Depression and Resiliency – Follow the Bouncing Squirrel

Laurie in morning sun standing in front of her sliding glass door to her patio
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I’m tired this morning. Another night of interrupted sleep and tossing. My mind is restless and I’m feeling the tug of depression again. What to do? Look outside and see what’s there. Inside is a mess.

Here’s what I wrote on Facebook today:

RESILIENCE – springing back, getting back up, keeping on keeping on, this is a quality that a person asked me about yesterday. ‘Laurie, What is the secret to your resilience?’ Hmmm. Since I feel like one of those flattened pancake cartoon people after the boulder drops on them, hard to say. But I’ve felt this before, and I peel myself off the pavement, blow cartoon-like into my thumb to puff myself back into shape and then off I go to find something interesting. For me learning is not a chore. I learn something. And as a former teacher, I know learning isn’t a huge leap into the pond, but slow steps tickling the pond’s edge’s with one’s toes before dipping in. I explore. I distract until my attention is engaged. Today I may hike or paint or read my book some more. I may record, study a lesson on making audio or practice singing. I used to love all you can eat for distraction, now I love all you can try. Today I’ll try something. How about you?

I write these words on FB knowing that few will read them. When I first started posting my daily mini status of thoughts and ideas on FB, like with Daily Adventure Tales, I thought that BCs might join in the conversation. It didn’t turn out that way. So much social media, so little time. Too many cute cat videos whizzing by… There is a good chance though, that the faithful Dawny will click like and maybe comment and tell me something good. It is a rare day that Dawny doesn’t stop by my page to like a post or to encourage me. I’m calling you out right here, GF, you are an angel of encouragement and it makes a BIG difference.

These daily updates on FB may just be another thing I need to let go. It’s time to put energy where it counts.

I’m not complaining. I’m sad. I’m not really even sad, I’m in the midst of depression again.

Depression, you black hole of lies, why can’t I fight you today?

Depression is a medical condition and not to be trifled with.

It is based in chemicals in your brain as well as in stress reactors and coping mechanisms. I’ve often told you that food doesn’t trigger me, emotions do. Depression is the one time this doesn’t fly. When depressed I want sugar, because biochemically, it stimulates the pleasure centers in my brain, the dopamine receptors. And during depression that doesn’t make me happy, it makes me less flattened down by the constant black cloud.

However, I also know that I don’t usually go for sugar in large amounts. Not my thing. So I notice this drive and consider…

Hmmm, sleep really off, not as active, don’t want to reach out, cookies sound good all day long… ding ding ding! Depression is on its unmerry way again.

I don’t feel like walking yet. I don’t want to hike. I’m too tired.

Tonight is my writing group. That will be fun. Maybe I should try to nap today to conserve energy?

Sigh:

Usually, I can’t nap. My restless brain doesn’t stop. But I can rest.

Television actually worsens depression. So, Survivor, my binge-watching friend, not today.

Reading is hard for me now on a good day. Concentrating on the page during depression? It’s like watching bouncing balls slowly fly off bricks in the old video game, Breakout.

What then? What to concentrate on? What to think on?

Laurie in profile looking out the window

What can I find outside of myself to focus on? What good thing is there in the midst of depression?

Squirrel Power!

Squirrel perched on the fence top under a tree

I was trying to snap this little squirrel mid-leap as his acrobatics across my fence were amazing!

A plucky squirrel leapt into view via a flourish of high jumps and whirls across my back fence. He/She scampered and ran, did joyful flips and soaring tumbles on and off of the low hanging branches. A miniature Baryshnikov performing for me, LIVE in my own backyard! The squirrel was running, not from predators, but for the fun of it. I watched this squirrel for some time before I realized I was smiling.

The squirrel’s acrobatics brought to mind an old childhood favorite cartoon. Off to YouTube to see it again.

Rocky and Bullwinkle

Seeing them again made me smile. Then I thought of the famous voice actor, June Foray, who voiced so many great characters – including Rocket J. Squirrel AND Natasha Fatale.

I wonder if I can find something about her voice acting career to encourage me?

What a fun interview!

Hope is opposite of depression

Experiencing this reminded me that June Foray had NO idea when she did the work that Rocky and Bullwinkle would be going strong even to this day. She didn’t know she would become a legend. She didn’t worry about if her voice was good enough. She did her voice acting because it was her job and she had fun doing it.

It strikes me too, that much of what she enjoyed was the interaction with her fellow voice actors. I’m that way too. I like to do the dialogs and laughing with my fellow voice acting students takes the sting from mistakes.

It’s okay to try things.

It’s okay if every day isn’t your best.

It’s okay if you need to conserve energy and pull back a bit.

You may not soar like Rocky and the little squirrel of today, but as long as you can look outside of yourself and find a squirrel of some kind, you can hope for a better day.

