Oh boy.. It sure is difficult to greet the new morning with any kind of enthusiasm when the previous night’s sleep was so inadequate. Mornings absolutely set the tone for your days and when you’re depressed, a shitty one could mean the difference between productivity and feeling better or another twenty four hours in the cellar. The problem is, that when you’re depressed, your sleep suffers. I tossed and turned, adjusted my pillows and fought eyes that refused to remain shut at all costs. Rumination, or the obsessive mulling over of thoughts in your mind, only adds fuel to the fire. But, at some point in the early morning I managed a bit of shut eye only to be awakened by the most sensual of dreams. I’ll spare you the details, you naughty creatures you, but I will say that I woke up with my heart begging to leave my chest and the feeling that I was some sort of powerful, menacing feline, ready to pounce on its prey. I tell you, my dreams can be so damn compelling……
Sleep deprivation wasn’t all there was to the story in regards to my bleak start. I was haunted pretty heavily by thoughts of my ex-wife and step children. This holiday season proved to be quite rough for me emotionally as I teetered between missing them immensely and anticipating spending time with my family. To be quite honest, I’m glad the holidays are fucken over. Excuse my French. It’s been quite some time now since I became a divorcee but the pain still rears its head daily. I long for the chemistry we shared, the mutual understanding between us, the adventurous lifestyle we cherished, and the utter joy of being a father, a role model, a loving presence in the lives of a beautiful little girl and boy. The pain is at times indescribable and it results in a sort of separation anxiety, a bottomless longing that becomes paralyzing at times. Depressions are triggered by traumatic experiences and I’m sure all of you reading can attest to this fact. While far from being my only trigger, losing the three of them has been a monster and is what precipitated my dark fall this time around…..
But I made the best of things today, I really did. It started with a desire to clean out and organize the walk-in closet in my bedroom. Before I got down to business, I took care of the little mundane, but very important aspects of daily life. I had breakfast, brushed my teeth, showered, dressed the bed, and had my morning coffee. As I started knocking those off the list, I could start to feel a shift in my mood. I was up and moving! I was accomplishing things no matter how small in nature, and one chore lead into another. I finally got to assessing the closet and throwing shit out that no longer served a purpose. As individuals like myself, who love the outdoors and engage in activities such as hiking, backpacking, climbing, etc, we sure do accumulate a lot of junk. The perfect place to allow my OCD to run wild. It turned into an active meditation by the end. Success! Small triumphs people, remember this. When you’re depressed, it all counts, it all helps. Everything was organized after months of neglect and the re-instated cleanliness is just what I needed…….
It’s funny because as I found myself in this focused and motivated state, I feared for a lack of new distractions. Yikesssss. Not to fear as I remembered that I had a brand new copy of J.D Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye waiting to be flipped open on my desk. And in this manner the day progressed. I cleaned, read, and organized my way into a sense of lifted spirits. The tears came and went, the pain I mentioned, refusing to leave me alone for too long, but I persisted through it all. I even managed a half hour session of Dharma Yoga before getting ready to prepare this blog post. My body felt warm, it felt charged, it felt relieved as I linked one asana, posture, to another. I could hear myself breathing again, engaged through exertion and a desire to continue a practice that I started so long ago. You know what sucks about depression? I know, many things, but one physical symptom really comes to mind. The tightness that one experiences in the body from sleeping so much and carrying such stress inducing emotional loads. Jeez! I felt like an old man at times on my Yoga mat. How quickly your body degenerates when you forsake it. But by the end of the session, my ligaments, tendons, muscles, and back were beyond grateful. I always love that post practice feeling, the one that is defined by a sense of lightness in the body. As if ten years were subtracted from your age. It sure feels nice…..
So that was my day people. Two steps forward, one step back, and the cycle repeats. All you can do is hold on for the ride and reaffirm your desire to get the hell out of the gloom. Again, start with the seemingly most trivial of things. Eat something, freshen up, do some laundry, read a little, write. Whatever you can muster the strength to do, you go ahead and do it. It’s a domino effect in essence as one action sets off a chain reaction that can propel you through your state of melancholy and into a better space. I drive people crazy at times with my talk of the benefits associated with a Yoga practice but for good reason. It’s a strong, compassionate, empowering ally in the battle for experiencing joy and happiness in your life once again.
Have a peaceful night, feel better, sleep wonderfully, and may we all wake up tomorrow a little more equipped to face what the day presents us with.
With much love and positivity…….