Uncomfortably numb. AKA depression.

I’ve written before of the experience of living with depression. It is a unique experience for each and every one afflicted. Most people I know who have lived with depression identify with the feeling of disconnect, lack of clarity and perpetual fog that I know. There are common themes, but the severity, the presentation, the duration, the triggers… all vary.

I find myself grasping at the instances of sun peaking through the fog, like each one is the only one I’ll know. While I know that many other times I can’t even be bothered to open the curtains in hopes of a glimmer of the sun’s rays – the fog is just going to roll back in sooner than later anyway.

Mavilette Beach in fog

What started my depression? It’s really hard to say. My first memory of someone suggesting I was dealing with depression came when I was newly married, almost twenty years ago. An episode brought on by relationship problems. I muddled through and came out on the other side before I even saw the counselor I’d been referred to. For years after I struggled along, seeing each of my next challenging circumstances as separate and at no time did I consider the cumulative affects.

Stress, or the experience of feeling stressed can be brought on by both negative and positive circumstances. Extra-marital affair, moving, new jobs, birth of a child, work related stresses, purchasing a home, chronic pain, returning to school, death of a loved one, new career, abusive relationship, and on, and on. Each of these can and will have cumulative affects if not managed well, affects that manifest themselves in depression and/or anxiety.

Something else that I know is that no two individuals cope the same way, nor does one necessarily cope the same way in each cycle of depression. Some become hermits, some become promiscuous, while others still turn to substances or other vices for a high. Few know of my own struggles if I don’t speak openly of them.

I work in a challenging and stressful job where I make it through most days in much the same manner as my counterparts. Most days I manage to get my children to their own obligations and interests. The house is relatively well kept. Most of my finances are in order. I ask for and accept help much of the time. On the surface I keep it together most of the time.

My physical pain flares up with every additional stress in my life, good, bad or ugly, physical or emotional. My depression comes in waves and does not seem to correspond specifically with any set timing or circumstance. Sometimes, I can’t standthe idea of of being alone. Sometimes, I can’t bear the thought of entertaining someone else’s company. Most of the time I simply feel numb.

I doubt myself often. I doubt my judgement. I doubt my decisions. I doubt my feelings. And honestly, there seems no way of really knowing which ones are valid, genuine, or in my own best interests.

More often than not, I wish for a blank slate. There are only a few significant things in my life that I wouldn’t wish to do over.

Sometimes the best change is that which comes from circumstances thrust upon you. It’s not about what the events actually are. It’s all in what you do with them. I try not to let life make my choices for me, but take control and make my own choices, even when all I want to do is bury my head in the sand.

Sometimes the actions and decisions of others force decisions to be made and actions to be taken just when we’ve grown complacent, or perhaps even have given up.

One thing I’m learning from a few of the most challenging circumstances in my life is to stop wishing life away. I catch myself still… wishing away the day and the week, just desperate for the weekend. Wanting to make time stand still on Saturday, to not have to go back to the responsibilities of day-to-day life.

So here I am trying to get better… better at: Making the most of life. Living in this moment. Living every day like there may be no tomorrow. Going with the flow and questioning things less. We hear it all the time. Death is the only real inevitability. Whether it comes today, tomorrow, next week, year or decade. It comes.

Sun and ocean

This is where I try to make my changes. It’s not cliché. It’s a fact, we have only this moment. Grab it.


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Stop. Commit. Act.


We’ve all said it at one time or another. I wish I could do such and such, but I just don’t have the time… A speaker at a mom’s networking event recently shared some very wise words: we CAN have it ALL, just not all at once. Once we get that, we can make time <and yes it is ALL about MAKING time> for ourselves.


Once I made the decision to fit fitness into my life, it happened, other less important things got pushed aside. Activities that I once completed in 2 weeks, would take 4. It was OKAY! I was out there, pounding the pavement, coming back with my heart racing and my lungs on fire – feeling glorious!


Guess who benefits from your self care time? Sure you do, and that is the most important thing, but for some the motivation to do so comes from this: we cannot give to others all of ourselves unless we take care of ourselves first! It’s true, the less we care for ourselves, the less we have of ourselves to offer others. Guess what – when we are feeling refreshed and alive we treat our loved ones with more care, compassion and concern. We are able to empathize better, and we actually ENJOY giving to others.


What is the trick? Scheduling ME into the calendar first!


I know this is easier said than done, but it’s critical. The next step being: following through with the schedule. Which is where I still struggle. Yes, I see that 15 minutes of mindfulness before I leave my room in the morning scheduled in my calendar, but I’m JUST going to check on the noises coming from 8-year-old’s bedroom before I get started… Guess what? I don’t get started.


One thing I have learned from past successful attempts at making time for self care is that I need a goal, something to work towards that provides me with both accountability and a sense of accomplishment. When I was running, I would enter an event that coincided with the end date of my current goal. There is nothing like fundraising for a cause and not only starting, but finishing the 5K, 10K or even half-marathon I just signed up for to get me motivated. People are counting on my to bring their message across the finish line and many people are aware of my deadline!

So, how do I incorporate that into my current goals? I am no longer running, due to knee injuries. I’m not a fan of winter cycling, and the pool hasn’t been working for me lately, no matter how much I love it. So, it’s walking and mindfulness for me.


I’m sure there is a walking event I can sign up for, similar to my running challenges, but what do I do about the mindfulness I so desperately need to slow down and experience?


Share your ideas with me and I will report back with a plan of action! Perhaps you’ll join me?