6 Things I’ve Learned as a Person with Major Depressive Disorder during Stay-at-Home COVID-19 Coronavirus

1. Staying at home takes some getting used to

Every day starts the same, and most days, you don’t even want to get out of bed. I found that the best thing is to create a routine. If that doesn’t work, try a new one. The thing is that I have been attempting numerous routines that I wish there were some way I could keep those items in front of me all day as a reminder. Because I write them down and forget.
If they’re on my phone, I don’t look at my phone often enough to catch the routine note in time. If I physically write it down, the paper is not with me the entire day. My memory is not quite what it used to be, so I just wish I could write my routine on a floating board that stays beside me as I go about my day like a cartoon character.
In the past few weeks, I fell out of routine, which is why my depression is getting worse. It’s worse because I have no rhythm in my day, and I have no place where I am needed. It’s an endless cycle as my depression gets worse day by day. The spiraling out of control would cease if I would at least eat right and drink plenty of water. The problem is that when I am critically depressed, I go to extremes. This week I went over forty-eight hours on a serving of yogurt and a few cups of water. I do not recommend this as my lack of nourishment and dehydration just added to my depression. I felt like I was in a pit and didn’t have the strength to move, let alone care at all that I was even there. Days like that make me appreciate the mornings when I wake up, and that pit is gone. I’m back in my normal life today. But I’m off my routine. And so the cycle continues.

2. It’s not for everyone, but most anyone I speak to will complain just the same

At first, I didn’t care much for being home all day, and I joined the crowd of complainers. It seems like everyone I talk to is struggling and going crazy staying at home (cabin fever) because of the virus. I stopped when I realized that I actually liked staying home all the time. I didn’t miss a thing, but how could I dare tell anyone that I enjoyed something that everyone else hated?
With a smile, that’s how!
When I hear others start to admit that they love working in yoga pants and showering on our lunch breaks.

3. It’s a nice break from the demands of social norms

In times like these, you’re not expected to attend a lot of parties, baby showers, play dates, soccer games, etc. No making good excuses because you just want to go home and relax. How cool is that?
On the other hand, it’s been a long time since I have seen my family. I miss them. There is nothing that can make up for missing your loved ones.

4. After a while, you start seeing the areas in your life that are not meeting your needs. You know, those little things that were hidden by the usual daily hustle and bustle.

When you were a kid, did you ever have a scab on your arm or leg that you never really noticed? That is until you’re bored sitting in study hall or when you are on a long car ride, and then you are fully aware of that lonely scab.
That small imperfection may not be healing right or not healing at all, and that’s where the poking and picking at that scab begins. Why? Possibly because you are more aware of it now that you don’t have a bunch of other things to distract you.
Since I’ve been home, I have picked apart my childhood, my past relationships, my marriage, and life in general.
 My workplace has, unfortunately, heard some of my criticisms.
I evaluated my career and professional side hustles. Some days are exhausting.

5. It is possible to lose weight without exercising

Since the moment I started working from home social distancing in March, I have lost 9.6 pounds lost in 9 weeks.
Did I starve myself?
No.
Did I eat pizza when I wanted and as much as I wanted?
Yes.
What I did was start to focus on the quality of my food rather than its quantity. When I look for something to eat for a meal, the questions I would ask myself include:
-Is this food going to nourish my body, or will it make me feel like crap? (“feel like crap”= is referred to as bloated/crampy/gassy/fatigue/diarrhea/upset stomach. Not all of the items listed, but any of them individually or in clusters of misery.)
-Is it natural? Not organic or gluten-free, although those are not necessarily a negative feature. But can you identify the ingredients in the food you are eating? If you are eating it in its original form, then to me, it’s natural. An apple, walnuts, almonds, green beans, chicken breast, etc.
-Is it healthy? Most mornings, I eat Greek yogurt with grape nuts or oatmeal with peanut butter for breakfast. Cottage cheese with sunflower kernels for lunch or a late morning snack. Sometimes a salad for lunch if I am hungry, but that’s about once every other week. Afternoon snacks might be a banana, almonds, trail mix, or cheese cubes. Dinner is usually light; some evenings, I eat a snack, or I’ll make a grilled cheese with ham, a small portion of a home-cooked meal or a breakfast style dinner of three over-medium eggs.
After dinner is the point in my day, where I sabotage my eating standards.
Most evenings, I would consume sweet-tarts or a half-pint of black raspberry chocolate ice cream. Some days I wouldn’t watch my portions, and most days, I did maintain healthier serving amounts. Lately, just ice water will do. And two Keebler Coconut Cookies. YUM!
Now, I don’t claim to be a doctor or a nutritionist. This blog is for casual content and narrates just what I did. Some days, I was good to myself, and some days I was not. I do not advise anyone to replicate or try anything without consulting your doctor first.

6. It’s hard to find a creative outlet

When you have depression, using your creative talent can be a good thing, but picking one thing is the hard part. I wanted to buy and learn how to play the flute. Oh yes, like Lizzo.

Or perhaps read a book. Here are 5 things you might want to know about reading books

This isn’t a top ten books to read or my personal suggested quarantine reading plan. You don’t need me to tell you what to read. There are so many cool things available out there with books. Authors are self-publishing expanding the variety of ebooks to readers all over the world. So, I’m going to show you a few neat tools to consider adding to your reading routine.


I find it fascinating that so many times, Americans would turn to books to get through difficult times. In August of 1929, the stock market crashed, and The United States began to endure The Great Depression. It wouldn’t be until March of 1933 when The Great Depression and times started to get better. What’s a farm girl to do? Read, that’s what those women who got through that tumultuous time did.

You can read more about how reading books helped women through The Great Depression by reading Livia Gershon’s How Reading Got Farm Women Through the Depression

5 things you might want to know about reading books

  1. Free ebooks are available through mobile apps and online libraries. You can find audiobooks too if that’s your thing.
    1. Overdrive/Libby/Hoopla
      1. Use your library card to check out library ebooks and audiobooks on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer.
    2. Kindle – you don’t need to have a reader. Just download the mobile app.
      1. The app is free and you can read free samples of books if you like to try before you buy.
      2. They have an unlimited version that you can read more about by visiting Amazon Kindle Unlimited. There is a fee, but as of May of 2020, they are offering two months free trial.
  2. Join a virtual book club and get connected during the quarantine
    1. They are everywhere. Oprah has one too. Just search for virtual book clubs online and you will be on the way to finding your virtual book pals.
    2. You can also start your own book club. Get some friends or family to sign up and select a day to discuss the book. Many use Facebook and for those who are not on social media, there are other options. Many paid options are out there and there are some free ones too. Go ahead and check out what’s out there because new technology is developed every day.
      1. One tool I usually recommend: Free Conference Call.com is a free online tool for groups to chat online via video chat/online web presentation/conference call style. For a free platform, it’s very efficient and there are many functions.
      2. Here is a step-by-step guide from Country Living about how to host a virtual book club.
  3. Good Reads
    1. Keep a list of books you want to read and easily update them to currently reading and finally, read. Invite your friends to connect their book lists and easily make recommendations. Or you can check out their list for your next book reading adventure.
      1. Available both online and via mobile app.
  4. There is manybooks.net where you can access over fifty thousand ebooks for free.
  5. If you’re looking for great classic books, Project Gutenberg is the best destination to explore. Currently, there are over 60,000 public domain books in the catalog.

 

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