I’m seeing more and more articles with headlines: Day 18 of Self-Isolation.
It starts with a dire warning, “The kids broke the toaster.” Then they go on to tell you about how the kids are doing beyond the toaster and the baking they have done. All of this is important in their lives and is mildly amusing at times.
My interest in COVID 19 stems from being deemed an essential employee.
And on top of that, Mom is in an Assisted Living facility. My contact with her for the past few weeks has been by phone. I drop packages off in the lobby, where the inside doors shield the workers from the outsiders. I talk to the receptionist via an intercom and then back away slowly, not making any sudden movements.
Outside, I call Mom on my cell.
Then I stand next the Gazebo in the parking lot. Mom’s window faces the front of the building, so we can visit “virtually.” She can see me, and I can see her. She moves a chair up to the window and we can visit. My brother and sisters, and other family members have used this technique to spend time with Mom.
Outside of this and my day job, I am counting down the days until my first anniversary of being in the hospital diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. This milestone is approaching, whether I am ready to relive the experience or not.
Reading some of my first blog posts after my release, I can see how far I have come.
Boy was I sad. And more than that, I was hopeless. I could not see any way forward. I was up against the wall and did not see any way through it, around it, or even over it. The abyss I was in blocked out the light and kept any glimmer of hope from reaching down to where I was.
“Gloom, despair, and agony on me, deep dark depression, excessive misery, if it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all, gloom despair and agony on me.”
Watching Hew Haw as a kid, I thought this bit was funny. It never occurred to me that someone would feel that way. Or that people lived with depression, nerves as my family labeled it. The fact that I would grow up to have it, was not something I would ever have imagined.
READ MORE: What’s the point of my life?
Yet here I am, counting down the days until the first anniversary of my hospitalization for depression.
My progress has plateaued. I do not feel like I am moving forward right now. Thankfully, I do not feel like I am falling backwards, either. This is a great relief. My first few months out of the hospital, I was always looking over my shoulder for the next shoe to drop. One bad day would have me circling the drain, certain that my recovery was over, and it was only a matter of time before I was back in the abyss.
Learning about WRAP, and developing my own wellness recovery action plan, is making me less fearful.
Having tools I can use to understand what is happening has been very helpful. Sharing these with my support system gives me backup, should I require it. And going to my plan, and re-reading it, as needed, has made my day to day life more consistent.
Having also learned about SMART Recovery, I am blessed to be in the company of so many heroes.
Each one has dealt with their own demons and is committed to living a balanced life. I also meet heroes every time I attend a Peer Support Meeting at On Our Own. Everyone there is a hero in my book. Making the effort to show up is proof to me of their courage and conviction. My hats are off to each one!
READ MORE: How I found out superheroes are real
I’m not sure what I am expecting to happen as I approach my first anniversary.
Maybe manna from heaven? A sign that I am on the right path. Some signal that I am focusing on the right things, things that will lead me to living a balanced life with depression. I know this is possible and I want to be one who does this consistently. Knowing there have been periods in my life where depression was not in the driver’s seat gives me hope. Do I need to spend so much time focusing on what I am calling a milestone event?
What I am counting is the first year of my new life.
This is a big deal. Being the competitor, I want to see my 100th birthday. That will give me 36 years to stay ahead of depression. Knowing it had the upper hand for my first 43 years, I think it is time I took control. Catching unhelpful thinking early, not keeping secrets, and staying open with my support group have been ways I may keeping depression in its place.
Going forward, I want to live a balanced life.
So maybe it’s time I focus on the present. Of course, that means thinking about COVID 19, social distancing, and self-quarantine. The only good news about this option is I have tools I can use right now to cope. I do not need to learn new ways to think, I have learned them. Applying WRAP AND SMART to coronavirus has made the pandemic more manageable
So, shelter in place while I think about how I will spend the first anniversary of my hospitalization for depression.
My concealed depression is written under the alias “Depression is not my boss.” I have certifications in SMART Recovery and am a Global Career Development Facilitator.
Last year, I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder.If you know someone who might benefit from reading this, please share. And your comments are always appreciated.