Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My struggle with basic functioning

This is hard to explain.

I have steady low-grade depression, with periods of major depression mixed in. I'm doing better than I have in a long time when it comes to thinking positively/neutrally, and not identifying with transient negative thoughts and feelings. I'm more mindful than I was a year or two ago.

But I'm not that much more functional. My sleep cycles are messed up, I have trouble getting stuff done, and I struggle with consistency and routine...for starters. What I'm writing about today sits at the intersection of these problems: I do not get up in the morning and get ready for the day (take a shower, get dressed, perhaps apply some makeup) like a normal person. I haven't done this with any regularity for a long time. It's insanely difficult for me. Ask me to do this for 30 consecutive days--or ask me to complete a major home improvement project in a month's time or write a book in a month's time, and I would find the latter two challenges easier.

This has consequences. I usually only get cleaned up and dressed in non-lounging clothes right before I have to go somewhere. This could be rather late in the day, or not at all. (If you are wondering about work, I currently write from home.) There are so many days where I don't have to be anywhere, so I wear the same thing I slept in the night before all day. Guess how motivated I am to attend a class at the gym when it means I have to shower and make myself presentable first? I would say sleeping in late and being too grungy to go out in public accounts for 75-85% of my pattern of skipping the gym despite good intentions the day before.

It's not just the gym, obviously. Everything is made more difficult by this; running errands, having an impromptu outing with my husband, answering the front door when someone rings!

This behavior was modeled to me by my mother. She and my sisters are still very much this way; it's not just me. But I'm an adult now and pointing fingers will get me nowhere. I want to change.

I'm not sure how I'm going to fix this. I need to sleep like a regular human being even though my body wants to go to bed at 3 a.m. and wake up in the early afternoon. Even though it resists all attempts at reform. I need to take care of my grooming in the morning and at night like everyone else does, and make full use of the day instead of letting it pass me by.

I'm going to start tracking some part of this puzzle in a tab above labeled "basic functioning." (Edit: tab has now been removed. I tracked my odd sleeping patterns and concluded I have Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome.) This is the direction I see my blog heading, by the way. I want to explore (and fix) the ways in which various areas of my life drive and sustain my eating and weight problem. It's all connected--my thoughts, habits, identity, binge eating, depression, family history, dietary choices, hobbies, physical activity, grooming, career, spirituality, home environment, relationships... It's a tangled web with each point connected to every other point.

I'm talking about everything in relation to weight as though weight loss is the central goal, but really I hope to improve it all. Besides, I don't think I can keep excess weight off for any length of time unless I become a different person in several ways. I really don't.

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