Managing Depression on a Daily Basis

So, not strictly an #ADHD topic today. But #Depression is pretty ADHD adjacent. Some studies have shown that up to 65% of ADHDers have some form of comorbid depression and/or anxiety. I certainly do. And, if you’ve been reading me for any length of time, you know that I love to share my tips, tricks, and triumphs. As my mentor coach one said, (paraphrasing) one of the things that we are selling is that we are pretty good at life. As haughty as that sounds. I don’t think it is untrue. I have two great role models in my parents. I have had many other great influences in my life, from coaches to teachers to friends. And, I’ve had the wherewithal to do a lot of work on myself along the way that has paid off.

Having said that, I think I’d be both disingenuous and a pretty big asshole if I did admit my own vulnerabilities. I’m an ADHD coach and a life coach because I happen to think I get “it” right far more often than not. But I very much have struggles. And, I think it is important for those of us who put ourselves up on any kind of pedestal, proclaiming to be an expert, to also proclaim that we are human. We have weaknesses, we make mistakes, and we have struggles. I know that I’ve mentioned this in the context of the daily schedules that I post regularly. I used to only post those that went swimmingly. But I’ve come to realize that people get as much or more out of seeing how I handle a day that doesn’t go according to plan than they do seeing how I plan things perfectly.

So, I’m making it a point, as I experience the vicissitudes of modern life with two challenging kids, that I show up authentically in this space and let y’all know when there are some struggles. There are two reasons for this. One, as I have already tried to articulate, simply presenting myself as a multidimensional person who doesn’t have all the answers all the time, feels like it has value in and of itself. But, also, I think that I can demonstrate strength even in weakness. We all face adversity. How we handle it generally speaks to how long it lasts, and what we are made of. So, even though I’m not speaking from atop a pedestal today, I think that I have some worthwhile things to offer. So, after a three paragraph intro that I didn’t intend to write… here goes…

Where am I today, August 17th, 2021? Well… I’m not where I want to be. My wife is in a difficult situation at work. She’s understaffed, overworked and very, very stressed. It seems like she’s working 70 hours a week. But maybe that’s just because of how many nights and weekends there are and that she’s generally not home until 6:30 on a good day. Both of my kids are experiencing serious mental health issues. I was going to make an analogy to my home feeling like your average house in Aleppo. But, that’s a real entitled first world jerk thing to say. But the point is that everyone in my house is currently experiencing trauma based on the mental health issues of my youngest. And this has been going on for years, with only minor breaks of semi-stability. That is just background, and not intended as a sob story.

The bottom line is that all of that, combined with this pandemic that we had/are having means that I’ve been fighting off a major depression for months… well over a year now. Somehow, I thought it would get better over the summer. Not so much. I’m actually struggling more than ever due to my youngest’s struggles trickling up. But, I can’t give up. I am the “primary parent.” I can’t stop cooking dinner, making breakfast, getting the kids showered, signing them up for dance and soccer, doing the laundry, managing the rental property, food shopping, mowing the lawn, etc. Nor can I stop seeing clients, doing consultation, billing, emailing, and running my business. So, now I’m five paragraphs in and I haven’t given y’all any useful information. What a jerk! Let’s get to it.

So what am I doing to keep my shit barely together in order to be able to take care of my familial and business responsibilities? I think I’ll just do some bullet points. If you’ve read this far, you deserve some bullet points.

  1. I’m actively managing my medication with my awesome and responsive doctor. Throughout the course of the pandemic to the peasant moment I have gone from 12.5 to 15 to 17.5 to 20 mg of my antidepressant, Trentellix. I’ve also increased my Ativan to (up to) 2mg 3x daily. And I don’t fuck around with my sleep. I automatically take one before bed.

  2. I stopped drinking for a few months and have now brought it back in much more moderation, a tactic I’ve used several times in my life. To be clear, drinking wasn’t a real problem for me. I just didn’t like how much I was using it to manage stress.

  3. I am exercising absolutely as much as my various injuries will allow. I’m back on the spin bike with 42 minutes of interval sprinting 4-6 days a week… watching soccer AND listening to my workout mix. It takes a lot to keep me going these days.

  4. I am doing my best to meditate for 5-10 minutes daily with the semi-guided program on the headspace app. I usually go with Andy. Eve sounds too hot and I find that distracting. (If you’re still reading. You deserve some humor!)

  5. I thought about stopping my drum lessons. But I decided to readjust my expectations a bit and rededicated myself to practicing, even if it was not for as long. And, a few weeks in *SURPRISE* I’m making progress and getting better.

  6. I’m also letting LOTS OF STUFF GO. My garden needs some love. It’s not getting it. I’m focusing on harvesting every other day and I’m giving away food that I don’t have the time or give-a-shit-ness to freeze, can, or pickle.

So, really the bottom line is that this is all I’m asking of myself every day. These self care things, seeing my clients, and making sure my kids are clothed, bathed, and fed. And, of course, when my wife is around, we are making the best of the time we have together. I am putting all this stuff on my list everyday so I can check it off. Most days I do and that feels great. Even if the rest of the day is spent reading or not doing much of anything. I am surviving. We are surviving. I/we will get through this by having reasonable expectations and doing what is necessary and taking care of ourselves first and taking on the world at a later date. I realize this got a little stream of consciousness at the end. But I hope I got my point across. Take care of yourself. Take things off your plate if you can. And, feel good about what you do get done.

Standard Disclaimer: In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.