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What I Am Doing To Improve Life


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I've been having a terrible time lately.

Can't seem to focus and get things done at work and giving in to distraction.  And as a result, I've had had total loss of confidence (again), and am caught up in worry and anxiety all the time.

 

But I've been here before, and I've come back from it.

 

A short while ago, I found a YouTube channel of motivational videos.  They're pretty high quality, well produced, and I generally like the messages.  They edit together various motivational speakers, personal growth and spiritual gurus, business leaders (i.e. some of Steve Jobs' more inspirational speechifying), athletes, etc.

 

I started listening to and watching them while working out in my basement.  When I would go running outside, I found that a bunch of these and some others are on streaming audio on SoundCloud as well.

 

Here is one that I like. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvGw8tnDQkw This particular one talks about depression and suicide.

 

The video versions splice together some good images, mostly from movies about characters overcoming obstacles.

 

They're NOT a plan of action for recovery and they won't magically make depression go away.  But they serve a purpose, and I found that they're a good distance away from some of the 'motivational' content out there that is basically about just being happy, having a good attitude, it's all within your power, law of attraction, etc. - empty stuff I'm not interested in.  There's a little bit of cliche inevitably, but I found them to have some substance and to be encouraging.  I meant to share these before Christmas and new year's but wasn't able to.

 also bring up the others as it does, and/or you can subscribe to the channel as I have done.

 

Zig Ziglar used to say "motivation isn't permanent...but neither is bathing...and I'm a big fan of both."  That's how I see it. 

 

Although I have been through a lot of resources, books, classes, support groups, good therapy (especially DBT) that has taught me the right things to do to improve the way I feel and am, it is difficult to keep these in mind and to practice them with much discipline, especially when depression rears its ugly head back into my life in a powerful way as it does.

 

So, changing things, doing some new things or a new twist on some old things, can be a bit of shot in the arm.

 Anyway, I share them here in case others enjoy and get something out of them.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yesterday, I couldn't get up and get going.  I emailed into work that I was sick...which as anyone with depression knows, was not untrue.

Later in the day, I read that it was 'blue monday' the day when I guess more people statistically call in sick to work because of depression / monday blues than any other day of the year.

It reminded me not to be so hard on myself.  While at the same time, there are things I need to do to help myself improve, and I have let them drop off with the onset of the cold, insular winter, and more importantly for me, the thoughts and feelings of hopelessness about finances and future.

 

I'm in the process of putting together business plans for a couple interview processes.  I'm so tired of interviewing for another sales position - a profession I know I need to get out of, but feel trapped, and am desperate to provide for my family and my survival.  Someone reminded me that despite all the worry and hardship, I have never actually failed to provide the needs of my family.  It is easy to counter with things like, "yah, but it has taken a toll and I never know where next month's rent and money for bills is going to come from....etc."  But this isn't living in the beauty of the present, something I must practice doing.

 

So, today, I'm just posting here.  This is my connection.  My positivity.  I need to use this as a more productive outlet, rather than the political/news / science sites I tend to go to to zone out because work seems so stressful, overwhelming and hopeless.  One day at a time is worth while.  I have a loving family that truly means the world to me, and makes it worth living when I'm not too obsessed with my own pain.  And I know things can and do change.  I know that what seems impossible today, can become reality. 

 

A simple example is the weight I lost over the last 6 months (25 pounds, and have kept it off).  I struggled and tried to do this for years, but kept gaining weight.  I won't go into how this came about (though it's pretty simple - I began exercising in a new way that made it more interesting, this helped me have the energy to eat better, and I began to feel better.  It helped that it was spring, summer and then fall, yes, and I believe I had a period where hypomania caused an increase in metabolism.  But, I still did it, and it felt/feels good.

 

I can do it with other things.  And things will not always feel like they do now.  One thing I agree with the Buddhists (and others) on is that change is the one constant.  As Zig Ziglar used to say, 'if you don't like where you're at, if you don't like who you are, don't worry about it, you're not stuck with who and where you are.  You can change who and where you are, by changing what goes into your mind and what you do."

 

I am convinced that the relationships in my life--including those here--are by far the thing of greatest and most lasting importance in my life.  And I am thankful today, that I have them.

And I wish everyone here to have a greater level of peace and hope and joy today.

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I got a new job offer today.  It is still in sales - as an executive search recruiter and management consultant.  

