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It’s Only a Passing Storm

This summer was hard: I was depressed for some of July, all of August, and most of September. It wasn’t as deep as I’ve been before, but it was worse than it’s been in a long time. I wasn’t sure what was wrong at first, but slowly, I think I figured it out. Plus, I understand that, just like diabetics need insulin to keep their bodies running normally, sometimes I need pills to get the happy brain chemicals flowing correctly. I understand that, and it helps me deal.

And my husband understands too. You can hide a lot of You from a lot of people, the people you work with, your friends. But it is seriously difficult to hide something like depression from your spouse, and I am so grateful that I don’t need to.

I know why I got into a slump this summer, but more importantly, I know one thing that helps pull me out of it.

I learned, for real, that I need routine. School started and I slipped into the comfortable up at 9, at work by 10, prep for class, teach, grade, do administrative tasks, clean off the desk, home again, home again, jiggity, jig. And things started to look up. Suddenly, working through that pile didn’t seem so daunting. Suddenly, mundane tasks didn’t look like mountain climbing. Suddenly, I didn’t have that dull ache in my chest all day long. And suddenly, smiling felt real again.

5 Things That Have Helped Make Me Happy Again

  1. Not leaving the office until my desk is cleaned off, with everything put in its place and not in another “neater” pile
  2. Answering student emails as quickly as possible
  3. Putting up laundry right away / doing dishes every morning, like it or not / hanging up my clothes from the day instead of making a pile at the end of the day
  4. Structuring my day at work more
  5. Remembering  that this is just a passing storm, that I will see the sun again

Question of the Day

You don’t have to air your private struggles, but maybe you can share a strategy for working through them. What has helped you the most to work through your issues?


10 thoughts on “It’s Only a Passing Storm

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  3. Jill

    06 Nov on 2008 at 18:29

    Hey Lindy,

    I’m glad you’re feeling better! I’m also the type that likes to keep busy with a full routine, otherwise I start to overanalyze and work myself up. It’s been a bit of a trial getting used to a normal 8-5 rather than the hectic grad school life I got used to living.

    • xgravity23

      09 Nov on 2008 at 14:45

      @Jill
      Thanks, me too! I think that was part of my problem–I was just letting myself get too worked up and with all the time I had on my hands during the summer break, it was so easy to just give in. Now I that life is more structured, it’s much easier to keep my mind focused and limit the “fretting” time I have.

  4. ww

    06 Nov on 2008 at 16:41

    I admire you so much for making this post, and I’m really glad that you’re feeling better these days.

    My newest motivational technique comes from the oldie-but-goodie operant conditioning. I have made a deal with myself that whenever I work for at least an hour on a certain large academic project I have going on I will allow myself to buy a new mp3 that day. I figure this only costs me about $5 a week and it hopefully helps me get over the hump when working seems a little too overwhelming… and I’ve gotten some cool music lately! And once I get going for an hour, it’s not so hard to do two hours or so.

    • xgravity23

      09 Nov on 2008 at 14:46

      @ww
      That is a great idea, ww, thanks for sharing! And I love that it serves a dual purpose: gets you to work, and exposes you to new music!

  5. Charity

    06 Nov on 2008 at 16:05

    First – thanks for having the courage to share!

    I struggle more with anxiety than depression, much of it I see now was PTSD induced, but there’s an element that is just part of who I am. In any event, I have learned over the past 4 years what helps to keep/get me calm. Most of the time it’s keeping my physical surroundings in order (though sometimes that’s not possible) and I have learned to approach problems (real or otherwise) by dissecting them into manageable pieces. I often do this by creating a list – or several.

    My husband is just about the complete opposite when it comes to stress and anxiety, so he tempers me a great deal. After a few hyper-planned and crazy-busy “vacations” – we were able to both agree that no plans would be much more of a vacation. So now, we rarely plan any trip (beyond tickets and a hotel) and almost always pack at the last minute. By the same token, he understands how a

    Also – I have recently learned that keeping an orderly closet (which means promptly dealing with the laundry) helps keep me calmer in the morning and get me to places on time (or closer to it).

    • xgravity23

      09 Nov on 2008 at 14:48

      @Charity – Yeah, I’m with you on keeping organization. If my surroundings are organized, I can deal with the emotions better, but the catch-22 is that I don’t feel like maintaining that order when I’m depressed. I guess that’s why it’s good to understand what makes you tick, right? Ha ha, and isn’t it nice to have a spouse who balances you out well? :)

  6. Beth

    06 Nov on 2008 at 14:55

    Linden, I didn’t know you were depressed, and I am sorry you have to go through this. :(

    On the other hand, I am glad you know yourself well enough to figure out strategies to help you cope and feel better each day!

    • xgravity23

      09 Nov on 2008 at 14:51

      @Beth – I didn’t really tell anyone… It’s hard enough to admit to yourself that you’re depressed and don’t know why! But I’ll tell you next time.