Monday, January 26, 2009

Waking Up and Getting Out of Bed Update

It’s been two weeks since the initiation of my waking up, getting up, and feeling better routine and I thought I should share my progress since setting a goal, and not quite acquiring it, can be very dissuading, particularly if you think you are alone in the matter.

At the risk of over self-disclosure here, and yet as a proponent of un-stigmatising mental illnesses, I would like to share with you that I am (among other things) depressed. I am sharing this information because I know how easy it is for anyone suffering from depression to assume that advice and public success stories are for ‘healthy’ people and that similar ambitions just won’t work for them. Furthermore, I would also like to state that the severity of my depression can be very extreme, because I also know how easy it is to attribute another person’s success to them having a milder form of depression.

Making any kind of change in your life can be difficult. If you additionally suffer from any psychiatric conditions, that level of difficulty can greatly increase. Yet, and at the risk of sounding trite, it also makes life more triumphant. Change takes time. There will be days where everything goes smoothly and according to plan, perhaps exceeding your expectations, and there will also be days when nothing seems to work right.

It is important to remember that life doesn’t always follow a schedule or plan and that any deviations in the structure of the path to your goal are not failures. Sometimes you need to try things a different way. And sometimes you just need to take a day or two off. This is ok. Just as long as you don’t let your depression completely overwhelm you, by which I mean that even when you are debilitated by depression, be conscious of your own ability to act within it. Maybe one day you can’t quite motivate yourself to take out the garbage, but the next day you notice you have slightly more energy and are able to get a chore or two done. Whenever the depression lets up, even if it is just a little bit, make use of that opportunity to get yourself back on track.

So, with all this in mind, here is my update…

I never was able to get my day started at 7:30. The original plan was to start waking up at 8:45 and gradually set the alarm a bit earlier each day, but I found I had quite a few enjoyable evening activities that prevented me from getting to bed earlier. So for the first week, I was waking up at about 8:30 using bird sounds, music, and a therapeutic light box. By the end of the week, I was turning away from the light or hiding under the covers and sleeping through the birds (though having The Pixies set to automatically play after 15 minutes tended to wake me up). The second week there were social obligations and an increasing depressive state that interrupted this plan, but I did learn that it is easier for me to wake up without the audio soundtrack.

Having water beside the bed didn’t help perk me up much, but when I made the switch to Gatorade (juice or soda would also work) I noticed an increase in alertness. Also, on the one night my boyfriend stayed over and actually got up before me, having him bring me a cup of coffee in bed was a delightful way to wake up. If you have someone that you live with, I recommend asking for this as a favour, if you’re a coffee drinker. Maybe work out a trade with a roommate where you offer to bring them their tea in the evening or take on an extra chore. If you don’t live with anyone, having an automated coffee pot helps.

Exercise hasn’t made its way into my morning routine yet, but I have high hopes for this one.

Now for the modified routine to be carried out for the next two weeks….

8:00-8:30 – Have alarm set. Turn on light. Take meds. Mentally review goals for the day. Also, allow time for lazy mornings to read in bed or whatever.

8:45 – Go for a walk outside.

9:00 – Have coffee and breakfast while doing stuff on the internet (or some other pleasurable activity). If this stuff includes reading on-line articles or writing blog entries, allow self more time. If stuff is limited to checking email, try not to waste too much time (1/2hr). Take vitamins (I recently invented adding instant breakfast powder to my coffee to increase the amount of vitamins I get each day. And it’s tasty.).

10:00 – Shower and groom.

(For more details and suggestions on this routine see the first post)

I am happy to say, and hope others will find some hope and motivation in this, that after four days of not doing much of anything and not wanting to get out of bed at all, that I am looking forward to tomorrow morning.

No comments:

Post a Comment