Down Time

May 20, 2019

Does anyone else have a serious problem appreciating down time? Or an inability to relax?

I’m great at it on vacation. I can lie in the sun (or actually in the shade near the sun), read, knit, float in warm water, linger over meals, and relax to my heart’s content. But at home, it’s very different.

Because of the work I do (school-year focused) and the fact that I’m self-employed, I generally have a lot more down time in the summer. And let me tell you, I am really bad at enjoying down time. (Aside from sleeping. I’m great at sleeping, but one should only do that so much).

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Instead of thinking, “Oh, I have a few free hours before I have to work again! I could go for a walk or read a book or have some tea!” I go straight to, “I can’t believe I’m losing money by not working in those hours. I’m just wasting time.”

Why does down time equate to wasting time in my mind?

I live in a beautiful place. Some of things I could do when I don’t have clients include:

-eating out at many many delicious restaurants nearby (many of which are inexpensive)

-having an nice cup of tea

-hiking

-walking the dog

-knitting or reading on the beach

-doing yoga

-writing

And yet what I find myself doing is just sitting around wasting time on the computer or napping excessively or just bemoaning the fact that I’m not making money right now.

How are you with down time? Any ideas? Does it trigger anyone’s depression or anxiety?


Sleeping Away Anxiety

April 27, 2019

Funny, when this was actually happening, I couldn’t write about it. It was too hard, even though I would have helped. I guess that’s not funny, but probably pretty normal.

Has anyone else woken up with so much anxiety that you really can’t do anything except close your eyes, scrunch into a ball, and get further under the covers? Now that I think about it, I have had that issue with depression too, just not recently.

When I had a “regular” job, I always managed to get up for work. Always. Now that I am self-employed, it’s harder, so it’s a good thing I’m better. But still, on those bad days, I can be in bed for 12+ hours, just trying to avoid the feelings and avoid getting up.

Of course, that makes it worse. Because now I have more unfinished tasks and more dread and more isolation. But at the time, it’s the only thing I can do.

Anyone else have this issue?


Hidden Anxiety

March 31, 2019

I’ve been dealing with a lot of anxiety lately. About big things: working on my next book, climate change, and the future of my business. But also very small things. Misplacing a lip balm, for example, makes me anxious. Or having a list of a few minor errands to do. And sometimes it’s just nothing at all. There’s no reason for the anxiety.

And I don’t have time to give into it, but also there’s no point to it. If I am anxious about errands and I don’t do them, that doesn’t help me. And I’ve looked into anti-anxiety meds but of course they’re all (or almost all) addictive and sedating.

So I just keep going. Today I am going to talk about my book at somebody’s house. I know it will be fine. I have done this dozens of times already and never had a bad experience. I don’t even get very nervous about public speaking and have spoken to an audience of several hundred. But I have this anxiety that won’t go away.

All I want to do is put on my pajamas (it’s not even 5 pm) and ignore it. I want to use sleep as an escape or watch a TV show or do some mindless work that I can get lost in. I want to think of an excuse.

And of course, I can’t do that. I have to put on my public persona hat and put on makeup and smile and talk to people about a cause I believe in, and I know that it will end up being enjoyable for me and a positive experience overall. But the desire to skip it is SO strong.

And this happens every day. EVERY day. When I have tutoring students — who I LOVE and are a major joy in my life — I get anxious about seeing them. When I have to drive somewhere, same thing. When I have fun plans — a hike or visiting friends, yep, it kicks in. I get anxious if I am trying to plan something and anxious if I have nothing planned.

I self-medicated sometimes by eating sugar, which does calm me down. But then it makes it worse again. And I know it will but I can’t seem to stop. I sleep too much sometimes to get rid of this feeling and sometimes I can’t sleep because of this feeling.

I’m learning to live with it. I would rather not – I would rather transcend it and live without it. Do any of you have this? How do you deal with it?


When Nothing Feels Good Enough

March 8, 2019

I’m trying to remind myself that brain chemistry lies to me. Often it’s depression; currently I think it’s a little depression and mostly anxiety. It feels like nothing — NOTHING — I’m doing is good enough.