 

They're offering a higher base salary which I'm desperate for.  I can't say I really feel good about the company/opportunity - mostly just because I have no confidence in myself to be able to put in the focus and tenacity and achieve results in sales any more.  And I'm concerned about my job hopping every year or two.

 

I don't know if I'm going to take it.

 

I'm nervous too, because they asked to see my W2 from last year, which of course I inflated a little.  I am getting a bonus and am supposed to be getting a raise here, so I guess I'll just tell them that.

 

Another job change, a new set of people and things to learn - and another stop in my 'career'.  

 

Okay, I feel like any 'normal' person, while considering these things would also think, "Hey, I just got a new job offer!  And 30% increase in salary, which we need like oxygen!  And its pretty good location.!"

Ok, I'm taking a moment to feel and think just those things - it is actually remarkable I can still do this despite myself and my depression.  It never fails that in this state of mind, when I am sure I'm utterly worthless and that everyone sees right through me, the opposite is the case - others are able to see the potential that is still there.

 

I don't know what I'm going to do.  I still have to weigh the fact of leaving a firm where I just recently got a promotion, but the simple fact is, I can't survive financially.  I feel like I have to take it...and presuming I do, that's what I'll tell my current bosses....and also hope they don't raise non-compete issues.  I have to think about it tonight.

 

Isn't that a classic symptom of depression - something that should be good happens, and I let it bog me down in brooding and worry.   :sigh:

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1) In the interview with your potentially next employer, Surely they shared with your the expected responsibilities & workloads, you think you can cope with them?

 

2)Let us DFers know if your current company can match the salary offered to you; only prized employees invites bidding wars ;-)

 

Misanthrop,

 

Thanks.  As to 1) - my depression mind says, of course not, I can barely get out of bed right now even in my current, much simpler position....but I also know there is another part of me capable of great things - so we'll call it 50/50 for now, and really, how often can you ask for better odds than that anyway.

 

2)  I don't think my current employer will have interest in matching (one of the things it is known for his hard bargaining and using leverage to drive down salaries, as well as simply continuing to run people through...but having said that, I'll certainly ask the question and see if they are interested.  

 

And thanks.  Someday I'll be able to do this all on my own, but until then, I plan to keep leaning on this wonderful community here and paying it forward by helping others every chance I get.  (and I'm kidding about the on my own bit).

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I'm not sure how much this fits with actions I'm taking to make my life better, but as has been my intent, some days, just posting here honestly is a step in the right direction, and so this is my start today, even if there is some negativity within this, and I am not sure what to do next.

 

I can't seem to get myself going.  Overwhelmed by stress from circumstances, work, family and depression. I'm in the epicenter of the big east coast blizzard.  I actually did well, being physically active, spending a lot of time shoveling out and playing with my kids this weekend, and felt that little uptick from accomplishing something physically.  I even drafted a legal document I needed to in a case I'm defending for myself.  

 

And I got and accepted a new job offer.  I know if I could just be...just accept what is...and let life unfold one moment at a time as it is and choose to be as happy as I can be/feel, I can get by.

I just feel like sleeping forever though.  Confidence and energy are depleted, and I feel hopeless.  I know that these are feelings and they come and go to varying degrees.  I had a pretty, no a very, energetic and actually fruitful summer.  Lost and have kept of 25 pounds, had new baby, got us into a new house, through a lot of effort and minor miracles.  But have no money and feel like I am totally trapped in these sales jobs that give me severe anxiety, or make it worse.  I feel worthless and right now am struggling how to shake it.

 

I helped my girls make a paper mache volcano this weekend, that we'll erupt with vinegar and baking soda later today.  I know I have much to be thankful for.  I just feel like hell.  Some days I just want to die and can't imagine ever feeling better.  This is the part of depression I hate most.

 

Well, I'm going to have lunch now, and then send some emails and plan to make some calls.  And get through to the end of one more day.

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Sometimes I use this space as journal, just as an outlet to help get through a day, when, as is the case most of the time right now, I'm feeling desperate and not sure it's worth going on.  This is definitely one of those times.

 

Winter is a beast.

I've been plenty depressed in other seasons, even summer - I'm not a fan of sticky humidity in the parts of the country where I've lived.

But Winter tends to be the worst.  It seems like a conspiracy not only of the obvious elements of weather and less sunlight, cold, etc., but also of circumstances.

