Monday 21 November 2022

What is depression?

For me it's an umbrella term. 

I'll start this by saying I'm no expert, these are just my thoughts.

Depression doesn't just mean feeling low, unmotivated and unsure of the future. 

Anxiety, stress, low self esteem; they all contribute. 

The voice that says your aren't good enough, you won't succeed, your lack of skill or knowledge will be found out.

They all swirl around, maybe not always front and center affecting my life. Sometimes it will be just one symptom. And I can cope, other times they gang up and present more of a challenge.
A better definition of depression would be that it depresses quality of life, it stops you seeing and reaching your potential. It limits you, applies blinkers and reigns you in.

When it gets bad I stop looking too far ahead. 
Are there goals I can achieve that are closer?

Are there causes of stress or anxiety that I can't control?

What can I control?

Perhaps the hardest is to remember my successes. Why are mistakes so crystal clear and easy to recall?

I also look for distractions, probably a bit controversial this one. A mindfulness course leader said this is not a good tactic. But it works for me. I get on my bike and pedal and gain perspective. Especially at the end of a working day I can switch off; most of the time. Having a stresser in my head isn't healthy. I don't sleep or relax, both build over time to then affect all parts of my life. Maybe it's why I'm feeling the way I'm at the moment. Too much is getting in the way of cycling, or making it difficult.

I start the process of boxing up my issues and worries. 

Each box has a label: needs to be sorted soon, can be kept closed for a while, I can't resolve the contents, and not important.

I live for lists: partly because my memory isn't great, but also to cope. I feel less overwhelmed if I have  a plan. I'm sure a lot of people who know me wonder why I always need to see the future and work to rules or instructions. It's because if these are in place, I can then stop worrying about it.
It mainly comes down feeling in control. I am anxious because I haven't at least planned what I might do. Even if I'm not sure of the solution, I need a next step or task.