of your favourite things, it’s a very strong sign of possible depression. Stop to assess what’s going on and seek help if needed.

It’s been many years, but with therapy and the right medication, I’m once again happy to get back out there. 🙂

A “nice to myself” day

After the mistakes of yesterday, today I took steps to make things better.

It started a little iffy because I didn’t get out of bed until lunch, but then I felt a nice lightness when I did get up (partially because my meds weren’t late – I took them when I was up to feed the cat).

I had a shower and then lunch. I saw the nice juicy tomatoes I bought the other day, so I had a toasted tomato sandwich. Mmmm.

After that I went to yoga. It wasn’t a strenuous class by any means, but it got me out of the house and then moving which felt great.

Then I really spoiled myself. I splurged and got my first facial since I was in Asia. I’d thought about it for a few days this week because my skin was so dry and unhappy, especially with all of the allergies. I was feeling unkept and tired looking at work. And I worried a little about wasting this weekend and not leaving the house.

So I decided to treat myself. I needed to relax and be pampered and feel good about myself. I didn’t want to keep pointing my tired, red face out at the world. Especially if I need to gear up for interviews. As it stands right now I have two more weeks of work. They *might* extend again, but no more than a month at most as the project will be done by then.

Luckily there are quite a few jobs to apply to this week so I’m trying to apply to one per day this weekend.

So here I am. I’m hungry for dinner but after that I want to tackle some of my homework. Fingers crossed that the energy extends that far!

Do you find doing something nice for your outer self to be helpful to your inner self?

6 weeks of blogging

I’ve been feeling for the past few months like I’ve been getting better. That after five years, I’m finally kicking this depression thing.

But I just looked back at the titles of my posts for the past 6 weeks. Of 28 posts, only about 7 were positive. The rest, on the whole, seemed to be about exhaustion and stress.

I wonder, am I fooling myself? Have I put on bandaids and forgotten to tend the deeper wounds?

Or am I being too hard on myself?

I was listening to part of Paul Gilbert’s The Compassionate Mind yesterday. The chapter focuses on the new brain and the old brain. The old brain is our instinctive brain, the part that’s quick to react, feel stress, fight or flight. And the new brain is the cortex, where all of our higher functions come in. The parts that separate us from animals.

The old brain was designed to keep us alive. To react to stress. And Gilbert notes, sometimes stress is a very valid reaction. Stressful circumstances bring stressed feelings.

I’m definitely in stressful circumstances right now, which are mostly beyond my control. Until I find a steady job and financial security, am I bound to stay in this limbo?

Today’s yogi tea message

This weekend sucked. It was my first weekend off and I had all these plans. I had to do some stuff for work but I was going to do it at the gym on an exercise bike and at a coffee shop while sipping a latte. I was going to go to the yoga classes I can’t normally attend while training. I was going to rest and I was going to have fun and recharge.

I didn’t leave the house and barely left my bed.

There was a point on Sunday morning where I almost turned things around. But I think I made a conscious decision not to.

Why do I keep doing this?

My only bursts of activity on the weekend came when I was cleaning on Saturday night and, on Sunday night, when I finally showered and tried to figure out how to do all that I was supposed to have done over the weekend.

Unsurprisingly, I had insomnia last night and then I was exhausted and pretty useless today.

But I did go to work. For me, being there in body is just as important as being there in mind, because attendance is a challenge for me. I only have a few more weeks to this contract, so I’m determined not to miss any more time.

I’m hoping that this weekend was to get the blahs out of the way so that I can actually do stuff on Easter weekend. We shall see.

Which brings me my tea. The inspiring message attached to my yogi tea just now is this:

Those who live in the past limit their future.

So I continue to move forward. But I don’t want to keep repeating the same unhealthy behaviour. So please help remind me on Easter weekend to be active, to live in the moment, and to not procrastinate. Rest does not mean turning into a sloth and avoiding things that will make you happy.

On that note, I’d best get to sleep so that tomorrow makes for a much better day.

Goodnight,
DBH xx

I think I overdid it

I had a wonderful weekend at yoga teacher training. My favourite so far because, despite all the hard work, I felt happy and energized.

But I think I overdid it. This morning I literally could not wake up. Despite having had a relaxing bath and going to bed around ten, I couldn’t wake up at 8 am! So I called in sick at work.

It’s disappointing to miss work, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it. My body obviously needed more recuperation as I slept most of the day away.

Moving forward, this is my thinking:
-Take today for the health day that it was and start anew tomorrow without guilt.
-Postpone my challenge by a day. I obviously needed a break today.
-Don’t use the fallout as an excuse not to exercise. I exercised for more than four hours yesterday, and many more the two days before. Making a commitment to exercise for thirty minutes a day will not lead to the same effect. And it will help to build my strength for more intense days.

I’m still sleepy so hopefully I’ll sleep well tonight.