After years of dealing with depression, I've come to recognize all kinds of early warning signs. Like a miser hyperventilating if the bank balance dips below six digits, I'm hyper-aware of little dips in my mood towards the negative. I have no confidence in my ability to handle another full-blown depressive melt down, so I try to catch it early.

One early sign: I start thinking in absolutes. All or nothing.

I ran 2 miles on Friday and was on a high. For about an hour. I hadn't counted on the run using ever single ounce of energy normally needed for tending the baby, handling the kids, preparing meals, getting out of a chair, blinking and breathing.

Exhaustion was an understatement.

I tried to recover over the weekend. J helped. But the baby was fussy. L needed vigilant supervision. And there were about a million loads of laundry.

Yesterday, I noticed the absolutes creeping into my thoughts. Instead of looking in the mirror, cringing, and thinking, "I'm a work in progress. Give it time." I'd look in the mirror, cringe, and think, "I'm going to be fat and tired for the rest of my life." Or the baby would cry and instead of thinking, "It's hard today" I'd think, "I hate my life."

The upside of being hyper-aware of this shift in my thinking was that I was able to take swift action. J came home and I let him know I'd had a bad day and was feeling depressed. He's awesome so he took care of way more than his share of parental duties. Then, instead of watching a movie or having a conversation or folding laundry or showering or phoning someone or pretending to be a regular adult, I went to bed and slept. Every second that wasn't spent directly caring for the baby was spent sleeping.

And now I'm back to thinking, "I'm a work in progress. I'm a work in progress."

Which is progress. :)


Rae said...

I love what you've written here. As one who has struggled with an eating disorder since my teens, this rang true for me in a big way.

So glad that you have the support you need and that you were able to get the rest you needed!

Anonymous said...

I had a lot of anxiety in my first few peeks post partum and I would repeat the word "trust" to bring myself back to normal. It totally helped and still does. Mostly just that I trust everything will be okay.

Marci said...

loved this post! thanks for sharing :-).

The Dragonfly said...

You really have a way of explaining depression that is enlightening. And it's encouraging to see you working through the tough times. Thanks for inspiring me yet again.

Life as is said...

Your amazing! with a side of awsome, just wanted to share that with you!

Rachelbird: a goose for God said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachelbird: a goose for God said...

Thank you for this post, it resonated with me the importance of knowing warning signs to stop depression when it's starting.

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