An Afternoon in Bed

The experts are saying that whatever you’re feeling in the pandemic, it’s ok. Give yourself some grace – your random wild feelings are normal. Mine put me in bed this afternoon. And I’m ok with that.

I had a productive morning. Swept the bathroom. Scrubbed the shower floor. Watered the outside plants. Wrote a little. Had my coffee and quiet time.

But around 11:30am, my tummy got rumbly. Not sick, just not well. And my mood declined. So I laid down. Then I thought I might be hungry, so I ate. And laid back down. Then I thought some cola syrup sometimes helps, so I got a Diet Coke. And laid back down.

I never did nap, though my eyes were closed some of the time. The bedroom windows are open, so I listened to the sound of our outdoor fountain bubbling. And the birds singing. The sun came and went behind clouds – I could feel the temperature drop with each shaded moment. Then warmth again.

My tummy is mostly better. But now I have a cat curled up on my lap, so I’m still not going anywhere.

I haven’t had an extended bad mood during this coronavirus, though the last three days have been a little rough. Hard to put into words what I’m feeling. I’m not down. Maybe just bored. And tired of the whole quarantine thing.

As I lay here in bed, I ponder. There’s divisiveness again – people wearing masks are being hassled. What happened to “We’re all in this together!”? We started out with a shared experience, but it is devolving. People are getting tired. And fed up. And angry. Which leads to choosing sides instead of unity. Instead of community.

And that won’t defeat the pandemic, and only serves to separate us more. In a time when we need to be kind and grace-filled with each other, extending patience and understanding.

It’s enough conflict to make me take to my bed for the afternoon!

Reading my journals

I just finished reading my first journal. The one I wrote when I started into depression. It began at the end of March 2008, and went to mid-October. From my first appointment with my therapist, to the diagnosis of adjustment disorder, through my first panic attack, my subsequent climb out of depressive symptoms in the summer, and the beginning of my descent into full-blown Major Depressive Disorder.

I’m reading to refresh my memory of what I felt at my worst. I’m reading to see God’s faithfulness to me in my angst. I’m reading to discover my symptoms and how I behaved in my depressed state.

I had forgotten that my sleep schedule was all messed up. During the beginning of my experience, I repeatedly woke at 4:30 or 5:00am each morning. That is not me; I sleep until 7:30am most mornings. But I didn’t see that sleep disruption at the time – I just went with it. Looking back on it now, I recognize it as a classic symptom of depression – a change in sleep patterns.

I remembered that I used to drive to a boat landing to be alone with my loud music and the thoughts that made it past the beat-beat-beat in my earbuds. I didn’t realize that the pattern had started all the way back in the beginning; my memory told me that I didn’t develop that habit until I was severely clinically depressed. But my journal tells another story – I found respite at the water’s edge early on in my journey.

I learned in re-reading my journal that several of my distinct memories of depression actually occurred during that first stint – when I was diagnosed with “adjustment disorder with anxiety and depressive symptoms.” Many of the encounters that I read about were early-on, not much later in my experience, as I had previously thought. Funny how vivid those first memories are.

I’m glad I’ve waited until now to read through the journal. And I intend to read all of them from the first seven years of my depression – that’s 12.5 books of writing. But waiting was a good idea – I’m emotionally stable enough – mentally healthy enough – to go back to those memories without getting sucked into the emotion of them. I can handle them.

Bedtime

I’m in a pissy mood, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I’m tired of the day-in/day-out of this pandemic. I’m tired of every day being the same. I’m tired of myself complaining to myself.

It’s a good thing I have phone calls scheduled for tomorrow. To stay connected to friends and family. And a tele-health therapy appointment. Otherwise, I think I’d stay in bed.

Not with my covers over my head. Just for something different to do.

I’d wake up, roll over, go back to sleep. When I’d done that two or three times, I’d come out to get coffee, then go back to bed and read on my Kindle all morning.

I’d emerge to get some lunch – something I can eat in bed – and go back, eat, and take a nap. When I’d wake up, I’d lay still and watch the clouds out the window for a while. Then I’d sit up with my pillows all around me, gather my tiny ball of yarn and crochet hook, and practice my single stitch. (That’s what I’m learning new during this lockdown; right? “This is a great time to try a new hobby.” Can I say “Bah! Humbug!”?????)

