I haven’t posted in a while, and there’s been reasons for that. For the most part, it just has not been a good time for me. I went into the new year with positivity, but quickly realized that attitude isn’t everything.
I will be brutally honest and say that I’ve been struggling with both anxiety and depression over the recent months. Actually, I think I’m depressed because of anxiety. I’m worried all the time; I’m worried about my health, my children’s health, my husband’s health, my parent’s health, my friend’s health (as one of my closest friends is going through a very difficult time right now), finances, my lower level of fitness and strength and high level of exhaustion that doesn’t seem to get better even so long after my treatment, my future, my insomnia, my future responsibilities, my friendships, and my work. I love my job, but responsibility of my position weighs very heavily on me.
Over the last few months I’ve had a sense of hopelessness, and although I am absolutely not suicidal or self harming, I have often heard running through my head the thought “if this is just the way my life is, if it’s just going to be difficult and stressful and anxiety provoking and suck until I get old and die, why do I have to keep doing it?”
Obviously, that is a horrible way to feel, so I am working on overcoming it. I have seen a therapist a few times, it has not been helpful, perhaps I just haven’t found the right one.
There are things that I have found have been helping me though.
•One thing I did was get an app on my phone called Grateful. Every day it prompts me to write a list of the things I’m grateful for, that made the day a good day, that I’m looking forward to, that made me laugh, that made me smile. It seems so simple but forcing myself to think about the good things really does help push some of the bad things aside. It’s true that my life is not easy right now, and that it may not get easier…but there are still good things, and forcing myself to think about them really does improve my mood and take away the helplessness.
•I’ve also been meditating every single day, usually for about 10 minutes at a quiet time, and another 10 minutes before bedtime. It is helping me sleep better and refreshing my brain to move on with my day. I can feel my anxiety level is going down, even during difficulties.
•Another thing I’ve done is get a separate phone number for work, and turn it off every day the minute I leave the office (or finish work if I’m not in the office. In the past my personal cell number was used for work, that meant clients could call or text me anytime. I didn’t necessarily always have to respond or do anything, but just knowing that every time my phone dings, no matter when, it could be a work problem was very stressful for me. Even if I didn’t respond to things until I was back at work, I would know about them, and they would make me worry. Changing my work number to one I can turn off (I use the textme app and turn off notifications, and all my clients have been informed that when I am not working I do not get calls or text messages) has helped me find a bit better work/life balance, and focus better on myself and my family when I leave the office for the day.
•I’ve also been really pushing myself to exercise again, I’ve been walking a lot for the past two years (abc, after breast cancer), but other fitness has come and gone. I’m now making sure to do some real cardio and strength training 2 to 3 times a week, it makes me feel better about myself and lifts my mood. Related, I am forcing myself to make the time to see a physiotherapist. My strength and range of motion issues in my right arm have only gotten worse, contributing to my issues with exercise… It’s hard to make time for more doctors appointments, but I’m never going to get back into fitness the way I hope to if I can’t fix that stupid arm.
•I’ve reached out to friends I’m not close to anymore and miss. Things aren’t like they were, but there is a reconnection that makes me smile.
I am in a much better place now than I was a few months or even weeks ago, hopefully that can continue. I know I’m probably sharing a bit too much of myself here, but I think it’s important to always be honest, I’m sure there are people that have similar struggles, whether they are open about it or not. I’m not really sure if anybody even reads my blog anymore or not, except my parents…writing helps me, but talking doesn’t. As I’ve said before during difficult times, I don’t really want to talk about it. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to talk; feel free to reach out to me to spend time with me, get me out of the house, give me some fun, and remind me there are people in my life besides my family…but I don’t want to talk about this!