 

What has been especially troubling this time, is that the 5 or 8 months preceding this winter (it's hard to pinpoint exactly), were a period of unusual energy and activity for me.  I got myself into good routines at work, even while it was very challenging, got into a new exercise routine with these free high intensity work out videos I can use most anywhere - and actually finally lost about 25 pounds and have kept most of it off, I survived the surprising (shocking) revelation and arrival of a my third child (yea, love him!), I made it through a grueling interview process (actually a couple) and got a promotion at work - the first time in my career I've ever actually obtained this.

 

Meanwhile, at the beginning of it, I knew that I was entering into at least a hypomanic state, and I immediately went and sought treatment.  I was able to manage it and keep it at a pretty steady and grounded level - and for anyone who has ever come out of depression and experienced mania or even hypomania, they will know what a blessed, welcome relief and sometimes exhilarating and joyous occasion this is.  I was convinced then, and still am now, that in addition to making some improvements off and on in diet, and the exercise, that my metabolism actually sped up noticeably, and this as much as anything else is what helped me lose so much weight that my clothes barely fit now.  All the while, the thought would recurringly pop into my head--as is wont to happen among the depressed and anxious-- 'oh god, what happens when this goes away, what then?!!!'  And then, gradually, I could feel it coming back on.  The feeling of lethargia, listlessness, and with seeming inevitability, hopelessness.  And just not having the energy or motive power to do what I wanted and needed to.  

 

And in the last 2-3 weeks, it has come back with full force and fury, where I'm struggling to get out of bed each morning and a few of them, have not been able to do so or at least to do so nearly on time.  This is terrifying to me, especially with as thin a margin as we have.

 

And yet.....

I am reminded of certain truths:

  1. I have made it this far.
  2. In this exact moment, I have all I need.  All is as it must be.
  3. I have been here before, and survived. 
  4. Though I don't feel like it, I am stronger and wiser now.
  5. I know better what things I can do and what tools I have to get better, to improve the moment.
  6. It takes work, but it's worth it
  7. Feelings do pass
  8. The love I have in general, and with my family and closest friends and with this community are the things of value I can't question
  9. I believe I can learn greater self kindness and grace

 

This feels random and rambling, and less practical than what many write about here, but I needed to write.  Back to my next to-do item....

Thinking today, how dearly I wish I could help everyone out there ameliorate the pain and suffering from depression and anxiety.  Maybe in our own little ways, that's what we do here. 

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Booked my surgery for my neck to fix ongoing issues I have

Working with my peer support worker on my social anxiety

Joining peer counsel at the hospital

Working to get disability tax rebates

Soon to start RDSP savings account

Soon to pay off remainder of student loans

Saving for a car

Working to keep a sustainable legitimate income

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Booked my surgery for my neck to fix ongoing issues I have

Working with my peer support worker on my social anxiety

Joining peer counsel at the hospital

Working to get disability tax rebates

Soon to start RDSP savings account

Soon to pay off remainder of student loans

Saving for a car

Working to keep a sustainable legitimate income

 

Wow, that's fantastic. Thanks for sharing that.

Most of what I intended this thread to be for, was to focus and share this kind of concrete action and efforts and progress.

Sometimes (lately) I get a little far afield and I tend talk about how bad I'm feeling and just surviving...which is okay, 'cause this disease kicks our butts sometimes.

 

But i am very grateful to see what you're doing on your account and also because it reminds and inspires me to get back in this direction.  (I have been doing some things, but haven't necessarily been focusing on them as much here).

 

Anyhow, I'm really glad to hear that.  Keep doing your best.  And remember to congratulate yourself on these fine efforts.

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This morning, I got up a little earlier than I wanted, cut my hair, ironed a shirt, made a call on the way into the office, fought through some bad tech problems we were having with a new hardware installation, and made some calls.

 

I took some Ritalin when my alarm went off...I've tried this before.  It does not help me get up, at all, but once I am up, it helps me get moving faster (which I think contributed to the above).  Getting up is a very big challenge right now, and this weekend, I need to get back to a solid plan to deal with it more effectively for now.

 

Now, I'm going to go collect some $ for girl scout cookies I sold for my daughter, hit the gym and be back at my desk for a 1:30 client call.

 

Feelings still going up and down, but I'm giving myself some needed credit today here.  Good job me.

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