As I’ve embraced my depression more in the last few months I’ve found inspiration to deal with it in some of the coolest places. One such place was on a visit to a dear friend’s house. Her young daughter has been struggling greatly with OCD tendencies. When I’d been at the house for a while this little friend of mine invited me to play Barbies. We were figuring out a storyline and dressing the Barbies up when I noticed a sign on the wall next to her bed, written in her handwriting. It was precious! It said “What to do when OCD tries to get me.” Then it listed out 7 different things she will do and examples of how to do them. I was impressed! She’d taken the things she knows that help her and then put a list in a visual place! I was immediately inspired to write a list for myself!
Now, I’ve mentioned before that when I’m in the middle of severe times of depression making decisions is not a good idea for me. I cannot trust my own thoughts. And I definitely cannot give in to any of the actions (or lack of action) that seem like a good idea during this crazy-brain time. On the flip side, when I’m not severely depressed I can see what I need to do during the bad times. Not that I have some magical cure, but more so I have ways to cope.
So, I waited it out and made the list below when I was feeling positive, motivated, happy, strong. I then checked it with my husband (whom I trust implicitly) to see if there was anything I should add or remove from the list. Now, the plan is to use the list, choosing as many of the things on it as I can muster. Except for number seven and number eight. Those must happen the entire time I’m at my worst!
“To Do When Down (even when I don’t feel like it)”
1. Cry out to God first.
2. Drink tons of water.
3. Do yoga.
4. Warn Eric.
5. Eat as best as I can, even if it means getting a salad from the local restaurant.
6. Take a walk.
7. Don’t believe anything I tell myself.
8. Don’t make any major decisions.
That’s it! Now I’ll just sit back and wait for the moment when I’m doing less traversing through the mire and more sinking in it and I’ll test this list out. I think the accountability of knowing I’ll have to report back about it all will force me to do more than I usually am willing to do.
If you’d like to try this I’m happy for you to use my list, but I’d also like you to consider making one of your own. Start with mine if you want, modify it for yourself, and then ask a trusted friend who will speak the truth to you if there’s anything you need to add or remove.
Update—I waited. And there I finally stood in a glob of swampy goo again. I wasn’t traversing. I was sinking. And I wanted to be successful with my list above through the sinking, but the mire kept me from it. I can’t even explain it. I always try to figure it out, but it’s difficult to really put it to words. People who have dealt with depression in their own lives know what I mean, but those who don’t often times don’t get it.
So during this standing in the mire I purposely ignored #1-6 of my list. And I confronted a friend about an issue, thereby also not doing #8. Thank God for loving friends who don’t hurt easily! This is all proof that I’m not a superhero. I’ll try it again next time. Sigh.