even small victories are worth celebrating.
On days when I'm not feeling well, I usually curl up on the couch with my favorite crocheted blanket and a cup of coffee. Sometimes I spend the time binge-watching a Netflix original. (I finished up Season One of Atypical earlier this evening. I really enjoyed it, in case you're looking for a recommendation.) Other times I read a book. I used to be able to read an entire novel in a day or two. Now, I usually have to put the book down after a half hour. That's about how long it takes before the noise in my head gets too loud and makes it impossible to focus.
Honestly, I'd rather be in my bed, curled up under the covers with the lights turned off and the door shut tight. But laying in bed for hours in the middle of the day is what a depressed person would do, so I choose to lay on the couch instead. I'm not really sure why it matters where I choose to rest. The only other person in my apartment is my sister, and she spends a lot of time in her room anyway. I think maybe I'm trying to convince myself that I'm doing better than I am so that I don't have to confront the demons haunting my heart and mind. If I just ignore the depression, it will go away, right? Kind of like how you're supposed to ignore the bully at school until he gets bored with tormenting you and moves on to make someone else's life miserable. Except that strategy never really works, not with bullies and not with depression.
I try to remind myself to recognize the little victories that add up to good days...things like getting out of bed, working out, taking a shower, eating real food, and having a conversation. Sometimes it's hard to convince myself that these sorts of activities are even worth celebrating. If all I can "achieve" is what a person with a healthy mind does without putting forth any effort whatsoever, where's the victory in that?
I have to remind myself that if I had cerebral palsy, simple actions like taking a step or speaking a word would be worth celebrating, even though most people take these abilities for granted. Why is it so different for mental illness? It isn't of course, but so many - myself included - are guilty of making it different, of perpetuating the stigma.
Earlier, I was thinking about all the things I didn't do today...
I didn't take out the trash even though tomorrow is garbage day. I didn't get my workout in even though I know it would have improved my mood. I didn't do my laundry, and now I don't have many options to choose from when I get ready for work in the morning.
Not surprisingly, thinking about all the things I should have done but didn't do only made me feel worse.
So tonight, right now, I'm choosing to acknowledge the things I did do...
I made coffee for my boyfriend to take with him on his 2 and 1/2 hour drive home. I read a few verses in the Bible. I took a shower and put on clothes (real clothes, not just sweatpants)! I made chicken in the crockpot and ate it with some salad for dinner. I remembered to take my medication. I prayed.
All little things, but victories nonetheless. Maybe tomorrow I'll have the ability to do more than I did today. Maybe tomorrow taking a shower won't be that impressive. But today, when I'm not feeling well, it's something worth celebrating.