I Am Struggling With Low-Grade Depression
BY NATALIE ROMERO
Photo © lmallo/Twenty20
Nov 24, 2020
I’ve lost my spark.
Back in March, when my office announced that we would be working from home as the world figured out this pandemic and my kids were sent home from school with no real end in sight, I jumped in with both feet. I cherished the quality time with my family. We watched movies together, we baked cookies, we built puzzles and created art. I arranged Zoom hangouts with family and friends. We played online games together.
Then came summer and while we were disappointed that we wouldn’t be able to travel, we had an amazing time exploring areas close to home. There were no summer camps to worry about and no travelling to early morning soccer tournaments. We went to the beach every single week, we hiked and picnicked and went for bike rides and walks.
I made the best of it.
That was then.
As our days are becoming shorter, darker and colder I am slowly but surely losing my motivation.
Paul Simard went into hero mode during the lockdown. Then he realized it was affecting his mental health. Read that story here.
I’m struggling to come up with new and creative ideas to keep us all entertained. I’m losing the drive to do things, to be better, to create and to make the best of it.
It’s more complicated than just losing my spark.
I am suffering from low grade depression.
According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health some of the symptoms of depression include sleep problems, trouble concentrating, remembering or making decisions and loss of interest in work or hobbies.
I am experiencing all of those things.
Typically I’m known to always have a story swirling around in my mind yet lately when I sit down and try to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, I just can’t get it out.
I can go days without leaving the house and sometimes it feels as though I’m floating from bed to desk to kitchen back to bed and it doesn’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything at all.
I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t seem to find my way back to a peaceful sleep. And though I adore my job, there are days where I really struggle to concentrate.
I know I’m not alone in this.
"I worry that it’s going to get worse before it gets better."
After COVID-19 triggered a severe case of OCD in her son, mom Sheena Kivisto had to take a leave of absence from work, “I’m just trying to get through the day most of the time, and I'm actually terrified of a winter lockdown. I feel more isolated than ever. Having to stay home and away from my job which I love and that literally gives me my life's purpose, and trying to learn about and deal with a condition that is beyond my scope is not helping. I honestly don't know how I will deal with another lockdown.”
COVID-19 has us all living in this constant state of crisis and we will be dealing with the impact this is having on our mental health for a long time.
I worry that it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
Winter is coming
If folks are struggling now what’s it going to be like come January?
Once the Christmas magic wears off, we will be left with darkness and cold and I’m becoming increasingly worried about the state of my mental health.
I’m fully aware that if I don’t address it, I run the risk of this low grade depression turning into something a little heavier.
So I’m planning ahead. I’m trying to hit this thing head on.
To help her family's collective mental health during COVID-19, Paula Schuck has implemented a 10 hugs a day rule. Read her POV here.
I’m pushing myself to keep my pre-pandemic home-workout routine. And instead of staying in bed, I get up early to try and encourage those endorphins.
Before I sit down at my desk to work, I take the dog for a walk. Then again at lunch the two of us hit the pavement, me with a podcast in my ear and him with a spring in his step. It forces me to get outside, see the sun and breathe in some fresh air. It has also been helpful to establish a routine that gives me some sort of separation between work and home. While I used to have a short commute in the car, now I have a brisk morning walk around my neighbourhood.
"None of us really know what the next few months have in store for us."
I started worrying about how I would manage the cold winter months while we still had the air conditioning on — and I’m glad I did, because the backyard ice rink kit I ordered is selling out everywhere. Now, even if we go into another lockdown, my kids and I will be able to spend afternoons skating in the privacy of our yard.
I’ve purchased mood elevating items for my home that I hope will help me from slipping into a deeper sadness. Items such as a HappyLight therapy lamp and an essential oil diffuser emitting scents named Liquid Sunshine are sure to help my mood, right?
Truth be told, I’m worried. While all of these things might be helpful, I don’t know if it will be enough.
None of us really know what the next few months have in store for us. Cases of COVID-19 are going up across Canada. We are being advised to avoid people outside our household. The numbers are causing rumblings of another lockdown.
While our physical health is very important, my families’ mental health is also a top concern. My kids struggled when they weren’t able to go to school or play sports or see their grandparents. I’m starting to worry about how they will manage another full lockdown.
Laura Mullin's focus shifted to her teen's mental health during the pandemic. Read that story here.
Right now the world is entirely focused on people’s physical health, and for good reason. But I urge everyone to take mental health just as seriously as you do your physical health. Use preventative measures and learn to spot the signs when you are struggling. Reach out to family, friends or medical professionals.
Hopefully with the help of my family, community and mental health professionals, I will be able to find my spark again.
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