Comments box:

18 thoughts on “Depression and Resiliency – Follow the Bouncing Squirrel

  1. Patt

    Hello Laurie!
    Read your update..lady, can I relate! The sleeping issue is real and it ruins my mood and everything else about my life. Little things pop up, a dream, a voice, a movie bit, a smell can contribute to my struggle with depression. It is so real and no one can tell me or anyone how to resolve it but, we can relate and I think that is what your posts help me and the BC’s with, a place to be and relate or put a voice to real personal things in side each of us. Since, I’ve worked your podcasts through, movement forward or backwards helps me, just executing one step forward or backward will make a difference for me and after a few steps whether, physical or mental eventually I get back in the game of my life instead of drifting. Hearing BC’s talk about helps me realize what I deal with is real, it happens to many of us and I am not alone. I’m realizing it’s taking a lot longer to change those old stinky habits to eat, cover my head or watch the droning lives on TV, and elsewhere…yada yada. I liken your “try” to my “move”…just try or move my body and at some point I think oh, glad I did something anything, I don’t know why I waited so long to try or move! The other thing I’ve learned here and am working hard at changing this habit is the feeling mode I operate in, which stops me in my tracks to moving…so, when I tell myself i don’t feel like it, I realize the feeling thought won’t get me moving, I have to look ahead at what i am trying to not do, like taxes, work, hiking, it’s easy to say I don’t feel like it, but, now I interject but, I won’t be stressed out and and burning the midnight oil getting mytaxes done on time, or use the old i work best under stressful deadline…not true, I’m practicing when i operate on the move then I am not stressed.

    IMy toughts as I head out the door to put my volunteer jobs in order before I fly out Saturday, on a Homes of Hope, mission trip connected to YWAM, Youth With a Mission…yes, even “olders” can go;) We leave this Saturday and afterwards, seven days in the sunshine at a resort in Mazatlan.

    Have a good day and we have had beautiful sunshine and blue skies for two days now;)
    Moving only if slowly today,
    Patt

    Reply
    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Dear Patt, thanks so much for writing from your heart this way! It totally helps to know that people have my back, even when I’m NOT the most cheerful, happy camper on the block. This part of your comment really helped me put things in perspective:

      Since, I’ve worked your podcasts through, movement forward or backwards helps me, just executing one step forward or backward will make a difference for me and after a few steps whether, physical or mental eventually I get back in the game of my life instead of drifting. Hearing BC’s talk about helps me realize what I deal with is real, it happens to many of us and I am not alone.

      Firstly, because the draw of depression is inertia. At least in my case, I don’t feel up to anything at all, so taking a step in ANY direction, even if it results in a failed attempt, is a victory. Thanks too for pointing out that my backwards steps are as valuable as a learning tool as my successes.

      Secondly, it NEVER hurts us BCs to realize we are not alone. In my best days I feel alone, and doubly so right now. It is good to have specific proof outside of my brain that I am not.

      Lastly, your mission trip sounds amazing! I’m so happy for you for stepping out to help others and to enjoy some new adventures. I really look forward to hearing more about them when you return. Maybe you will call the bravery hotline and share a little? Or send a photo I can post? Anyway, thanks again for the positive thoughts and it was VERY cheerful for me to think of you in Mazatlan. xoxoxoxox

      Reply
  2. Happy With My Body

    I am thinking about you and feeling with you. I don’t know what depression is like for you but for me it is chillingly LONELY. If depression can be likened to a dark room – and I think it can! – other people are seldom able to turn on the lights (my experience). No matter how badly they want to or how hard they try. What they CAN do, though, is to stand by your side, faithfully giving you their full support. That is what I would like to be able to do for you now. So if you are entering that dark room or if you are already there, think of me as someone you cannot see but who nevertheless is there with you. By your side. Gently puttning my hand on your shoulder. Supporting you. Caring about you. You are not alone.

    Reply
    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Welcome Happy! (I’ll call you this for short, because it is also very cheerful), I’m glad you came over from Instagram and had the bravery to write to us. I especially appreciate that you did it for my support and good. You are right that no one can ‘turn on the lights’, but it does help immensely to feel understood, and not judged, or that I am lessor for going through this. (My critical mind can be a bear in times like these). Thanks so much, and I hope with all my heart you will come back and post when you need support or when you wish to share more with the BCs here. They are very kind, supportive and safe. xoxoxoxoxoxox

      Reply
  3. Cassie

    Laurie, I know how awful sleeplessness is, and I know the physical and emotional trouble it can cause. Since menopause maybe 4-5 hours of very interrupted sleep a night. I feel for you. Know that others (like me) want to support you and in turn need all of the insight you can give us in our cortisol driven, muffin top growin’ golden years! XOXO

