Wednesday, November 24, 2010

That List - Dig Out of Depression

(NOTE: This is gonna get a little personal, so feel free to skip)

(NOTE2: This will grow. I just added to the DOs. I also just added to the intro notes by writing this. Check back.)

So having gone through a rough down-slope, I recently mentioned I was working on a list of sorts. That list starts with a schedule and has some serious DOs and DONTs. For your approval, though not nearly thorough enough.

The Schedule

If you don't have a schedule, you have nothing. Even if it's rough, write it down. Somewhere. Keep it between your condom that expired 12/95 and your Subway rewards card in your wallet. But do it.

I wake at 5am every morning to make Irish Dancer her lunch and a pot of coffee so Mrs. Shambles can leave before 6:30 with a mug. Here's my roughie:
  • 5am: wake, make lunch & coffee
  • 5am - 6am: clear emails, catch up on a show
  • 6am - 7am: stretch, meditate, exercise
  • 7am - 11:30am: work
  • 11:30am - 1:30pm: work, eat, take at least 30 minutes to flake/rest
  • 1:30pm - 5pm (maybe 7pm): work
  • * Stretch at least every hour
  • * Nibble healthily

  • Eat! (sometimes I forget)
  • Snack healthy
  • Exercise at least 30 min a day
  • Take breaks to breathe, center
  • Drink coffee
  • Smoke a cigarette (I know, I know. I rarely smoke, and only when I'm drinking, but if I have at least 1/2 a cig early in the day I tend to ward off apathy)
  • Catharsis: Cry. Cry like your dog or cat just died. Watch your favorite cry movie (even if that's your wedding tape or Short Circuit 2) to emote it. No. "Cry" is not right. Weep. Every week or month or two just dig down there and fucking lose it - but only for a few minutes. Let it out. Lose your shit and bang on the pillows (sheet rock is expensive) and scream "WHY!?!?!" Then get it together and understand you're better for it and ACTUALLY be better for it.

  • Lay on the couch in front of the TV (If I feel like I need to drop out, do it in the bedroom where it's dark and I can talk myself out of my spiral)
  • Drink early or much (obvious, right?)
  • Keep a messy desk (self-defeating)
  • Think blogging, anxiety, or angst are substitutes for work.


Today I ate, focused, exercised, and rocked out 5 solid hours of work and made almost $800. Success? Yes. Could I have done more? Yes. Should that example be a case in point for myself for creating and following this list? Yes.

I'm prone to depression from my grandfather down, "badges" on my wrists from college, a few of their little sisters on my arms and legs live as reminders as well. Sometimes I like to wrap myself in blankets on a cloudy day and wish the world would just fall apart around me (give me a gun and a zombie apocalypse and I'm good). At least I don't have the passive suicide daydreams of "turning the wheel and going off a cliff" of yore. For that I'm thankful.

I'm past the dangerous stuff. I made it through. I have no pity for whiny bitching - in myself or others. And I think the biggest thing I've learned, the most important thing I can pass along is:


It's all in the state of mind and can be changed in a second: Everything we do, everything we deal with, every single part of our lives from joy to chaos to drama to too many people to meeting with expectations is noise. When you're down, when you feel beat, you're looking up at it all, it's covering you, encompassing you, suffocating you like an awful, killing comforter (oxymoron, eh?).

But even though none of that shit, none of that - noise of expectations or the sky's too gray or the sky's too grey or your sister's in prison or you need to make rent or the cat box hasn't been changed in a week or you forgot to put your good shirt in the wash last night or the goddamned dog needs to be boarded and you not only hate taking her but hate missing her - even though none of that shit in your life changes: YOU CAN.

Dig deep, think mentally of how those things are affecting you. They're all above you, stilting you, snuffing you out. NO! They're not! Change that. Change the game. You are above that, literally, mentally floating above it all to deal with it as you please. Yes, it still sucks, but being above it at least you can see the sun. And you might be able to see how you can drive that bus.

Get above it. Own it. Push its nose in the doodie. Drive that bus. Make me proud.