When the days are bad.

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So I knew it was coming. I pretty much planned it. I knew I was doing too much but my desire to BE was so overpowering. Sometimes this is the trade off I make.

Its hard to pace yourself with a family. There is always something that needs to be done. Sometimes there is also something that needs to be enjoyed. I knew going to the airshow was going to over exert myself. I knew it but I didn’t care. I stood in the line with my daughter to go into the cargo and cockpit area of a C-130. Some of my best memories were just little snatches ,standing in line, talking with my dad why he did dishes. I try not to overlook them. I hope she will remember the wonder of it. I hope she didn’t notice how hot and sweaty and tired I was.I hope she didn’t notice me shifting weight from foot to foot. For me the look of wonder when she saw the cockpit was enough. There was alot of walking. I am good with walking. I was also good with sitting. I tried to balance sitting and standing. Letting my husband take her around to see things as well. While I sat and tried to relax. Not so easy with planes taking off all around you.

So when it came to the next day. I got up, I functioned , I got her to school. I then allowed myself to go back to bed. It seems like a trivial thing. I remember thinking oh I would love to be able to go back to bed. I guess allowed is not the best word. I made myself go back to bed. I didn’t allow myself to do dishes or clean the cat boxes or put that load of towels in the wash.

I made my room dark and cool and allowed my body to just rest. Sleep was not the goal.. Sometimes for people with chronic illness sleep is not the answer. Rest was the goal. Rest was what my body so desperately needed.

Three hours later I got up much better than when I got up to get her to school. I picked up her uniform shirts, ran by the post office, the pet store and came home. Then I rested again. Those simple tasks depleted any energy I might have had. A total of forty five minutes in the day had passed.

Its hard on days like this not to fall into a miserable pile of depression. I know I walk that line daily but on days like this the edge seems especially slippery. It takes alot for me to remember that if I was my old self I would not have noticed the woodpecker nest or the momma crushing up the food. It would simply not have been noticed in my hurry to get to the next thing.

I knew I had to do it. I knew its what my body needed. A friend of mine is always telling me moving will make it feel better. My response is…..but it hurts! Its hard to push past that on days like this. This is why I love having a dog who is on a mission on every walk we take. I dont have a choice. He pulls me past the hurt and into where its okay.

Deep breath enjoy the breeze. Enjoy the ability to walk to the school and pick my daughter up. Enjoy the tenacity that she shows trying to master the art of skating.Enjoy the comment from the peanut gallery that we look like we are getting married when we hold hands. Just enjoy. Don’t focus on the pain, don’t think about the hip, don’t acknowledge the ache. Once I acknowledge one thing they all start clamoring for attention.

Sometimes even with all my sarcasm and dry humor, depression gets a hand hold in. Its much easier for it to get in when my body is screaming at me. It is so easy for me to just give into it. To just say yup I am worthless and a pile of trouble, to just loose interest in everything and ignore everyone. To not allow my distractions of reading or watching Dr. Who to pull me out of those depths.

Its so easy for me to get caught up in the everyday struggle of just functioning to ignore the     warning signs. When my dreams start taking on a realistic edge, when I can’t meditate no matter how hard I try, when reading doesn’t interest me and I move from one thing to the next desperately hoping it will help.These are all red flags for me. I know my mental state is okay when my dreams are scifi and very unrealistic. I have always been accused of living in a fantasy world, its okay they all know me there.

It took me years of battling depression to find that the best defense against depression is to know yourself. To not be afraid to look at those feelings and explore why you have them. To not just accept them as true. To not remain in denial about something but to look at it head on. It took years of therapy for me to get to that point. I can’t say that I don’t squirm when I see the therapist. I do. I absolutely hate going each month. I know I have to though. I don’t want to be back to weekly visits. So I try to remember this is a narrow edge I walk and to just be aware of it. To just accept it as part of who I am.

There is such a bad image about mental health that sometimes we bury ourselves deeper in an effort to be normal. When in reality all this does is make the problem worse. When you add into this chronic illness and chronic pain it can be a disaster waiting to happen.Once I started looking at my depression as just an aspect of health and not an illness, I started making progress. It doesn’t have to mean your mentally ill, this is just what you have to do to be mentally healthy.

I always related to grumpy bear from the care bears. Some people are just happy being grumpy. It always made sense to me. I am not a happy cheery peppy person. Once I accepted that and found ways to balance between extreme doom and gloom and extreme sunshine and happiness and flowers. I found myself.

I wish I could say I don’t loose myself. I wish I could say once I found myself I was on to different problems. I can’t say that. Its a continual process. One that during really bad days I find very very very frustrating. Its hard for me to say….Its Okay…Its okay to be frustrated. Its okay for it to be a process. Its all just okay. It is what it is.

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