I’d probably have to come out for a snack. I’m all out of vanilla Greek yogurt, so I might try making a smoothie with the little cherry yogurt cups. But I’d drink it in bed.

The cats would be very confused by my behavior, and they’d keep checking on me. Until they decided to nap with me.

I guess I might shuffle out for dinner, unless I could convince my husband to bring me dinner in bed. Shoot, maybe he’d join me and we could have a picnic. He’d have to put on his pjs to join me, though.

By evening time, I might be ready to take a break from the bedroom, so I’d come out to watch tv for an hour or so. And then it would be bedtime.

I’d put on new pjs and crawl back under the covers, ready to sleep, and face the next day.

What to wear in a pandemic?

I’ve gotten very lazy in my clothing choices during this stay-at-home order. I’m in my pajamas – nightgown and sleep pants and bathrobe – until 11am, except Wednesdays when I have a 9:30am Zoom call – then I’m fully dressed!

On other days, as noon approaches, I change into clean undergarments and my comfy clothes. I own two pairs of yoga pants – one pair is capris, so it’s a little chilly in CO to wear those yet. I also have a pair of plaid pajama pants. I have leggings, too, but they’re in a different drawer and I forget to choose them.

I pick a complimentary sweatshirt. My plaid pants are burgundy; my yoga pants are black. So just about any top I have matches.

I always do my hair, but don’t wear makeup much anymore. In fact, only at my telehealth appointments with my therapist. I guess I’m still trying to make a good impression!

One problem with my comfy clothes as opposed to my jeans is the “stretch factor.” My yoga pants aren’t nearly as tight as my jeans. This means I don’t feel the constriction when I’m eating – it’s easy to overdo it in the calorie intake, because there’s no pressure in the waistband!

I also wear a poncho, almost every day. It adds extra warmth, even over a sweatshirt. I have a two-tone blue one, or a paisley one that’s brown/burgundy on one side and black/burgundy on the other. So I always have a cape that coordinates, too.

I wear socks and slippers, and still my toes get cold. When this pandemic is all over, I may need to buy a new pair, as these are getting pretty worn.

I do wear my jeans (sometimes my yoga pants, never pajama pants) – when I walk the three blocks to the mailbox. And I wear my jeans when I go to the grocery store. And I put on real shoes.

I suppose all of this is better than staying in my pajamas all day, as tempting as that is. Changing clothes gives me a sense of normalcy to an otherwise crazy time.

Coronavirus Boredom

I’m bored. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

This pandemic has us stuck at home, when many of us are used to being out and about. Whether it was Bible Study or errands, I could usually find a way to be out of the house most days. In fact, I treasured the days when I didn’t have to go anywhere, and could stay in my pjs until noon!

But I’m tired of it. I want to leave my house. The daily walk to the mailbox (3 blocks away) isn’t what I mean. I want to be where people are.

I’m trying to keep busy here at home, but find myself playing games on my phone to pass the time. I should be reading, or working on my book. I was knitting until I ran out of yarn for my blanket project; it will help, I’m sure, when my order arrives.

I’m hoping that this seclusion doesn’t spark a depressive episode. So far, I’m okay. I’m not terribly anxious, but occasionally sad. But I’m concerned about all of this time on my hands. And where do my thoughts go? I don’t want to spiral into negative thinking – that’s the gateway to depression for me. I keep checking my WRAP to make sure I’m staying mentally well. So far, so good.

I’ve used Zoom and FaceTime on a few occasions. The connection was bad on the day I chatted with my kids, so we ended up with just audio. And the point was to see their faces, so that was disappointing. We’ll try it again – maybe tonight – to play a game. That worked several weeks ago, and was lots of fun. That would boost my spirits, I’m sure.

I cried yesterday when I realized that my son lives 20 minutes away, and I didn’t get to see him for my birthday, nor will I for Easter. I had – unbeknownst to me – gotten my hopes up that he and his girlfriend would come over this weekend. We could social distance around the kitchen table. But he didn’t think it was wise – I’m sure he’s right – and so I cried. And I cried again today.

And crying is okay. In fact, everything I’m feeling is okay. This is uncharted territory for almost all of us, and change brings strong emotions. So I’ll let myself cry when I need to. And I’ll keep trying FaceTime to see my family “in person.”