Depression: When you feel better, do better…. (And when you don’t, take the pressure off of yourself and sit down)
March 6, 2012
Depression: When you feel better, do better….
And when you don’t, take the pressure off of yourself and sit down.
Ever since I’ve come out of the closet about depression (right around my 41st birthday in September 2011), I’ve become the depression queen Not a title I was vying for like my beloved Homecoming Queen title of 1987 (yep, Homecoming Queens get depressed too…and since no one cares about that title after high school, why not slip it into a blog post…shamelessly)
Anyway, as Depression Queen, my friends—and sometimes just acquaintances– now tell me more and more when they think they are down, blue or fighting depression. These discussions help me reflect on depression as a whole and my depression in particular.
So here’s another nugget I’ve recently reflected on while helping a friend.
You know there are just some seasons in this life when you can do more. You have the energy and the will to organize those closets (ha! I’ve been wanting to do this forever…and two apartments later, I think I’m on the road to organization). You might decide to take up a hobby and can actually stick with it. You want to get out, you want to try a new recipe; shoot, you just might want to date and post your profile on match.com (another shameless plug for those of you who know my story!)
But then, there are times where just thinking of any of those tasks can send you into a tailspin. When I was in the middle of my depression state—the foggy, numb kind– getting out of bed to catch the #4 bus to head downtown (only a few miles from my house) was a major chore. If I got to work, I could consider this day a success. If I turned in my work on time, proclaim it a gold-star day. Thankfully, I worked in an environment with flexible deadlines. And quite frankly, my past work had proven I did make deadlines and I did do my work well so my bosses were generally less worried about my ability to deliver. This is where over achiever syndrome pays off; people know your ability and if you just do minimal work, you can still “fake” it for a minute and still look like you’re achieving something.
Of course, the high achiever syndrome does have a down side; you have to lower your own personal standards for yourself…and that can be hard and troubling and our biggest hurdle. Looking back, I know my work wasn’t my personal best during these years; perhaps I didn’t think of many new ideas and just completed the necessary tasks. But you know what, that was okay for that stage of my life.
So, that’s why this post is titled: when you feel better, do better. (just like knowing and doing better). But when you don’t feel well, lower your standards. Figure out what HAS to be done and do it. The other stuff (like the closet) will be there when you feel better. And trust me, organizing a closet won’t feel so painful when you’re healthier (Right now, I actually enjoy reading and trying to implement the helpful tips at container store.com).
Take a moment to go easy on yourself—it could help you get better sooner.