It really is amazing what fell by the wayside when my depression was at its worst.
Marina was always taken care of, with plenty of food, water and a clean litter box. But nothing else received the same TLC.
I wasn’t cleaning regularly and cooking was slowly fading away in favor of fast food or going out to eat. My kitchen counters were inexcusable when I finally deep cleaned them, as was my bathroom sink. My bedroom was cluttered and definitely not the silent retreat it once was. Truth be told, dark and cluttered had been the apartment’s look for a while.
I cleaned everything and put things away this past Sunday, and I still can’t get over how much better it feels in here. The only messiness, if you can even call it that, is the occasional wad of fur Marina removes from herself in the living or dining rooms. But then again, long haired cats doing long-haired cat things is a straightforward tidying.
The recent depression isn’t the first time I’ve had to deal with the fog and spiral, but it was definitely the longest lasting and most severe. Two things tend to be forgotten alongside each other when my mind gets too heavy: housekeeping and hygiene.
I’m not proud to admit this, but showering and brushing my teeth fell off the priority list. For a long time I would make myself go to the gym to not only get some endorphins, but to then ensure I’d have to take a shower afterwards. Truth be told, making myself shower took priority over generally feeling better and was the only reason I would go. But since I haven’t had the strength or desire to go to the gym in weeks, that meant (in my fogginess) I didn’t really need to shower and go to all that trouble.
Sometimes I’d wash my face in the morning and do skincare. Rarely did I have the strength to wash my face at night and do that routine. Yesterday was the first day I took care of my face morning and night, and the quality of my skin was showing the lack of attention. My skin was experiencing some acne flare ups on my chin and my lips were chapped. I have some fine lines on my forehead that become more visible when my skin is dry and lacking moisture.
Yesterday I felt pretty good, but my skin looked older and parched. So I made myself shower completely (which includes washing my hair), slathered lotion all over my body, did my morning skincare routine and ran a quick errand while feeling presentable.
Today’s habit to get back into: food journaling. I’ve actually been tracking food on and off since high school, and I know myself well enough to know that when I’m writing things down and watching portion sizes, not only do I keep my weight down, but I stay honest with myself about my mental well-being. After each food log I write a short paragraph about where I’m at emotionally and how I’m feeling.
If I’m not watching and writing, guess what? I’m going hog wild on the candies and fast food to comfort myself during a stressful time. Over nine months my weight has crept up from 122 to 132 pounds. The half of inch I lost from my waist last summer crept back on. For frame of reference, I’m five feet tall, so not only is weight gain noticeable, but 10 pounds feels like 25.
Oh yeah, and the weight is most noticeable in my waist and jawline. I couldn’t even get some impressive Beyonce hips out of it. Instead I have a stress stomach that looks like I’m in the early stages of a pregnancy and a double chin long before I’m ready for one of those.
I feel restricted in my own body, since I’m not able to run as fast with extra weight on me and many clothes are tighter and uncomfortable. You all can probably figure out how the extra weight and feeling guilty for regularly eating too damn much isn’t helping the depression.
And honestly, I don’t feel beautiful anymore, which is wearing me down more than the slowness and tighter pants. This one surprised me, since I didn’t pay attention to my appearance the same way I did the athletic capabilities or daily comfort level. But for the past few months, all I’ve been able to see is an older, worn out face and a bloated, bowling-ball-with-legs body. There’s no confidence in my skin, no brightness, and my own feelings of pride in femininity are currently shot to hell.
In a few words, I’ve felt exhausted and ugly for a while now. I know it’s a side effect of stress and depression, so I’m taking one step at a time to lose weight, like what I see in the mirror again and feel like myself.
Just for today, I’m watching and writing down everything I eat to make sure I’m actually getting the nutrients my mind and body need to perform optimally. And then I’m going to do it again tomorrow. And the day after that one too.
I know the process of getting back on track takes time, and I’m okay to take time, commit and get myself healthier. Each day I get better, and each day will get better. If I have nothing else, I have faith in myself and the one who made me to help me get where I need to be.
May you all move in the direction you’re supposed to and have a great day reader-friends.
Yours in writing and running,