Not only is depression a lying bitch, she is a sneaky one, too. She lies hiding in plain sight, camouflaged against the detritus of daily life, smack bang in the middle of it, waiting for you to come and stumble across her, falling down flat-faced and starting the slow but inevitable slide down the slippery slope. She jumps on your back, digging her claws into you, sapping your will to live, dragging you further down the dark pit of despair.
Luckily, I cried out for help and was caught by some voices of reason. I took some vitamin D. I had a shower and got dressed. I got busy with the standard weekend chores. Groceries were bought, laundry was done, then we went out for dinner. By evening I was well away from the slippery dip and my camouflaged nemesis.
Constant vigilance and doing the daily things that in and of themselves seem so insignificant, but all together add up to my self-care, make all the difference between being able to catch myself at the edge of the pit and falling into it for a week. Getting out of bed, taking those vitamins, writing those gratitude things, reaching out to other humans and keeping up with the chores – all help me keep it together for another day. And every now and then, I do something different, something out of the routine – we go out for a meal, go to the park, light a fire outside, have lunch with a friend, take a road trip. Light up the ordinariness of life with the extraordinary. Well, not really that extraordinary, but different enough to stand out.
And the gratitude thing isn’t really that ordinary. It allows me to find the extraordinary in the tedium of the everyday. The pretty sky at sunset, the perfectly timed dinner, the hug I give my kid when I get home from work, the softness of my kitty-cat’s fur. These things are with me constantly and they remind me that reality is not bleak.
But sometimes I get preoccupied and forget to notice. My spidey-senses are dulled and I stumble over the camouflaged rock in my path.
Hopefully I can always recover as quickly as I did last weekend. Because a week in the black pit is not fun.
How do you keep your spidey-senses sharp and keep from stumbling?