A Preview Of Tomorrow

It’s 10:11 p.m., and I am sitting here in front of the computer debating whether or not to begin writing a lengthy post about something I read in an article today. This article contained a phrase and a concept I had never heard before, and I’ve been formulating what I wanted to write on the subject all day long.

But it’s 10:22 p.m. now. And I’m sleepy.preview

Everything I keep reading on the subject of depression stresses the importance of sleep, so I think for once I’m going to heed the advice of the experts.

Good night, all. I’ll be back tomorrow…

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Resolutions

“Reading your blogs, you talk about fixing the depression and yourself all at once. That’s a LOT OF PRESSURE on you. Why?? Pick one thing. Make it attainable.”

Those words were written to me on Facebook a few days ago by a very dear friend of mine, someone who is also no stranger to struggles with depression. I’ve been thinking of what she said today as the dawn of 2015 draws nearer. The new year is a time to make resolutions and to set goals, and far too often the temptation is there to shoot for the moon and achieve the impossible.

The only problem with achieving the impossible, however, is it’s, well, impossible.

small-goalsMoving outside of the realm of depression for a moment, consider one of the most common of New Year’s resolutions – to get in shape and lose weight. When you stop and think about it, that’s a pretty broad goal. It’s also one of the most common to overshoot. It’s simply to large to be taken as a whole. A series of smaller goals, such as resolving to exercise at least 30 minutes every day or not snacking after dinner each night, will eventually add up to achieving the larger one, but they require more discipline and planning and, ultimately, determination.

It has been very easy in the past for me to resolve to not be as depressed in the upcoming year. I didn’t have a particular plan mapped out for this; I was just going to do it, the same way someone who wants to get in shape is just going to get up and start cross-training one day. It was really more of a hope than a resolution, because I didn’t even know what I was facing, really. I just knew I didn’t feel good, and I wanted to feel better, so I resolved to do so.

I still struggle with that mentality, even after going through a few rounds of cognitive therapy. It’s like my friend said; I want to fix everything all at once. The reality is, though, the road to recovery is made up of numerous small goals along the way. Instead of “I’m not going to be depressed anymore,” why not “I will read at least 30 minutes a day” or “I will sleep at least eight hours a night” or “I will invite at least one friend out for lunch every week”? While none of these may sound very grandiose, they are the building blocks to something more structurally sound.

So as I close out 2014, I’ve been compiling a list of smaller goals that I hope will propel me toward larger ones. “Smaller,” however, does not always equal “easier,” which means 2015 could be shaping as a year of great work and effort for me. On the flipside, “great work and effort” don’t necessarily mean I have to figure everything out this year.

I wanted to conclude this final post of 2014 with a huge “thank you” to everyone who has stopped by to read what I have written this year. I have questioned the usefulness of what I’m doing here with almost every post, and your views, likes, and comments have been such an encouragement to me. I feel as if we’re all on this journey together, and I pray that all of us are able to progress and grow in 2015. God bless you all.

Out Of Rhythm

I’m off.

Some of this is actually my fault. For reasons I have never been able to explain, I tend to stay up later at night when I’m depressed. I was kind of down in the dumps for a few days last week, and the next thing I knew I was still awake at 10:30 or 11 o’clock at night, which wouldn’t be bad if I didn’t wake up at 4 in the morning to go to work Monday-Friday. By Friday night (when my mood had actually improved significantly), I was starting to feel the effects of not sleeping enough earlier in the week.

So, like any male who thinks he can fix any problem by simply swinging completely and ridiculously in the opposite directionCircadianRhythm of his current behavior, I decided I was going to turn in early Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. I knew the time change of “falling back” an hour would be thrown in there, but it usually doesn’t bother me because I like getting the extra hour of sleep. By Monday, my mind reasoned, I should be right back on track.

Except that didn’t really happen.

I went to bed at 8:10 p.m. last night, thinking I’d hit the ground running to begin the work week. The weird thing was, I woke up feeling more tired this morning than I did any of those days I stayed up too late last week. And, to be perfectly honest, I’d rather be sleeping right now than typing this. All of a sudden, I went from not wanting to sleep to not feeling like I can sleep enough.

So now I’m a little off.

I tried reading up today on circadian rhythms, and I’ve seen plenty of articles discussing the importance of sleep for those who suffer from depression. Is it really that important, though? The argument almost devolves into the “chicken or the egg”: Do I not sleep because I’m depressed, or am I depressed because I don’t sleep? Or does it really matter either way? Depression or no depression, there is a definite rhythm to our bodies that can be thrown out of alignment. And when the body is out of alignment, well, the mind…

That’s why I’m wrapping this post up without any kind of particular lesson or insight or anything like that. I’m tired, I’m off, and I need to get back on. Goodnight, all. May your minds and bodies be in perfect sync in the morning.

Sleep, Podcasts, Stealing, And Mick Betancourt

My wife suggested the other day that I get a sleep study done, and I can’t say that’s an entirely unreasonable idea. I am not exaggerating when I say I could fall asleep at virtually any time of day, possibly even on command. And I’m not talking a light sleep, either. I’m talking drool-on-the-pillow snoozing. When I’m out, I’m out.

I know a bunch of studies have been done on the link between depression and sleep. The National Sleep Foundation’s website devotes quite a bit of space to the topic. Most of the studies I’ve seen seem to suggest the more sleep you get, the less likely you are to experience severe depression, so it would stand to reason I should probably sleep more than I do. When I comb through the Bible, though, there seems to be a certain male bravado when it comes to the topic of sleep. “Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty…” Of course, I realize I am probably grossly misinterpreting these verses, but as someone who has always struggled with never feeling as if they’ve put forth enough effort, punishing my body with a lack of sleep seems somehow noble to me.

Anyway, I say all this because right now I’m tired. I should have been in bed at least an hour ago, but I felt like I needed to post something here before hitting the hay. Over the course of the past two days, I’ve been listening to an extraordinary episode of Paul Gilmartin’s podcast The Mental Illness Happy Hour, featuring comedian/podcaster/writer Mike Betancourt. If you can withstand the litany of f-bombs the approximately one-hour discussion produces, you’ll hear one of the most harrowing life stories ever experienced, as well as how someone can survive the absolute worst this world can throw at them.

I feel incredibly guilty about just throwing a link up here, since that’s basically stealing someone else’s work just to generate some traffic, but Betancourt’s story really affected me so I wanted to give it some exposure. Again, to clarify, the topic matter is very adult, and the language is atrocious, so don’t expect an easy listen. If you find the broadcast offensive, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Actually, even if you do say it, I won’t hear you … because I’ll be asleep.

Good night.

http://mentalpod.com/Mick-Betancourt-podcast