My life at the moment is still somewhat of a whirlwind.
I am adjusting to being back into the workforce after 14 months of retirement. And while I have slowed my side business, word of mouth is still producing leads that I feel obligated to accept. This squeezes my time at home into smaller and smaller pieces.
But the bright side is I now have very comprehensive medical, dental, and mental health benefits that I am no longer self-funding. This is huge. I am no longer paying premiums for marketplace health insurance that did not seem to cover anything. In fact, the few times I tried to use it, the plan representative stated that whatever I was trying to use the insurance for, was not covered under the plan.
I did get credit on my tax returns for having insurance coverage.
But if they were still fining people for not having it, I’m sure that option would have been much cheaper. So, the tradeoff of my time for benefits is worth it to me. I am very certain this was a good decision. Working another 4 to 7 years was my original plan.
That was my plan before depression got involved.
Once I started listening to depression (again), my best-laid plan was tossed aside. Depression did not want to hear that things were going well; it did not want to hear that I was saving for retirement. It did not want to hear that in a couple of years, that I could pay off the balance of our mortgage or that the solar panels on the roof were significantly reducing our energy expenses.
What depression wanted to hear was my screams as I was up against the wall.
What it really wanted was for me to do its bidding, without question, and without telling anyone. Depression made it clear that it had the only clear answers to the problem I did not even know I had. And as it showed me why I had this problem, it started to suggest ways of fixing it.
It began by suggesting I could retire early.
After all, my side business was taking off and I could work that and be my own boss. The fact that it might dip into my saving to get started was a small price to pay, depression told me. It told me that I would be better off if I retired, then I could work from anywhere, traveling the world as I wrote and worked whenever I wanted to.
Depression did not mention that it would make my mind so crippled and so filled with anxiety and self-doubt, that I would not be able to actually let myself do that. Hell, at one point, it wouldn’t let me turn the radio on while driving because something bad might happen if I did. And I believed depression for months and kept the radio silent for fear I would return home and the house would be on fire.
So, the focus on my self-care continues.
I do enjoy getting on the riding tractor and mowing our five acres. I enjoy weed eating and trimming, cleaning up flower beds and taking things to the compost piles. And I enjoy time in the hot tub and writing these blog posts. I am also making time each week to visit my support group. Although I am not going three times a week, I am getting there at least once. Being there is like coming home.
No one judges me there and I can be my complete honest, flawed self.
And the people there accept me. They are genuinely happy to see me. They appreciate what I bring to the conversation. And I get so much from them. To me, they are all heroes, showing up to meetings despite the many challenges they face. I stand in awe of their lives and their ability to share their stories. It is always inspirational.
Now I am thinking about self-care with intention, instead of just doing it.
I am naming it in the same way I have named and faced depression. And my actions to take care of my self-help to keep depression in its place. To not give it a trigger to get started manipulating me. It is worth the effort to say, I am doing this, I am scheduling this, like self-care. For the next 15 minutes, I will do this activity, or I will just sit and watch the two rabbits that are eating clover on the hill next to my front porch.
Having to think about and take action with my self-care is worth the time.
As they say in the commercial, “I am worth it.”
Your comments are appreciated as I continue my journey