I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the last week. I scheduled a whole load of posts so I didn’t have to think about my blog for a week and it gave me time to think about other things – depression of course is where most my thoughts go.
I have been working extremely hard to change my thinking process and behaviours, but people want more of me. I don’t blame anyone for my depression, but I also do not believe that other people impact upon it. I have looked at my behaviours in detail this last week that some people (not my doctor or counsellor I might add) have said I must change in order to get better:
Withdrawing from people
A big sign of depression is this, but I have always shied away from people. I’ve always been independent and could be described as a loner. I’m not afraid to go and do things on my own from travel to the cinema. I’ve never had lots of friends, only a key few that I keep in touch with. When I started school I would stand on my own until I was forced to join in. At home there was a too big an age gap between me and my sisters so I had imaginary friends (who could disappear when I wanted to be on my own). I much prefer my own company the majority of the time to being around people (I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to live with someone long term). At university I worked a lone (expect on group projects) and did my best work from home, rather than at the library with my friends. I’ve found the transition from school to university to working in an office extremely difficult. I have to zone out in order to focus on my work. Overall I have never been a social butterfly and don’t expect myself to be. I am angry that other people expect me to be when I have never portrayed myself that way. I think my withdrawal is exaggerated at present because of the depression, but it not a new aspect of my character.
I have never been the most optimist person. I a worrier and usually have multiple plans for everything! I remember as a kid at swimming club that I wouldn’t want to go back if I was told I would be moving up to the next class, but if they just moved me up on the day it would be no problem. I like to plan trips and ensure I have all my accommodation booked before I arrive anywhere. I noticed on my New Zealand trip that almost everyone played it by ear, but I just cannot do that as it causes me stress. I also think that having a few health issues as a kid has left me afraid that I not okay or good enough for people, which is why I worry about what other people think and compare myself to others. At the moment I feel low as I have no plan and I don’t know where I am going. As this has been the case for over a year I am not surprised these feels are more prominent than they normally are, but the key thing again is they are not new feeling that have appeared since I got depression. They have always been part of my character.
Getting Caught Up In Thoughts
Combing the two above means I get caught up in thoughts. The worst thoughts to get caught up in are the ones where I don’t think I’m good enough. I’ve always relied on marks on homework, exams and coursework to tell me I’m on track. With swimming it was getting the next badge and the same when I used to ice skate. I depend on external validation a lot and in the working environment I am finding it an extremely steep learning curve to rely on internal validation. When I think rationally it makes sense why I feel lost and worried about my work and job as I am also learning to be confident in myself. Again this is nothing new as I often don’t realise I am walking towards or past someone on the street until they get right in front of me and say something. I live in a world of my own and don’t mind most of the time.
Unhelpful Eating Habits
Eating has always been a struggle for me. I was put on diets as a kid. Constantly told by doctors, nurses, parents to lose weight. I remember I stopped being picked up and hugged early on and now have trouble will letting people into my space. I also remember having to make the choice between having something to eat and having a drink when out with family and a big deal being made out of want desserts or being hungry when other people weren’t. I started to hide my eating early one. I would steal a pound from my mum and buy as many chocolate bars as I could (when they used to be 29p each rather than 70p). I didn’t understand that just because people didn’t see me eat that it wasn’t visible as I put on weight. I was too young to know how weight worked and what it meant. I ended up being ashamed of eating and my hunger and would both punish and praise myself with food. I now understand all about diet and exercise, but that doesn’t make it easy to change the habits I learned as a kid. So my eating habit have also not formed since I got depression.
Everything has been a long time in the making and I don’t expect things to change overnight, so am angry that other people do and have told me so. I have made changes I am extremely proud of:
- asking for and getting help form my doctor and counsellor
- exercising regularly
- trying to eat well and understanding why it means to do so
- doing things I enjoy (rather than things I think I should be doing)
- spending time with myself and my thoughts and not being afraid of them
- really feeling things and letting myself ride the wave
- buying a house and moving forward with my life how I want to
There are times I want to tell these people who tell me change even more about the changes I have made but then I remember it is none of their business. I am who I am and the way I behave works for me. I am aware that there are changes I still may need to make but I am not going to force myself to do so to make someone else feel better. I will get better at my own pace and make the changes I need to make to get there!