I felt like such an idiot this morning. After getting a terrible night’s sleep (brain was on energizer bunny mode after an 11-hour day and the bedroom was too bright and too cold), I woke up earlier than usual for my usual Thursday 8:30 call time. I drove all the way to work (a thirty-minute commute) and had almost parked my car before I realized I was the only one there.Read More
Happy Sunday, Fab Feminists!
I wanted to share something that I've been practicing when I feel like my life is running me and not the other way around: treating the five senses. I've found that if I take a couple minutes to focus on the needs of each of my senses, it takes me out of my stress-bubble and allows me to ground myself quickly and effectively. Do one activity for each sense in whatever order you feel like! Combine them into one activity if you want, but make sure to spend equal time engaging each sensation.
On November 4th, millions of people are going to jump for joy about getting back that one hour's sleep they sacrificed back in March. Sure, we can all stay out at the bars an hour later or sleep in an hour more the next day, but hold up--let's not forget that Daylight Saving Time sucks. Every year, we get used to sleeping in an hour later only to groan when next spring rolls around and we've got to adjust to the time change all over again. Here's a wild idea: let's NOT.
According to the internet (the ever so reliable WebMD, in this case), the time change affects our circadian rhythm quite a bit because it changes its primary cue, sunlight, by a whole goddamn hour all of a sudden. NOT ON MY WATCH, IT WON'T! Okay, on my physical watch, it will, but you knew what I meant. By keeping my circadian rhythm intact, I'm hoping that adjusting in the spring won't be as hard as it usually is.
My game plan is to go to bed an hour early on November 4th so that I can still claim my extra hour. On November 5th, though, I'm going to wake up between 6:30 and 7:00 am, which was 7:30-8:00 am the day before, which is the time of day my body is used to getting up in the morning. For those of you who live in more northern/therefore darker locations, a daylight lamp is a great item to purchase. If you haven't heard of a daylight lamp, they're fantastic. It's essentially an alarm clock that wakes you up by getting gradually lighter, making for an easy (and circadian rhythm maintaining) wake-up. You can get one for as cheap as $29.99 on Amazon, but I really like the Phillips Wellner Smart Table Lamp. I can control it from my phone, use it as a bedside lamp, and it looks pretty cool and futuristic, sorta like Baymax.
Folks who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (appropriately dubbed, "SAD") can benefit greatly from a daylight lamp/light therapy. So can people with mood disorders! According to Psychology Today, "If one is treating a mood disorder, light therapy is best given for duration of 30 minutes for every hour one sleeps beyond 6 hours. So for example, if one sleeps 8 hours, they would require one hour of light therapy given one hour before they would normally wake. Since this is unlikely to be done by people who already feel the need for more sleep, it is best to use a dawn simulator light." They recommend starting light therapy one week before symptoms set in, or as soon as they do. Although studies have been performed using a 10,000 lux lamp, other studies show that a light with a lux of 500 could be just as effective. For more information on the benefits, check out the Psychology Today article referenced in this post!
Anxiety is a f***ing b.
You might feel like you're doing everything right, moving forward with your life and then BAM. You're in the midst of a panic attack.
Sometimes, the cause is obvious sometimes, it's something small, sometimes it's completely invisible. For me, I think it's all of those combined. How can you know which came first? Little things become harder and harder for me. Like doing laundry became impossible. I started feeling incapable of getting ready for work until the absolute last minute. After a certain point it's almost like you're trying to make it harder for yourself, but really it's just that exhausting and everything seems impossible.
I was apartment hunting with my boyfriend. That's what set it off I think. I had so many tours scheduled and so many unstored numbers of landlords and brokers in my phone in so many different locations in a span of 24 hours. We ended up at the Realtors office instead of the apartment we were meeting the realtor at (which I realized was his fault because he never actually sent me the god damn address and had his office address listed). A fucking waterfall just opened. I started sobbing these disgusting, snotty sobs, accompanied by those deep uncontrollable noises emphasized by gaps of air you only produced when you cried as a child. Why did I schedule all these meetings this way? I guess I spend too much energy trying to cater to other people's schedule to the point where I burn out on my own.
I feel this immense pressure to always be on top of everything. Yes, it's definitely a bit of a control issue that gets out of control, ironically. But it's these moments (which probably happen a few times a year tbh) that serve as my wake-up call.
I must be reminded sometimes to re-commit to myself. I don't always have to be the one rearranging my schedule for a stranger's comforts. I don't always need to be the one to move off the sidewalk when someone's also using the sidewalk that I'm equally entitled to. I don't have to always say yes to plans I don't have the energy for, or to make those plans work because I said I would even though.
I can't see to get out of bed. Sometimes you have to put yourself first and not apologize for being selfish. Because it's not. Selfishness and self-care are very different. Don't apologize for your anxiety or depression. I'm sure as hell not going to anymore. (well, until my next panic attack, that is.)
I don't know how to start this blog post. I don't know if I'll be able to fully grasp how much depression sucks with a couple paragraphs. I don't know if I'll do myself or anybody else struggling with depression justice with this blog post, but it's become important for me to talk about it and so I think it's important to blog about it.
I went to a psychiatrist for the first time in my life two weeks ago. Before I went, a friend told me they thought I could get through this without medication. My partner thought that when I had a massive breakdown after a couple drinks, I was being dramatic. My boss wrote me up for substandard work. Let me be completely clear about this--it is hard to survive a single day with depression. It seeps into your bones and makes you ache. It makes you cry yourself to sleep at night out of sheer loneliness, even though there might be a warm body two feet away. It makes you slow and foggy. It makes you scream out loud in your sleep. It makes brushing your teeth and washing your hair a hassle, and sometimes it makes you wish everything would just end.
A couple weeks ago, I started telling everyone that I was depressed. I told my students. I told my partner. I told my supervisors and colleagues. People didn't rush to scoop me out of this massive depression I've found myself in, but they listened and they heard me, which was enough. I've stopped taking responsibility for my moods and my unproductiveness because I know that I'm doing the best I can with ADHD, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and PTSD. I've stopped faking positive emotions and am trying to accept my feelings of sadness at face value. I've also stopped pretending that I can get out of this on my own.
With great, exhausting effort, I have begun to hoist myself up from the bottomless pit of all this. I ordered vitamin supplements (shoutout to care/of and their customizable supplements), I scheduled an appointment to see a psychiatrist, I started taking medication, started spending time outside by myself, started making plans with friends, signed up for Audible for not one, but two books a month because doing so makes me happy. At this point in my life, I can't waste another minute in this hellhole of depression. Every thing I do right now is with the intention of saving myself. Little by little, I am starting to feel good again. I know there will be days where I feel sad as dirt. I know there will be days where I relive my trauma over and over again, but if I can start to carve out grooves in the walls of this depression, I will be able to climb out. I deserve to climb out.
As I start this journey, I will be sharing resources that have been useful for me on the blog and Instagram. If you know of anything that can be of help to folks suffering from depression or anxiety, tag the blog at @fabfeministblog so we can share these resources with our readers, too. If you have found that you, too, are in the hole, remember that you have fierce supporters in Giuls and me. Send an email to email@example.com if you need to. Don't let the stigma keep you from healing. Depression and anxiety do not discriminate and you deserve happiness.