Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Beat Up Brain

Why are some days so much harder than others?  And why do things that I've been able to accept or ignore in the past suddenly become such looming issues?

My brain feels like a towel that's been wrung outThis morning it felt like someone took my brain out of my head, squeezed it like a wet towel, and put it back in.  Tired, anxious, and beat up.

I latched on to the obsession this morning of reading my Bible, and I really, really struggled with whether or not to read it.  I eventually decided that since it felt compulsive, I should probably not read it at all today (like I did over the weekend).  But that still didn't feel right - lots of high anxiety. When I thought about reading it, I felt guilty at the thought of giving in to the compulsion.

On the advice of my husband, I followed what my therapist said - to read 1-2 chapters each day straight through the New Testament.  I read I Corinthians 9 twice, prayed, and I was done.

But all of that overthinking had done its damage  The depression kicked in - what if I can't be a good mom?  What if I go back to where I was in November?  Or January?  Or March?  I'm terrified of going back to that place, even though God always brings me out of the valley.

I tried to put in to practice what my husband suggested weeks ago - to attempt to keep the depression at bay.  Dealing with OCD is difficult enough.  Depression just adds a whole extra layer of despair, so if I can avoid that, then I should.  Instead of going down the depression path, I coped.

I told myself that this was just a bad morning.  I called and met up with a friend.  I took the kids and met my husband for lunch.  I went ahead with a work phone call even though I didn't feel like it.  I moved the clothes from the washer to the dryer.  I made myself some coffee and had a little chocolate.  I'm sitting outside listening to the birds as I write this.  Coloring is on the agenda for later today.

I'm trying to remember that this illness is better managed than cured.  It's about knowing which tools work for me and shooting for an anxiety level of 3 or 4 instead of 9 or 10.

And when my brain has taken a beating, it's about coping in ways that help it heal.

What tools have you found that work for you?