Dealing With Emotional Vampires

During this past week I had a really bad day. I dealt with emotional vampires and people just trying to make trouble. At the end of that day I just wanted to grab a bag of Oreos and just hide under my blankets. The day triggered a lot of depression issues for me and left me struggling to find a safe place.

As I look back I can see that there really were a lot of other things at play that day. There were a lot of signals pointing toward a depression meltdown. I just was not paying attention. The days leading up to that fateful day were filled with signs like my wanting to sleep and not get up, not caring about certain activities that usually fill me with happy thoughts, and either wanting to eat too much or not at all. I was not paying attention and let my guard down.

I think everyone has those signs. The ones that alert us to danger. It would be nice if I had a soundtrack that played threatening music right before I had to encounter troublesome people or when I am not paying attention to my depression. But, alas, I do not have a soundtrack. I will have to play closer attention to the warning signs of impending depression events and try to guard myself more closely.

I have tried to create a ritual that will help me stay focused. I have a very small yoga practice in the morning and in the evening before bed. I do deep cleansing breaths (When I am not struggling to breathe from my asthma). And I have considered giving up chocolate. Although giving up chocolate is still very much being debated. The trick with having what feels like chronic depression is finding a way to feel as good as possible and take care of myself.

I am feeling trepidation about this upcoming week. Will I have to deal with the same people? Will there be more situations that set me off? Is there a way for me to “duck and cover” and still get the things done that I need to? My daughter gave me great advice this morning. She said, “Don’t over think it.”

This week’s goal is to breathe, stay present, and be courageous.

Some of my best friends are books

I get lost in books. I go to them when I am overcome with pain and sorrow. I go to them when the world becomes too much to bear. When the depression creates a loss in my heart that I can not fill in any way. I open a book. It takes me to places outside of my life. To places that I have not been. Or sometimes I am returning to after a long time away. I open a book and I am gone. My mind distracted from the pain of the past and the depression that comes in like a hungry wolf at my door. They have always been my comfort.

I did not learn to read until I was in fourth grade. I could read but I couldn’t READ. It was a struggle. Words were there but they did not make much sense. And then one day while working with at tutor they became something different. They became a key that opened up a door to a place that would save me. Somewhere to throw my mind to in dark painful times. A place to hide in while horrible things happened to my body.

And now they are places to go when the depression comes and tries to eat my soul. It is where I turn when I am feeling alone in a crowd of people. I sometimes feel like I fight tenaciously to stay in the book and not come into the real things. Like caring for myself or others.

But they are also places that lift me from where I am. A good story can lift me from the darkness. A lovely romantic story and I filled with the lightness of a good story. An adventure to the ends of the world and I am filled with a sense of adventure. I allow the books into my heart.

I have also found healing in books. Books that help me to understand why my brain reacts the way it does. Books that explain why the trauma has held such a hold on me. And how I can move beyond that grasp. Books like Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Robert Sapolsky and The Body Remembers by Babette Rothschild or The Mindful Path To Self-Compassion by Christopher Germer have given me such knowledge of myself and the things I am going through. There truly is a book for every occasion. And knowledge of myself has given me a sense of empowerment that I have never felt before.