We all have them. Mine have just been a lot more frequent than they usually are. I’m told this depression stems from a lot of things happening within my recovery including (but not limited to) my changing body, gaining and continuing to try to gain weight, ED thoughts/feelings, temptations to restrict, hitting a definite plateau and not knowing where to go, lack of friends despite my attempts at reconnecting with people without seeming too desperate, anxiety over the possibility of not getting better, wanting to be social, date, enjoy people without fear, lack of purpose in my life, feeling alone despite being surrounded by people.
Geez, reading that list is a major bummer. Good thing I’m here to put on the happy face and give some suggestions on what to do when you face a shitty day, week, or even month. I mean, it doesn’t take the pain away, at least, it doesn’t for me. Keeping myself “busy” helps, though. Now, some of these suggestions may just seem bogus to you, but they work for me.
I’m a shell in a sense. I don’t know where my days go. I feel as if I have accomplished nothing day in and day out despite being on the move, doing chores, running errands, and exercising. Before I know it, I look at the clock and it’s time to sleep. It’s a weird limbo, and it sucks. I understand that in order to move onward and upward I need to deal with the root of these issues, which is essentially dealing with my emotions, learning about myself, and learning how to trust myself.
So, in lieu of the shitty days, here’s a list of things I like to busy myself with in order to occupy the ramblings in my mind and potentially make me smile, for even a fraction of a second. A real smile. Not one that’s forced in order to seem “OK”, or one that is placed in a conversation as an attempt to socialize normally and appear like you have it together.
- Read (Everything. I have been reading like a monster, if monsters are active readers, that is. I have a list of books to download for my Kobo, as well as several paperbacks borrowed from my Aunt. I have also been reading a lot of different blogs as of late. I am trying to get into the blogging world a little more anyway, and I figure getting familiar with those out there who share the same love for writing as I do is a good place to start and make connections)
- Write (This usually involves a blog post. I used to write music. I need to start doing that again. Writing music used to be so freeing. It’s something ED stole from me, and it’s something I need to get back)
- Exercise (There’s nothing wrong with some good, healthy exercise. I go to the gym regularly as part of my recovery in order to gain muscle, get my fitness level back to where it was when I was an athlete and to become a tank, let’s face it. All jokes aside, exercise has the ability to release all sorts of happy feelings. It’s a good way to wind down and relax. I go for walks, do yoga, lift weights, jog… Soon I’ll be able to swim and hike once the weather allows it. HOWEVER, you need to be damn careful with this whole exercise business. We ED sufferers usually have a touchy relationship with exercise. I used to run myself into the fucking ground. I was exercising for the wrong reasons. To keep myself on track I write down my routines and make sure I incorporate plenty of rest and recovery days in my week. That way my body can build itself into this healthy, strong, ass-kicking machine without fear of over training or slipping in my meal plan. Exercise also helps me look at food as fuel and nourishment. If I don’t eat the right way, I won’t get benefit from my exercise and I might lose weight, which is just fucking bad all around)
- Eat your gosh darn food, damnit (If you’re anything like me, reaching my caloric goals for the day is an accomplishment I am very proud of. Not doing so would make me feel worse in the end than skipping a meal or snack would. So on the tough days, power through, you’ll thank yourself. We fucking deserve recovery, so take the bull by the horns, you've got this)
- Have a relaxing routine (I have a morning ritual. It involves cuddling up on the couch with a herbal tea of some sort. I read, or blog, or write. After a while I eat a damn good breakfast and head off to the gym. In other words, wind down before the day even starts. It helps clear the mind)
- Use your support system (I’ve been doing this one a lot. My main support nowadays are my Mama and Harv. They are fantastic, understanding, and are rooting me through this. They understand my frustrations (e.g.: people thinking you’re “better” just because you are starting to “look” better) and they are patient with me)
- Take some you time (I am so fucking bad at this. The issue is, when I’m depressed, I don’t WANT to do anything. So this one is an effort. I’ve got all of these art supplies, a lovely guitar, yoga class, choir, a musical to anticipate going to, the gym, Netflix, books… and I just don’t want any of it. It’s as if I’ve got writer’s block, except it’s more like LIFE block. I’ve just got to bite the bullet. I plan on doing that today. I’m going to try and paint again… After many failed attempts at beginning a painting, a doodle, or a sketch, I’m going to follow through)
- Take the time to be sad (Sometimes you just need to recognize the fact that life is shit, and be sad. Deal with it and take the time you need. It may be easier than putting up a wall and pushing it away. I need to improve on this one)
- Look for inspiration and hope (I tend to seek out other bloggers who write about their recovery, listen/read the stories of recovered individuals, look up quotes and photos that give me hope and help me along with this whole recovery business…This often means spending loads of time on Pinterest)
So, there you have it. Some suggestions/a glimpse into what I do in order to deal with the shitty days. Sometimes it involves wearing a big sweater in order to stop myself from body checking, or having my mom tell me when meal times are. Sometimes it involves sitting down and crying. In the end, I get through my day and I face another. They may seem really bleak now, but I’m still fighting. That means you can too.
On a happier note
I saw a musical this week! Beauty and the Beast was playing, and Mama and I volunteered as ushers for the show. So, we basically sat people in their seats and then pretty much got to watch the show for free. It was a volunteer thing, and to be honest, was pretty good practice for me with crowds, talking to people, social anxiety, all that jazz. I handled things pretty well, and I enjoyed the show for the most part. It was in a hockey arena (which I understand because of the sheer size of the stage/props and our community’s lack of accommodations for such a thing) so you lost some of the intimacy you get with theater, but all in all I enjoyed it very much. The actors were great, the orchestra sounded fantastic, and the songs were phenomenal.
I have a photo viewing on Monday to look at my grad photos I finally got taken. I had been avoiding this for a long time for reasons spanning my fear of the camera to the fact that I looked like rat shit. I’m serious. I did not want my graduating year to be depicted by the shell of a human with yellowing skin, dead, cracked hair that was falling out in clumps and a smile that meant nothing. It was an interesting experience, the photos. I felt surprisingly confident in myself afterward, so I am excited to see how they turned out.
Les Miserables is playing this week on stage with a live orchestra, and Mama and I have tickets for the Tuesday night show. I am extremely excited about this.
I’m trying to be easier on myself. My main goal is to actually take my rest and recovery days for rest and recovery. This means trying to sleep in, not feeling the compulsion to do some form of exercise so I won’t feel “lazy”, but just to “be”. I also want to try and do something that gives my life a bit of meaning. Blogging is already one of those things, but since I am taking the summer off of work in order to focus on my health, I have a lot of free time. I'm looking into places to volunteer. Even a few hours a week could make a difference in my life as well as within the life of others.
I’m also working on compiling a list of blogs and photos that give me inspiration day in and day out to stick with this whole recovery schtick, and to keep as positive as I possibly can during this time, so keep an eye out for that.
Well, that’s it for now. Thanks for reading, commenting, sharing, etc,etc,etc. I would be a fucking liar if I didn’t say that your love and support means the goddamn world to me.