Life Update: Managing Depression in the Mundane

This past week has been an absolute whirlwind. My husband, mom, and I got back late Sunday after a flight delay from Illinois. We spent the weekend celebrating our little man who should be here in under 10 weeks. I love spending time with family, but as an introvert it can be exhausting at times. This week was my last week of school (as a full-time teacher) which was full of end of the year events like late night theater programs and obligatory end of the year party planning. My legs felt like jello by the time I made it to Friday. That's when things started to seem off. Although, I didn't realize it right away.

My mind and body were coming down from a busyness high, and subconsciously I realized that this was it. There were no more work days until August (even then I'm only going back part-time), no more travel dates, no more, well, anything until the baby comes. I had a serious "what do I do now?" moment. I immediately started trying to compensate with anything I could get my hands on. Unfortunately, I started running out of things to do every second of the day. That's when I realized Sunday morning that I was avoiding a depressive crash.

I've battled with episodic depression since hormones started backfiring in my teenage years. A lot of things can set off an episode, but often it's when things start to slow down and life becomes a bit mundane. I've always found control over my anxiety and depression through schedules and routines, so when there is no longer a need for routine my mind tends to backtrack into a numbing mental state. I certainly go through the typical crying a lot phases, but much of my depression has always been this overwhelming numbness. It explains why on Friday I started looking for anything and everything I could that would keep me away from the couch, because I knew once I was there it would all start to sink in.

Awareness is definitely key, and I've slowly learned how to identify an episode and all of the negative thinking patterns that come with it. I noticed I was starting to make excuses to NOT do things, even though I was desperate to be busy. "You'll just be uncomfortable." "It's too far to drive." "Everyone's busy." Depression is like a possessive friend that wants desperately to keep you to herself. That's why identifying negative thoughts as FALSE statements is the best way to loosen the grip on depression. I have to remind myself daily to just give things a try, even if it doesn't seem like it will be worth it. Often it is incredibly rewarding to just step outside.

People warn you how much life changes when you have a baby, but I'm honestly looking forward to it in so many ways. Play dates and diaper changes will be a good way to keep this momma happy. Even if I complain, I'll know deep down that this little guy is a good reason to be busy.

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