Today started off quite well. All was perfectly satisfactory.
It was my day off today, so I took the dog for a long walk along the coast (18km in total). The benefits of exercise for mental health sufferers (and of course health in general) are well documented, but I am sure I am not alone when it comes to how I feel when I’m having depressive episodes. When I am suffering from depression, it often includes not wanting/having difficulty leaving the house. So going for a walk, running, or any other form of exercise, especially if there is the possibility of encountering other people, can be very daunting at such times. Let’s face it if you are feeling down about yourself or extremely body conscious then gyms are the worst. You will undoubtedly end up having to talk to someone at reception, then there are the changing rooms, and then not only are you in a room full of lots of other people but there are mirrors everywhere so you can see yourself from all angles. It doesn’t matter how gorgeous others perceive you to be, practically everyone dislikes some part of themselves and seeing it bobbing about in a mirror is not going to make you feel better about it.
I apologise now, this is going to be a flow of consciousness exercise, it might get edited, it might not, either way it will probably not lose the ranting tone. Sorry.
Fortunately, I didn’t wake up this morning feeling low. I felt like my more usual self. So I enjoyed the walk. I am grateful to no longer live in the city, I was brought up in the countryside and am just not well-adjusted to city life. That I can also go for walks by the sea is a dream come true. So I have a lot to be thankful for and in truth a number of good things going. Having a dog is a real blessing. She helps me get out of bed. Truly. Even on days when I don’t wake up feeling good, when she needs to go out, she potters up and places her nose on the edge of the bed. She doesn’t lick my face or anything like that, and fortunately she’s young so her breath isn’t too bad. But seeing her little nose snuffling at me to let her out makes me feel loved and needed and is fantastically motivating. She also helps me get lost in the moment when I am out walking her, something that I have never managed before. I really struggle to focus on just one thing. I’m useless at meditating and yoga and such things. But with my dog, either I am just enjoying the walk, the scenery I am part of and seeing her enjoy the walk, or I actually start day-dreaming again. Not catastrophizing or dreaming up disasters but proper day-dreaming. The realms of fantasy or things that I might hope one day to achieve and for once not mentally putting obstacles in place at every turn.
When I returned home, I had soup for lunch, wholesome and healthy. The day seemed to be getting better. Then I managed to make some headway in the home improvements my husband and I are undertaking. Our house is quite old and the previous owners did not take great care of it, so there are a lot of things that we are having to patch up and renovate. We also like the character features of the property and we are trying to highlight these and expose those that had previously been covered over. With my husband studying a PhD and myself working multiple jobs, our projects are currently progressing rather slowly. So I was pleased with my work this afternoon.
I had managed to achieve my goals for the day. But for some reason, as the sun began to set, my mood began to sink as well.
I don’t know why and I find it incredibly frustrating. I hadn’t watched or listened the news, which is something that can sometimes trigger my anxiety and fill me with a feeling of hopelessness. What I had done was attempt to fill out my tax return. Other than the goal of writing a daily post, this was the last thing I had hoped to achieve today. It wasn’t particularly urgent. As my contract changed last year I am no longer categorised as self-employed. This is a relief for me. I am aware that for many people of my generation, being their own boss is the dream goal. But for me, that’s too stressful. I am happy working for, or with, someone else. It’s not about responsibility or the ability to make decisions, I’m actually quite good in both of these areas. It just feels like having all ones eggs in one basket, and with someone who overthinks every little aspect of almost every part of their life, working for myself would likely end in disaster. Maybe that’s weakness in character, or a personal failing, but it’s the truth.
Each and every year I that I have been registered as self-employed I have experienced some complication with my tax return. It should actually be really simple. I have all my receipts, figures and so on. But logging in, time after time is just a nightmare. I didn’t realise how stressed it was making me until I sat down to dinner. I haven’t really stopped grazing since.
Now I am just waiting to be tired enough to go to sleep. I see sleeping as resetting. I am fortunate to know that I will feel different tomorrow. I haven’t always felt that way though.