Realizing I’ve been depressed was a big turning point for me this week. I thought I was just sad, just dealing with grief for the first time and not knowing how to handle it. I didn’t walk around in a miserable state, I ran errands, I shopped, I talked to people, I posted happy pictures to my IG feed. I was finding joy in the little things, but that spurt of joy was so short lived it almost doesn’t register.
After a pretty intense breakdown and talking with the very patient Husband (over and over…and over again) and actively taking a step back to analyze how I was feeling, thinking, and reacting, I realized I was depressed.
I’ve been down this road before – several years ago my depression became so bad I didn’t want to get out of bed. Each day was a struggle, but slowly over time I realized I had to get out of my own head and take back my happiness. So I did. It was hard, so hard but I did it. I began working out each night, alone in my bedroom. At first just for a few minutes and then those minutes slowly morphed into one hour. And then two. I have an addictive personality that grasps onto emotions easily, so feeling the strength and joy that comes from working out was just what my previously sad mindset needed.
When I finally thought through the last six weeks, I realized that I had basically stopped working out. Other than a couple (free) yoga sessions on Saturdays, I haven’t practiced my yoga, I haven’t done a single barre class since moving to Florida and haven’t been running. I justified that we couldn’t afford for me to join a new studio right now because of all the new home expenses. Sure, we are bleeding money left and right, but the real reason is that I didn’t want to workout. I didn’t want to sweat and feel a real emotion. I didn’t want to meet new people. I didn’t want to hold myself accountable on my own mat. Feel what barre sparks inside of me. Run for the pain and then the strength it gives me.
I also haven’t been to the pool on over two months (very pale skin for a Floridian now!) because the thought of putting on a swimsuit exhausted me. Sweating in the sun, running outdoors, giving my all in barre class and opening myself up to yoga are all things that give me a deep sense of joy and I stopped them all.
Realizing this has been a huge turning point for me. Writing again has opened me back up to thinking through a situation and as my sister -in-law phrased it “you have to get to a point where you are a witness to your thoughts coming and going but they don’t run your life”. That Buddhist thinking has helped me immensely over the last few days. It’s still a work in progress, but knowing it is half the battle for me.
I went for my first run the other day. That runner’s high was something I missed without knowing I missed it. I rolled out my yoga mat across our empty dining room and floated from one position to the next with freedom and joy. I used the kitchen counter as my “studio barre” for an impromptu session while talking on the phone to my grandma. The Husband and I took a late night run last night. All these little things are adding up to more. More joy, more happiness, more freedom from depression.