I’m a teacher (tutoring now) and I love it and am very good at it. But lately I’ve been feeling distracted and squirrelly (again, probably anxiety) and I don’t think the kids pick up on it but it makes me feel not good enough.

I’m an auntie, and I’m a REALLY DAMN GOOD AUNTIE. But when I don’t see the kids for weeks, I feel like I’m not doing enough. I miss them for sure. I miss them so much it hurts my heart sometimes. But more than that, I feel not good enough.

I’m a writer and I have a book published! But I’m working on two others and they’re going REALLY slowly (partially because I’m so busy and partially because of factors outside of my control) and that feels like a failure. I’m not good enough as a writer.

I am a great friend. I value friendships highly and make time for them. But my schedule is weird enough that it’s hard for me to see them regularly, and I feel like I’m not a good enough friend.

And on, and on, and on. that’s not even including the things that I’m actually really bad at, like exercising and eating well! These are my STRENGTHS and I don’t feel good enough.

It’s exhausting and demoralizing.

 


When Nature Documentaries are Too Sad

February 6, 2019

I can tell when my depression is “acting up” (acting up seems like such a benign term for your own brain telling you it’s better to not be alive, doesn’t it?) because I get sad about everything. Everything.

Today I was watching a documentary about animals in Africa, while I was doing something else. I love animals so perhaps it’s not surprising that I identified a little too much with the animals and what they were going through but it was clear that my depression was affecting my view.

First, I saw that the lion cubs who were born white instead of tan had a better chance of being found and killed by other grown lions, and I had trouble continuing to do what I was supposed to be doing because I was so sad about that.

Then those same white lion cubs took down an injured water buffalo and that just about wrecked me. The water buffalo knew it was coming and was trying to hide in the water so the lions wouldn’t get him, but he was getting weak and hungry and couldn’t fight back when they finally came to get him. He just made these sort of buffalo whimpering noises.

At this point, I could feel the sadness in my body – heavy in my chest. I felt weighed down and had the dread that comes with major grief. I felt like nothing would ever be OK again and like the color was draining from the world around me. I found myself curling up into the fetal position because the sadness was so physical.

Because of a nature documentary.

It’s passed and I feel better right now. I mostly feel silly for getting so worked up about a nature documentary, and the physical sensations are fading. Tomorrow I may not remember how much this affected me. But it did and I need to pay attention.


Down Time

January 4, 2019

I wrote a couple posts back about relaxing and if it’s a waste of time. It seems to have resonated with a bunch of people, which feels very validating.

On a similar note, I’m self-employed. When I have a slot open without a student, I have two options:

  1. Stress the entire time about how I’m wasting my time and not earning any money, and not being productive.
  2. Read a book, take a walk, snuggle with the dog, and embrace some down time.

You can guess which one I pick. Every time. EVERY single time.

I don’t know if it’s depression or being human, or what, but I really do feel like a failure when I’m not being productive. I need to change that.

Any ideas?

 


The Impossible Task

September 24, 2018

Anyone who’s been depressed can understand this thread about the impossible task.

When I was really severely depressed, I had a list of impossible tasks. They included:

-getting out of bed

-going to the store

-getting gas

-calling someone back

-writing a letter

-writing an emailDepression

-walking the dog

-saying hi to someone

-getting in the shower

and on and on and on…

 

I’m better now and things are better. But this impossible task rears its ugly head more than you’d think for someone who doesn’t appear depressed at all.

Getting out of bed is still a struggle for me. Every day. No matter how much sleep I’ve had. I think it will always be now; I’ve just given up hope that I’ll be able to wake up feeling rested and get out of bed. It’s so discouraging and affects everything in my life.

There are some other things that still have this feeling too. They’ve gone from “totally impossible” to “really hard to do” which is better, but not great. They include getting oil changes for my car, and some, but not all, of my writing projects. Writing is one of my jobs. It’s VERY inconvenient to feel like it’s impossible, but I do.

I guess the difference now, or one difference, is that I do end up finally being able to do the thing. I can make the phone calls now even though they scare me. I can get the oil change, but it uses up my emotional and brainpower for the week. But it does happen.

Now to figure out how to stop beating myself up for how hard it is for me! Can anyone relate to that part??