Yesterday’s blogging was really helpful for me. Seeing things as they really are sometimes can be a helpful starting point for change.
If depression is an illness, then illnesses are treatable. There is medicine for illness and I know what that medicine is. So in the same way if I had a sore arm, I would know what will help and what would make it worse… I can do that with this period of low mood.
And that in and of itself makes things better. So here is my prescription thus far:
- accept the things I cannot currently change
- change the things I cannot currently accept
- go to bed at regular times
- eat food… and not just rubbish
- go out for a walk every day
- get sun on my face
- make the bed each day
- be kind to myself- don’t berate myself- it doesn’t help
- self-soothe using the different senses
- focus on breathing
- ask for help
and even though all of that feels too much, don’t give in to the temptation to do nothing and isolate.
I need to avoid:
- situations I find depressing (e.g. visiting my neighbour in the care home)
- only eating rubbish
- in fact, doing all the opposite of the above list!
THIS TOO SHALL PASS… it won’t last for ever.
Over New Year I spent some time with special friends. While walking the pups, Phillip asked me what was the main DBT skill I used. Immediately, I replied ‘Emotional Regulation’. I then went on to pontificate about the importance of keeping myself well… avoiding crisis, averting issues and generally making sure I’m ‘topped’ up.
The last few days have made it abundantly clear that the words are a lot easier to say than live!
Readers will know I am a Head Teacher of an Independent School that I co-own. Term has started back two days ago but things really took on some critical intensity from Thursday/Friday of last week. The details of the events are unimportant for this purpose. Suffice to say, as the heat went up my emotional regulation went plummeting down.
I’ve eaten rubbish by the bucket load (and only rubbish) – pizza, chocolate and biscuits basically . I’ve drunk coke by the litre. I’ve hardly slept. I’ve medicated myself in front of the tele. I’ve spent money that I shouldn’t have. My Christmas decorations haven’t been put away. Bills have been unpaid. My medication had run out and I hadn’t renewed the prescription.My anxiety over leaving the pups has been the highest ever. Its been pretty appalling. I then wonder why I feel so incredibly sluggish and awful! It really isn’t rocket science some times…
Today, I woke up literally and metaphorically. Time for the pity party to stop. I was able to give myself the shake I needed. I can’t just look after my health in the holidays. I need to grow in my capacity to emotionally regulate even when I’m busy. I know that emotional regulation isn’t optional… it’s essential. So this afternoon, I packed the decs away. I cooked some food for supper. I emptied the car. I filled a box of decluttering for a charity shop drop. I can’t face the humiliation of hockey at the moment but I did go for another run yesterday.
So as I look ahead to a busier term than usual, I’ve got to get organised. The only way I can eat healthy is to have food in the house and prep my food in advance. I’ve got to pack my bag the night before an early start- to ease the morning stress. I’ve got to ration my TV watching. I can’t have coke or bread in the house. And its not just about operation survival, I want it to be operation flourish.
Thankfully, I’ve only had a few poor days- I’ve seen it now and I am going to practice what I preach. Emotional Regulation all the way!
Thanks for listening