News flash: I was grieving, therefore depressed last winter. Like, a lot. I dabbled a bit about my lack of writing last month, and hinted around at something tragic that happened in my life last November, but other than that I’ve kept everything on the down low for the most part.
So, to put it bluntly, my Aunt killed herself a couple of days before Thanksgiving.
It really sucked. I had spent a lot of time with her in the last couple of years, and we had a lot of history together. I lived with her when I was 15 years old. Her and my uncle had very recently moved 4 ½ hours away for his job. She had Multiple Sclerosis and was beginning to have some challenges, but taking her own life was not something I, nor anyone I think, could have prepared for.
I’ll spare all of the extra sad details, but I will say that I drove up to be with my Uncle and help him sort through all of the pieces. I stayed up there with him for a week, having Thanksgiving with him and helped him clean up his house. Let’s just say it took days to clean the house up. It was the most surreal experience I think I’ve had to endure.
After that shit got tough.
For the past couple of years, my Aunt had been my go-to person to share my feelings with about other family issues. And boom, just like that she was gone. It’s totally understandable why I got depressed, and why I wasn’t managing things well. I was grieving. There was nothing fun about it.
I’ve had loved ones pass away before and I’ve always managed the grieving process okay. This time though? This time sent me on a 5-month emotional rollercoaster filled with too much yelling, tears, alcohol, and not enough self-care. Some days it was hard to get enough energy to the things that I had to do, let alone things like keeping up with this website.
I’m certainly not saying that everything is picture perfect now, but it’s summer, the sun is shining, and each day I try to take a little bit better care of myself, physically and mentally. It’s taken over the last several months to get back to this point though…but I haven’t given up.
Things that have helped me slowly start taking care of myself again:
Listening to positive audiobooks. Sometimes I listen to self-help books, other times I just listen to a celebrity autobiography, it just depends on the day. One will help me understand my feelings and emotions more. The other lets me forget about them in a healthy way.
Walking. Walking has probably always been my favorite exercise…coming from someone who doesn’t love exercising. It’s something that even if I dread doing, I know I’ll feel better after it’s done. While I’m still not walking as much as I used too, I’m beginning to take the time and do it again – generally while I’m listening to an audiobook.
Creating Schedules. I’ve always been a person that thrives better with some sort of routine. One thing I noticed over the past few months is that I wasn’t planning dinners anymore. It became a struggle and there was even conflict in the home because there was no plan, and when you have three busy kids you’ve got to have some ideas lined up ahead of time. Last week I finally came up with a tentative meal plan and then made up some freezer meals. It was one stressor, while it is small, that I took control of.
Doing things that get my mind flowing. For me, it’s always been writing. I barely wrote for 5 months and hadn’t written anything in the past two months. It wasn’t easy to start, but once I began it’s helped me. Find something that you do just for you to help get the wheels turning in your brain again, so to speak.
Have you ever been through a period of time in your life like this before?
What are some things that you have done to help break the cycle to begin to function again? Please comment below and share.
Also, I’d like to note that there are sometimes when you are clinically depressed and need to seek help from a professional. If you’re questioning whether you are or not, please just go talk to someone and seek help.
Here’s to brighter days filled with fun memories and sunshine my friends!