When I first wrote New Beginnings and Mottoes I had a lot of aspirations, some to cope with my depression.
I wanted to believe in these two mottoes of, ‘I can’ and ‘Get over it’.
I wanted to try all these new things so I did.
But there is a lot to be said about spreading yourself too thin.
I can do everything I want to do, but I don’t have to do it all at the same time.
In the past, I juggled my full time job, along with two part time jobs. I was also a writer, a reader, and I had the occasional hobby.
Don’t forget, I was/am also a mom of two young kids, and a wife to a man who doesn’t drive.
There are 24 useable hours in every day.
Movie quote reference. I actually wrote this before in a piece I called Time Management.
Yes, there are 24 useable hours in every day, and yes, I used them all. But things started to overlap, and other things had to give.
One of my part time jobs, editing and publishing for Morning Rain Publishing, was one of my sacrifices.
I loved to do this, don’t get me wrong, but I could only find time to do it if I was also doing other things at the same time.
I’d cook, eat, work on my second part time job (Mary Kay phone calls), be with my family, and make sure my kids were up to speed in school.
They didn’t have homework at the time but it was my job to help with reading, writing, and arithmetic.
All of this was done, while also sitting at, or going back and forth from, my desk so that I could work on the edits.
Multi-tasking Isn’t the Answer to Depression (For Me)
I was a pro at multi-tasking.
Sure, the publishing task was my main priority while I was doing it, and I was really good at focusing on the edits. But everything else was done terribly.
I’d cook fast, eat poorly, and get frustrated with everything else.
Frustration is a symptom of anxiety and depression. Actually it’s a symptom of life but how you deal with it says a lot.
My husband noticed that I was quick to snap. My mood would go from zero to a hundred in the blink of an eye, and there’d be no mood in between.
My Mary Kay phone calls almost always led to tears. Why weren’t people answering?
Those who did, why didn’t they care as much as I did about the skin care products that could change their life, or at least their face?
Parenting led to tears or yelling, or some weird combination of both. Why weren’t my kids understanding this math? We’ve gone over it a million times.
Why do I need to help them read this book? We’ve done this before.
My husband always made me angry. Always. Even when he was trying to help, it would just piss me off.
Why is he helping me cook? It’s just Kraft Dinner; it doesn’t take any special skill.
Does he think I can’t do this? Why is he commenting on my parenting? I don’t see him helping with the homework.
The more frustrated I became, the higher my anxiety soared.
By the end of the night, I was so exhausted but couldn’t sleep. I was wound up by the day’s events, and depressed that nothing was as it should be.
At this point I hadn’t recognized that I was not doing all things with my heart, and most tasks didn’t even require my head.
I hadn’t figured this part out yet.
I would just lie in bed and think, look at all that I’ve accomplished today, why do I still feel incomplete?
In order to battle the depression, and the sinking ship of comparison, I’d ask myself, what else can I do?
Filling the Void
This is where I’d come up with a new hobby or hair-brained scheme to help me fill the void of emptiness.
That’s what depression is to me, emptiness. I don’t feel sad, I feel empty, devoid of all feelings.
You know what might help that? Running. I’m going to start running today.
This new idea would not replace any of the old ideas; I’d just tack it on.
Previously I wrote about Trying, Failing, Trying Again, where I listed all the things I could think of that I tried over the course of my marriage.
Not all of them overlapped. The pricier things definitely did not. But you can see how this sort of thing can happen.
What fills the void? Well then, I must do that.
Something has to give. No it doesn’t.
Mental battle, over and over and over again.
I’d spread my time thinner and thinner until everything crashed.
I couldn’t manage my life. Simple things became impossible because I did not trust my judgment.
The bottom line is, I spread myself so thin that I couldn’t breathe.
I read this quote and thought it was applicable here:
The more you multitask, the less deliberative you become; the less able to think and reason out a problem. – Nicholas Carr
It took me a long time to finally realize that I had become less purposeful by doing more.
Not only was I not actually accomplishing anything, but eventually it led to my downfall.
I couldn’t think for myself. I couldn’t reason or solve any problem.
In fact, I had caused more depression than before. The thing I was trying to avoid in the first place just increased exponentially.
Unfortunately I haven’t overcome this. Depression doesn’t go away. Anxiety can go away from time to time, but depression never does.
How do I cope? This is what I’m learning. At the moment, this is what I do well.
I can still do a lot of things, but I cannot do them all at the same time.
Every morning I make a list of what I need to do in the day.
I’ll save my daily routine and habits for another post, because it will no doubt be another long one… or two…
Do one thing at a time, and do it with your full body, mind and heart. Give it your all and be great at it.
Sure you can do everything today, but not well. So pick the things you have to do, followed by the things you would like to do.
Do one at a time.
Accept that you might not get through your list.
Acceptance is hard. This takes a lot of strength for me. Since I’m getting too far in the word count, I’ll save this topic for another day also.
The takeaway here is to focus on one thing at a time. Even something simple as drinking a cup of water.
Focus on drinking water. Try not to let your mind go elsewhere.
Like any good things, it takes practice. You won’t be good at it right away, and that’s ok.
Focus on one thing at a time, one day at a time. That’s how we’re going to get through this illness.
One day at a time.