Depression Mitigation

I woke up exhausted yesterday morning. When that happens, I know I’m one step down the path to depression, and I need to do something or else things will spiral. I’ve been giving myself a lot of grace this past week, but one more day watching the news in my sweats wasn’t going to cut it

I decided, first of all, NOT to turn on the news until after 3:00pm. I get hyper-vigilant when I’m stressed about something and tend to over-consume whatever information is available in an effort to curb my anxiety. What inevitably happens, though, is the reverse. More information overloads my nervous system, I exhaust myself, and the cycle starts all over the next day.

I listened to Daisy Jones and the Six, my current audiobook, while I drank my coffee. I fixed myself an everything bagel and ate it slowly. I sat and listened to the birds for a little while. I thanked the Universe for the basics I have and the people I love.

I noticed the playground at the park across the street was cordoned off with caution tape and saw-horses. City officials closed playgrounds because they aren’t cleaned/sanitized. I’ve watched scores of kids all over the swings and play structure all week – no social distancing whatsoever – so I was glad to see the city took action. Unfortunately, as soon as it was light enough to see, people ignored the closure, climbing over and sliding under the caution tape to let their kids play. This went on all day.

I took a shower and did my hair and makeup. I’ve been living in sweats with air-dried hair and no makeup, which has been fine, but it’s not my normal. I figured more normal would help. So I put some actual clothes on and did my hair and makeup. I realize this sounds superficial. It helps me, though, not to get sucked into the vortex of anxiety and depression.

Hoping we all stay well, I’ve been working on a loose schedule for us for the coming weeks. This will help my son in particular. He thrives on routine, loves school, and is very social for someone with autism. Having a framework to give order to his days will allay some of his frustration at not being able to do what he normally does. I also like order and routine and find it comforting. We need that right now.

We ordered take-out from one of our favorite restaurants. It was delicious, but bittersweet. We had our first date at this place. It’s locally owned, and they may not make it through this. And then, since we could, we ordered the new Emma on Prime and snuggled up on the couch to watch. It was a beautifully done film, well-acted, and made us laugh. I’m grateful for that 2-hour respite for my mind.

We were both awake by 4:00 this morning. My son did go to his dad’s yesterday – routine, right? I have read a little news and coffee’d up. The sun is shining here again today, so I will arm myself with allergy meds and go take a walk before the playground rebels take over the park. I will shower and do my hair and makeup. We might get takeout again while we still can and snuggle up on the couch to watch another movie.

And in the back of my mind, all day, I will pray we stay well enough to do it all over again tomorrow.

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