Friday, September 14, 2007

Depression: Self-care and Back to Basics

In the last month I have experienced more positive change then I have had in the last three years. My work prospects increased and improved drastically. My social life is expanding. I have been given an entire new wardrobe of clothes. I also know that for Christmas I'm going to be receiving many pairs of earrings. I'm in the middle of major life change and emotional growth.

In my head, I planned what to do. Work needed to be done, old stuff needed to be given away to make room for the new stuff. I did all the things in front of me. After two weeks of cat-sitting. I came to this easy three day dog-sitting job experiencing a terrible depression. I figured maybe I needed sleep. No, woke up feeling just as bad, or worse, then before the nap. I then found myself experiencing that nagging boredom. Escaping into a book helped a bit, but I still felt terrible. Might be physical, or I might need medical adjustment when I return home. But what to do right now?

I did have the dreaded plight of the blind. A bus driver forgot to call out my stop. I got totally scared. I hate having to depend on people for help when I never know if they will "hear" me and do what I request. If I remind the driver, they get insulted, if I only say it once, I get left. Its a crap-shoot. I have to accept the reality that I can't handle buses without help. That is just the way it is. So, I talk to God and try to calm down inside.

One of the perks of this dog-sitting job is a bathtub and all kinds of scented oils, creams and soaps I can use to my heart's content. I gave myself an oil and water bath. Basically take a cap full of oil, olive, almond or whatever oil you like on your skin and add it to a really hot bath. Then you give yourself a massage. Sure you can't easily reach all of you, but most of you can be given the slippery attentiveness of gentle massage. You are not kneading bread here. GENTLE! Let yourself enjoy taking care of yourself and doing something special.

Wow! I was a tense, uptight mess! I do a lot of deep breathing, which can bring emotions to the surface. I forgot to just stop and be kind to me. My emotional tank was empty and doing this kind of thing is one of my ways of refilling my tank. I have been totally directed outward for the last two weeks. It is good to attend my work and love the animals I care for. But I forgot to take some time for myself.

An oil bath is a bit messy. You will feel wonderfully relaxed, pampered and soft afterwards. You can always clean the bathtub. If you are afraid of slipping, put down a 2nd wash cloth for when you are moving around in the tub after the massage and you are bathing. Yes. Finish up by bathing as usual. You will still feel slightly oily. It won't kill you. Your towel will also remove some of the extra oil. Indulge."But what about messing up a towel?" Aren't you at least as valuable as that bath towel? You don't want to use grandma's embroidered towel for this project. But you also don't want to settle for something used to wax the car either. Believe it, or not, these small details will build you up, or tear you down inside.

I still struggle with co-dependency. When I blog about religion and people write comments to share a different viewpoint, I get afraid. (No, still not all done in this area yet). When I see friends making decisions which appear not to be in their best interest, I feel badly when their life gets complicated. I have to remember to shed all of that tension. Concern should lead me to prayer, not tension. Duh!

Long and short. I went back to the first lesson we depressed patients learned in our "Handling Depression" class. Yeah, you feel yucky. Be gentle, do something nice for yourself and accept that for some reason you feel out of sorts. Its not the end of the world. Sitting and thinking about acting won't do it. Do something nice for yourself.

I don't feel like going out and dancing down the street with bliss, but I feel better then I did. I'll be able to do my deep breathing and really relax. This is what happens when you take positive action in the midst of feeling less then good. You are being the friend to yourself you needed and may not have gotten during your early years and that in itself builds the bridge out of feeling hopeless and helpless.

1 comment:

MacPhilly said...

Nice post CyberGal. Indeed, we need to take time for ourselves. Relax. Allow your mind to settle. Spend some time in the presence of the Lord. It always seems to help and help perspective.