Anxiety · Depression

Making changes

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From the light display in Niagara Falls, December 2016

Here is my comforting thought of the day:

“Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change.”

– Milton Friedman

If I hadn’t gone through all I did, I wouldn’t be making the changes I have been, which suit my life much better.  Real, positive change has been happening to me, and I owe it all to anxiety and depression.  Crazy, right?

For example – I used to hate going to work and want it to be the weekend.  Yet when the weekend rolled around, I wasn’t happy.  I would waste it being lazy and unproductive, which didn’t make me happy at all.

Being off work showed me just how much I valued my job, and the sense of community, friendship, and feelings of contribution I made.  Now I don’t mind going to work at all.

I have also, as part of my therapy, been going to bed and getting up at the same time every day to help my insomnia.  What a revelation this has been!  Not only am I not tired getting ready for work any more, I actually enjoy getting up early on weekends!  I have always secretly wanted to be a morning person, and now I am.  If you had told me six months ago that I would not only willingly, but happily, get out of bed at 6:30 on the weekend, I would have thought you were insane.

People have begun noticing the change in me.  My husband jokes that I can be a grizzly or a honey bear, and lately I have been much more of a honey bear than a grizzly bear (as I have been for the last several years.)  I hated the person I was before, and I am liking this new person much more.  This new person doesn’t hang on to resentment or hurt any more.  This new person is a lot more fun to be around, and a much better colleague, friend, daughter, sister and wife.

Making these changes has been easy, because I am motivated.  I was literally willing to do anything to get rid of my depression and anxiety.  Anything.

Some of the suggestions for improving my day have come through therapy, but I’m also reading a helpful book called The Power of When by Michael Breus.  It’s a great book if like me you’re struggling to structure your day and need some suggestions for what to do when.  I’ve already started implementing some of the suggestions and found it’s working really well.  If you think of it as “improving your mood” rather than exercising or healthy eating because “the man” tells you to, it works much better.

The book tells you which of four chronotypes you are based on your natural body rhythms.  I’m a former wolf turned bear in my thirties.  It has helped me accept that the emotional and physical slump I feel between 3-6 pm isn’t just in my head, but has actual hormonal causes. The book also has lots of suggestions for how to combat this, like eating lots of protein early in the day and going for a walk at lunch (which I do anyway.)  I would love to try exercising after work like the book suggests but it is tricky because I don’t get off work until 5:30 and I’m so hungry, although the book suggests eating later, which I don’t know if I can really force myself to do.

Definitely check it out if you would like to try restructuring your day!

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