When my mother received the Cancer diagnosis from the doctor March of 2018 and given a 6-month time limit, I could not believe it. My mother was so full of life and very stubborn, it would take a lot to bring her down. As the 6-month limit passed and continued through to her passing in August of 2021, I had acquired a down-to-bones sadness. I enjoyed singing and several other things that went to the wayside due to my mother’s illness which brought to the surface a first-borne sense of responsibility not to show that it bothered me.

Depression is sneaky, I did not feel that I was depressed at the time nor anytime during her health journey until the day I could not bury it any longer. It was over two years after my mother’s passing that in writing of my book and remembering snippets of the journey that I fully grasp the depth of that depression. What I experienced was a tiredness that went through my bones. I did not have the energy to do my housework, cook meals or even take a shower, it all became an insurmountable task.

As I looked back, I wondered “How does one know they are depressed if they are unable to tell at the time they are depressed?” The main action that stands out to me was not wanting to do previously enjoyable pursuits, though the one that gave the biggest clue was not wanting to take care of myself, by foregoing a shower. It became a large struggle to make myself take a shower.

The act of choosing not to take a shower gave me a sense of control. I could not control what was happening to my mother, how she acted toward us or to herself. But I could control what I did after I got home, my hygiene and my pursuits. She also was only expressing her option to take control back in her life, the only way she knew how.

You would think that a grown person would know the value of hygiene and performing enjoyable pursuits would raise their mood and outlook on life at that time. But you do not have your thinking cap on during those times you are only feeling.

You may be wondering how I climbed out of that depressive mood.

1_I did not make any demands on myself that I could not manage. Meaning if there were chores to do, I gave myself permission to do only one and completed that chore. What I found was after I did one chore, I found myself doing other chores. I felt better about myself, and that movement lifted my spirits a bit.

2_ I re-introduce myself to forgotten enjoyable pursuits. At first, I simply gathered pictures for hand and machine embroidery. Initially, I did not enjoy it much, but gradually, my mind felt the desire return to turn those pictures into embroidery patterns. Eventually, after several months, I had the urge and energy to embroider those patterns.

3_As for my personal hygiene, I constructed an Excel log to keep track of when I last showered. Suprisenly, in doing so, I am now able to maintain a schedule.

The bottom line here is baby steps and no time limit. Take small steps until you are ready for more. As for the time frame, you will know when you are ready to move on to a more enjoyable life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *