I suffer from depression due to serotonin deficiency. I am monitored by my doctor and treated with a prescription med and in full transparency, this pandemic of coronavirus has not been kind to my mental state. Anxiety is not something I struggle with, but I’m sure for those who do battle it, this situation has brought on a whole new level of unrest.
So, What does Clovid-19 have to do with depression? Every person that battles with depression manages it in the best way for them, but what do we do when the way we manage our mental health is disrupted? When the extroverts are told to social distance themselves and the ones who need solitude suddenly find themselves surrounded at home 24/7? Depression is real and feeling it more noticeably during this time is understandable. Let me put your mind at ease and tell you you are not alone. I’m not a medical doctor but I can tell you how I am going to manage my mental health over the next few weeks.
- Relinquish Control. I can’t control this storm but I CAN trust the One who controls it; and I am asking Him to speak “peace” to my mind and emotions and to tell my thoughts “Be still.” Starting everyday with my devotions and quiet time is imperative to my spiritual and mental health.
- Keep a Schedule. There have been days it’s been a struggle to kick my feet over the side of the bed, yet I do it and that makes me feel like I am winning. These next few weeks, I am going to stick to my daily routine as much as possible. That includes showering, not wearing my leggings or sweats all day, fixing my hair, and doing my makeup- maybe not a full face but at least wearing some mascara and lip-gloss. Those simple things will help me feel better physically and mentally.
- Move. Speaking of routine, one of things I do on a daily basis is hit the gym in the morning and right now, we are fortunate that our facility is still open. When I move it helps my mood and boosts my immune system. When and if our gym closes for an extended amount of time, I have already armed myself with home workouts I can do, along with running and walking outside when the weather permits.
- Food. I have this romantic idea in my mind that I’m going to lie on the couch, watch old black and white movies and veg out on Ruffles Sour Cream and Cheddar chips and gummy bears, and maybe caramel popcorn and Milk Duds. And I have done that before, and it has not ended well for me. Not only do I feel gross physically after a binge like that, but I also feel yucky emotionally. I get it, balance is key and we have it, but I need to be extra focused during this time that my food choices are healthy and nutritious. Our family needs balanced meals that are full of protein, veggies and complex carbs. I love to cook, and I need to cook in order to make sure we are living as healthy as possible.
- TAKE. MY. MEDS. Everyone repeat that back to me. If you are on anti-depression/anxiety medication, now is not the time to A) Run Out or B) Decide you feel well enough to stop taking them. Just take the pills. They don’t define you. They don’t say, “You lack faith or don’t pray enough.” Just take them and make sure you have refills available.
- Be Honest. “I’m really fighting depression and it’s frustrating me.” I said those my words to my husband on Sunday and as he always does, he was quick to comfort me and encourage me and that was all I needed. I didn’t need him to do anything or fix anything. I just needed to say it out loud to my safest person in the world. That is what made it better. I know saying things like that can be so incredibly difficult and humbling, but I encourage you to actually SAY IT. But, if it’s too much to hear those words come out of your own mouth, then text it or email it or write it, but admit it. To yourself, to the Lord, to a loved one.
- Use this time. I’ve been as guilty as most people when I have said “If I had more time I could_________” fill in the blank with any project, idea, story, that hasn’t been accomplished because when I try to get to it I’m too wiped out to tackle it due to all the other things I have/had to accomplish. So during this time of “forced rest” I have a list of things I want to do, like organize the kid’s photos, create new recipes and spend more time updating Stunningly Strong Beauty products. I’ve kept the list manageable with very clear goals rather than broad statements, which will help me, feel more accomplished once a task is completed.
- Social Distance without becoming distant. I was leery of “social distancing” because as an extrovert that draws energy from being around people, the idea of isolation freaked me out and made me, you guessed it, depressed. I have to be extra vigilant during this time to stay in contact with my tribe. Phone calls, texts, Face Time, engaging the Stunningly Strong Group (which you can join on Facebook) and making an effort to be present at home for my people. I encourage all my introvert friends to check on us extroverts, a simple text can help keep the gloominess at bay AND you don’t have to leave your house, win/win.
- Patience. Grace. Mercy. All these things need to be applied here at #Teambohl HQ and that’s what we are aiming for. Not everyday, or hour for that matter will be a perfect example of these characteristics but as long as we are striving to be these things to each other, I believe that God will make up the difference for us. Also, for me when I ‘m really fighting a depression battle I’m physically wiped out and I will feel so guilty about needing a nap during the day, but during this time I have decided that if I need to rest, I will. I won’t push myself to complete exhaustion, I’ll be kind to Gena, and have grace for her.
- HUMOR. A lot of things are cancelled and closed, our humor doesn’t have to be one of those things and we are planning on keeping an open door policy for laughter, funny movies, memes, videos, jokes, old stories and new memories in our arsenal. A merry heart does good like medicine and that is the truth.
For those of you with depression or anxiety navigating this time, know that I am here, weathering the storm with you. Should you find yourself in a crisis situation, needing to talk to someone there are several options.
Crisis Text Line a global non-profit that provides free crisis and counseling intervention available 24/7 text HOME to 741741 US | 85258 UK| 686869 Canada (I have tested this for the non profit I work for and it is a legit, anonymous number)
If you live in Tarrant County The Women’s Center has a 24/7 Helpline 817-927-4000
For life threatening emergencies call 911 or the Suicide prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255
Praying you all stay healthy during this time,