Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Stop "Stopping" and Start "Starting"

Over the past two years I have had 5 different jobs lasting at the most a few months with a smattering of temp jobs thrown in for a day or two. All ended for different reasons and not all terminations were my fault or a result of any lacking on my part. But regardless the reason, instability can get you down and repeated, what I could only see as failures, can really get you down.
Along this road I spent many hours applying for jobs and going on interviews, but more often than not I never heard back and if I did hear back it was usually a copy and pasted email telling me that once again, someone else was more qualified. But in my mind that wasn't a kudos to the other candidates but a slight on my person, a very real "You aren't worth beans. Why would we want you around?"
And my depression worsened, I started to spiral and despite being raised with good work ethic I stopped trying I started giving half of myself to my employers because I didn't want to invest and when the job ended feel as though I was told that my best wasn't good enough. I was scared. I am scared.
Not only of the work-force but of relationships in general. What if I'm not a good enough wife? What if this group or that person doesn't want to be my friend? What if this sister or in-law is only talking to me because we're family and they have to? What if I am a terrible mother and my daughter doesn't like me? My solution?
Stop trying. Act like I've stopped caring. Lay around and hide away from the world.

WRONG WRONG WRONG! DO NOT DO THIS! And I want to apologize to anyone I offended while doing this.

Honestly, it will feel like the only solution, it will be the easiest solution, but it will also be the hardest solution.
I knew I needed to try, but I just didn't want to. I was filled with guilt as a wife that Mr. Sam had to pick up so much slack and that I couldn't be there for him when he had hard days, I just piled on. I felt guilty I wasn't the girl he fell in love with and married. I felt guilty that I never even asked about his day; when I did I didn't listen. Because I felt like he didn't really want to talk to me. I stopped associating with my friends, my family, my ward. They didn't want me around anyway. Each day I would lay on the couch and watch my baby cry for love and give the minimal effort to make sure she was fed and try to get her to sleep as much as possible because then I could sleep and stop feeling so miserable. And each day I applied the "stop" solution I felt more guilt and that led to more pain and rejection because I was convinced that no one wanted me. And it is the hardest feeling in the world.

Then one day during the summer I stumbled onto "finding joy" though someone's facebook post. And I realized that everyone feels like this, it's just a matter of squaring your shoulders and positive thinking.
Ok, it's not exactly that easy- it's squaring your shoulders and telling yourself that this time you really are going to "start" doing something about it. And once you've started it'll only get easier.
It'll still be hard, it'll still be a lot of work, and I still have bad days, I still cry, I still shut-down. But my bad days now are akin to the "good" days I used to have only a few months ago. So I want to share my "start" solution; remember that everyone is different and you need to find what works for you. But here are some universal truths I've found are good steps for everyone to take and some things that worked for me.
1- Talk to someone; whether it's your significant other, your friend, your ecclesiastical leader, or your doctor. START the conversation.
2- Move! Everyday I told myself I needed to go on a walk; and I still don't. It's not what works for me, but rocking out to Pandora and doing some pilates do and that's where I started. So START getting out of bed, off the couch and moving your body (even if you only go from the bed to the couch; it's still a move and a good START).
3- START treating yourself right; eat well and think well. There are certain nutrients that depressed people are significantly lacking in and you need to nourish your body to nourish your mind; it'll make the moving I just talked about a lot easier if you have energy.
And thinking well is just as important; reward yourself for successes and tell yourself, "You are great! At ____,_____,______." Come up with at least 3 things daily and write them somewhere that you'll see them so you can't forget them or rationalize them away. I had a really hard time with this so I started asking those around me for things they thought were great about me. (Which is really scary, so when I say people I mean Mr. Sam) But I wish I had opened up more. You never know what people are taking note of when they watch you. And yes, they watch you. Someone out there is taking note of great things about you!
4- Once you have put these in motion and have that one or two better days - use those to treat yourself and explore something that used to make you happy or interests you. START rediscovering yourself and you'll START liking yourself again just like all those people, you know the people you think don't want you around, do.
5- Sometimes you'll have FALSE-STARTS, but don't get discouraged. Life is a journey and even though you are trying it'll still go up and down. No matter how up you are, there will still be a low day. Just keep STARTING each day and you'll have a lot more up than you will down.
***And if you're still having a hard time, talk to your dr. seriously about treatment. I did. I tried it. There are innumerable solutions out there and sometimes you need a little more help than others, but that doesn't mean that you aren't just as amazing, just as wonderful.***

And to wrap up the marathon of a post - here are some of the things I tried, and some of my favorites that I still do daily to help make sure I don't slump and spiral again.
-Look at and acknowledge the blessings in your life. OUT LOUD!
-Essential oils; I have two personal blends I use almost daily
-A silly chart on my wall with the things I need to do each day. The greatest part? If I do something from my list I get to put a sticker on the chart. I love stickers! And if you need more of a reward, then set goals. ex. If I do 5 things from my list for a whole week I get _________. To be honest I don't always complete my chart; I usually don't, but it is a good reminder and it makes me feel good to pull out the stickers.
-I love taking baths, is a good chance for me to unwind and run solutions and situations through my mind before they come in to play. Making it easier to deal with when it actually starts to happen.
-Eat less refined sugar - it makes a noticeable difference within a couple of days if I've been eating sugar or not.
-Drink more water, it's always good for you, even if you don't notice a difference.
-Most importantly look for things that bring you joy and seek them out. Never stop looking for joy and solutions, even after you feel better. Stress will always be a part of life and so will sadness; it's important to find ways to cope with them.

Lastly, I've shared this before and I'll share it again.

Go start your life. And please, never stop it.


Sarah Kieffer said...

ok i will not

Jason+Lindi said...

What a great post Erin, and no, I've never talked to you just because you are family! I love you, and I care about you!! Can I add something to the list that has helped me? Reading Scriptures everyday even if it is just a verse! OK, one more, saying prayers even if they aren't heart felt or long just keep doing it!! Prayers are a life line that I never want to let go of! I love your blog posts, keep 'em coming!!

Mrs. Rosie said...

Thanks Lindi, I love you too. Those are really great things, I think I take their influence for granted because it's such a simple thing. But it really does make a big difference when the spirit is present.

Marilyn Ashby said...

I hesitate to comment in such a public forum, but it seems to be what you would prefer. Your Dad and I and your sisters have been worried for you for many months. We wondered why you didn't want to be part of our lives and why you didn't seem to want us to be part of yours. We have known and loved you for 21 years. You mentioned that you withdrew from family. We felt that withdrawal deeply.
When I heard Elder Holland's talk I immediately thought of you and hoped that you were listening to it too. Everything he said is true.
We knew you were/are depressed and desperately wanted to help. I was glad to hear you have sought help. We pray for you every day and ask our Heavenly Father to watch over you. With you so far away we have had to leave it in His hands. There is no one more qualified.
After we moved to Denver, I received a not in the mail from my Dad. I thought I was doing fine and didn't think I was down, homesick or depressed. I guess my Dad knew me better than I knew myself. The note was just a little piece of paper that read: "Keep busy and you won't have time to be miserable." It was good advice. I have thought of it many times over the years.
Please know that we love you. Mom

Mrs. Rosie said...

Thanks Mom, I didn't know about that story. I'm actually doing super great the last month or so. One of the things that helped me most was to know that it wasn't just me that was feeling down despite my blessings. I just wanted to let other people know that too. That's why I've been sharing, I want other people to see that they aren't alone.