    Reply
    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Oh Cassie, sleep is my one wish BEYOND thinness, or calorie-free pizza or riches. When I’ve slept the world is my oyster. When not, the world is my shell. I’m also subject to the rigors of Mr. Toad’s Wild Menopause ride. My body temperature fluctuates so often, I keep my curtains down so the neighbors won’t be subjected to my frantic strip teases. The brain fog is also hard. But I do what I can. I’ve found gentle exercise at a duration just enough to make a regular sweat does help. Dang, sometimes I think women just get to learn a LOT from dealing with our bodies one way or another. Thanks Cassie for stopping by. It makes a difference for me to know you are there. xoxoxoxoxoxox

      Reply
  4. Cheryl

    Yeah, that whole sleeplessness thing can cause depression all by itself. But I’m guessing you’re also at the start of one of your down cycles, too. Bad combination.

    What you said about letting go of the Facebook thing, of things that don’t support us in our emotional habitat. We can spend an awful lot of time doing that. And it has a way of sapping our strength for the things we really need to tend to. I’m really guilty of doing that, too. Spreading myself too thin. Truth is, I think it’s very healthy for us to stand back and regroup from time to time and decide what builds us up and what tears us down. Then the bad stuff has to go. Unfortunately it’s easier said than done. But we’re learning. Right?

    Hugs,
    Cheryl

    Reply
    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Hugs Cheryl, right on the money as usual. My sleep issue is a symptom of the depression. So back into depression alert zone, energy budget, extra kindness and a BIG DOSE of letting go. I have to prioritize now, so in a way, it is an advantage. No choice, I MUST prioritize, I don’t have excess energy or will to take on the little things, only the most important and necessary. Thanks again for sharing your heart and thoughts. It’s helps.
      xoxoxoxoxox

      Reply
  5. Happy With My Body

    Oh. And I forgot to add something important: the lights will come on again. Sooner or later they will. Because that is how it works. “It always ends well. If things are not well, then it is not the end.” Love to you

    Reply
  6. Dawny

    YAYHAW. I made the post. Lol.

    Glad I help you along its the least I can do. After all you do for me and other BC’s. I love you truly.

    And of course I have much to say but no time today. Off to work I go

    Reply
    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Dawny, this comment made me SMILE! Hahaha, I can see you high fiving with glee that you DID comment on FB as I guessed. I’m so grateful for all that you’ve done, but mostly, that I’ve had the chance to get to know you and your bubbling explosion of cheerful awesomeness (and sometimes rage, like mine). You make me smile, and I’m so glad your new job is treating you well so far. You SO deserve it! xoxoxox

      Reply
  7. Stéfanie

    You write so beautifully.
    Wonderful metaphors.
    I feel your pain. In those moments, I call myself an ambulant sight. Don’t know if it translates well. It is reassuring to read that you are being good to yourself, and using available energy and mindspace to write, observe, hope, insight. I must agree with fellow BC’s that sleep is a major factor in mood, decision making, attention focusing, cookie munching, thought processing. I never trust myself when tired. Big hug xx

    Reply
    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Dearest Stéfanie, thank you for saying that about my writing. We don’t have ‘ambulant sight’ as far as I know in English, but I kind of picture the days I don’t bother to comb my hair and maybe toss on a sweatshirt over my PJs and hope that nobody comes to the door. Is this close? I’m taking it easy and watching my energy. I’m feeling better, but depression will take its cycle. I have been here many, many times, and have a good professional support system as well as my experience. It is a bother, but I will get through it. It may be a lesson for me, and I’ll try to find the positive. That’s a weird thought, positive depression? Anyway, if it can be done, I will do it. For know just consider yourself liked on IG whether or not I’m there to click the button. xoxoxoxoxox

      Reply
  8. Amy from WI

    ((hugs)) Laurie!
    Depression is hard, there is no doubt about it. Expressing your feelings instead of locking them inside is such a good step. Medication has helped for me, but it takes more than just that. You seem so aware of what is happening for you, and I think that it is a huge step in the right direction. Depression can’t sneak up on you and leave you wondering what just happened because you know what it is trying to do. Keep working it, girl, you are making so much progress in your life.

    Reply
    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Amy, thanks so much for this. I’m, guessing that many of us here have had at least a brush with depression. It seems somehow tied to emotional eating experiences. It really is comforting to know that in depression, like in compulsive eating, I’m not alone. And I especially appreciate that you shared this, as like compulsive eating, it isn’t an attribute we usually talk about in public. xoxoxoxox

      Reply
  9. Suz (Suzanne)

    Sending positive thoughts your way today, Laurie, and hoping you have time to reflect and rejuvenate.
    I’m glad you are taking time for yourself.
    Hang in there.

    Reply

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