One of my red flags for depression – OH GOD SO SICK OF THAT WORD.
Quick sidebar: For the duration of this post, depression shall be referred to as ‘Mad Cow Disease’. Alright, here we go:
One of my red flags for mad cow disease was how much time I would spend laying awake in bed, going over all of the things I had failed to do that day. Clean out the fridge. Study for an appropriate length of time. Eat well. Go to the gym. Walk the dog six times. And on and on.My heart would pound; my hands would become clammy, and my eyes would stare widely at the ceiling. Many, many times I just got up and stayed up – I’ve pulled more all-nighters than a med student.
Now that I’m in a head space where I am trying to change habits, and since sleep has become a much simpler process (Thanks, cipralex), it occurred to me that I could change this one.
I’m not much into meditation because oh-so-very-boring, and I’ve gotten sick of berating myself for not being able to sit still and hold my mind in one place for very long. I’m not a meditator. I can accept this. What I can do is lay in bed at night, after devouring a few chapters o whatever delicious book I’m currently eating, and go over the things I’ve done well that day. This is not always a complete list – I’m not back at the gym regularly yet, I still hate cleaning out the bloody fridge, and my eating habits are much as they always were. But. I do walk my dog a few times a day, I do eat fairly well, I do – as it turns out – quite a few things right on a daily basis. I was just focused on the wrong things.
Much with everything else around mad cow disease (snicker) I’m looking back on that old behaviour and thinking, bloody hell. Where was that getting me? Overtired, irritable and anxious, that’s where. (Yes, feelings are now places.) These days, even if all I manage in a day is a shower – which may happen one day – I’m focusing on that one good act, rather than all of my perceived failings.
I used to think that if I didn’t beat myself up, I wouldn’t get anything done. The truth is that if I reward my brain with some positive reinforcement for the things it does well, it’s more inclined to go to sleep and do even more the next day.
Hmm. My brain is a two-year-old. I suppose that’s okay. Anyhow, those are my musings for today. What about you? What do you do to reward yourself for good behaviour?