How I’m Going to Fix Me

Remember that time that I said that I was better? That the fog and lifted and I was shiny again? Turns out I was just kidding myself, because the very next day the fog was back, and after 6 months, this shit just ain’t funny anymore. I feel like I’m 17 again, and that’s not as awesome as you might expect.

A close friend recently went through the worst two weeks imaginable, so I spent that time trying to give the impression of being mentally intact, so as not to detract from the immeasurable stress he was suffering. I feel hideously selfish for being depressed and anxious without good reason, and I hate making people around me unhappy by proxy. Clearly just toughing it out isn’t going to work this time around, so I’m going to change tack.

First tactic: Humour
Reflecting on the last week or so, I realised that there was one time that I felt free from the crazy, and that was when I was watching Grimsby, a disgusting and hilarious movie by Sacha Baron Cohen. We’re talking tears-in-my-eyes, slightly hysterical laughter. Laughter has a huge impact on mental wellbeing, and it gives a high that lingers. This week my plan is to watch at least three laugh-out-loud comedies (recommendations welcome).

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Second tactic: Cuddles
Cuddles are awesome anytime, but when your depressed, cuddles, or any affectionate contact, can be a life-saver. The benefits are scientifically proven: cuddling increases production of dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, and it reduces anxiety-causing cortisol. Unfortunately this tactic requires participation from others. Hugging unwilling parties is frowned upon. You can, however, hire a professional cuddler if you’re unable to entice a friend to join you. I’m not even joking.

Third tactic: Cutting Lists
When I’m losing my mind, it’s hard to remember what needs doing or how to prioritise jobs, so I spend a good chunk of my day wandering aimlessly wondering what I’m doing. Lists help me keep on track and you can usually tell how insane I am by seeing how many menial tasks on my list. When I start adding things like “have shower” or “brush teeth”, then you know I’m well and truly fucked up. Except, lately I’ve been finding that I’ve been adding too much to my lists and am getting stressed when I haven’t completed the jobs I wanted to get done. So I’m going to be cutting back and just sticking to the essential jobs for a while.

Fourth tactic: Music
Once upon a time, music was a constant in my life. Somewhere along the way I stopped listening. I suspect it was probably a side effect of having children. I started turn the music off because a child didn’t want to hear it, or wanted to watch TV instead. Or perhaps it was just that in the general noise and chaos, turning off the stereo was a way to reduce the overall din. The great thing about music is you can adjust your genre and tempo according to what effect you desire. I love heavy metal and hard rock for motivation and getting things done, and classical is helpful for relaxation, zoning out and as a soothing backdrop to a harried mind. I plan to make a conscious effort to re-instate music in my days.

Fifth tactic: Nutrition
Now, I’m not going to set myself  up for failure by claiming that I am going to eat only clean/paleo/whatever-unattainable-fad-is-popular-with-the-Instageeks, I’m just going to try to make sure I’m getting plenty of quality nutrition in between the cookie breaks. Healthy fats, lots of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre, without being OTT and obsessive.

So how effective will my new plan be? I have no fucking idea, but it’s worth a shot. Stay tuned!

Weird Kids Help Depression

Lately I’ve been going through the blackest depression I’ve had in years. It’s been a little bizarre because usually I’ve got such a good understanding of my insanity that I can do the whole “fake it til you make it” routine. This time has been different. I’ve been crying at work, at home, in the car, in the shower. I’ve had to avoid the news because I’m aware of a couple of recent child abuse cases that are headlining at the moment, and I can’t bear thinking about it. A few days ago, an innocent (albeit, bad taste) joke threw me into a bleakness that lasted all day. So much so, that I had to sleep a good chunk of the day away just to get a break from my own mind.

The fog has lifted now, and I’ve woken up today with a shining new clarity. I don’t know why it had to happen at 4am; I would have preferred a longer sleep in, but I’ll take it.

When you’re in the pit, you have to cling to things to keep you going. In my case, the ridiculous and my kids pull me through. My 5 year old boy has been both adorable and horrible lately and makes me laugh. He’s been on a “helping” bender; sweeping, unloading the dishwasher, tidying up without being asked. Last night he decided to make the school lunches and declared, “I’ll do anything for you, Mummy.”

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Potentially the face of darkness

 

Conversations with him are on a whole new level at the moment. Between his compulsive lying, (“I drink coffee all the time when I’m at Daddy’s house”) and funny little insights into how his mind works, he’s a laugh a minute. Last week, while I was laying on the couch trying not to cry, he came out with this gold:

Boy-Child: “When I’m 200, will I be a giant?”
Me: “Errrr, no….”
BC: “Why not?”
M: “Um…  you stop growing once you become an adult, and also, by 200 you’ll be dead. People don’t live that long.”
BC (shocked): “But I don’t want to die.”
M (thinking shit shit shit): “Don’t worry, it’s won’t happen for a really really long time. But everyone dies eventually.”
BC: “When will I die?”
M: “I don’t know, maybe when you’re 100.”
BC: “Or 200?”
M: “Probably not.”
BC: “When will you die?”
M: “Not for a very long time, but before you, because I’m older.”
BC: “But who will look after me and {girl child}?”
M: “You won’t need me to look after you. When I die, you’ll probably be a grown up with your own family.”
BC (satisfied with my answer): “When you die, I’m going to fart on your dead body.”

Then he proceeded to tell me that he’s going to prop me up in front of the TV with my eyes taped open and I was simultaneously creeped out and a little proud of my budding Norman Bates.