It takes strength of mind and spirit to wake up in the morning when you are plagued by depression. Things that come easily to most people – getting out of bed, cooking dinner, exercising – don’t come easily to me. I always feel like I’m climbing a mountain. Some days, I want to do everything – yesterday I made thirty Christmas tags, braided two bracelets, made chicken burgers, origami lucky stars, went to two different stores, and managed to catch up on my television shows and listen to a few hours of The Help by Katheryn Stockett. For me, this is a very productive day.
I try to build myself up whenever I can – to surround myself with color, aromas, and people who make me smile. The more I smile, it’s like slowly filling up energy bit-by-bit until the meter is full, and then I can accomplish something. It takes incredible determination and vigor for me to do this, and I spend most my free time following activities which make my life feel worthwhile, and that allow myself to deal with the negative emotions I feel.
I try not to focus on my depression. It’s like a skeleton in my closet that I don’t discuss with most friends. It’s a monster under my bed. Most the time, I have the knowledge, tools, and stubborn strength of will to manage it… until I don’t.
Those who balance mental illnesses on their own know that it is like tiptoeing on hot coals on a normal day – throw in a twist like holidays, social gatherings, personal trauma, health problems, or bad weather, and that dance becomes infinitely more complicated.
The holidays are hard. They are busy, they are bustling with people I’d rather not see. They’re filled with financial concerns and extra outings and shopping and time and people. On top of all that, work gets busier this time of the year. Traffic gets worse. It’s one more thing on top of one more thing on top of one more thing.
This time of year, I need more vigor and I have to push myself harder than ever. It makes me so tired. But we do what we must.