Day 510, How Do You Get Your Motivation Back After a Depressive Episode?

 
This blog entry describes a slow return to motivation and activity after a period of depression.  If it seems utterly dull at first, that is because I was still down.
 

Friday Morning

 
Today, I recovered my Windows 10, VirtualBox virtual machine that had become corrupted.  What a relief that is!  Looking at that material is a blast from the past.  I think I will resume my secret audit time recording system, for which I use my old LifeForm program.  It may help me recover my motivation.
 
Also, today, I went for an intake interview to sign up at a clinic.  I received counseling there when I first moved to Colorado, but I broke contact with them, and they deleted me from their records.  My primary care provider informed me this week that she will no longer prescribe my psych meds, so I had to go back to the clinic.  They will not order medications for me unless I also get counseling, so I have to get their advice, whether I want it or not.
 
This turn of events is not very welcome because I seldom have the motivation to drive up there.  But since I have been stressed lately, perhaps getting counseling will be to my advantage.
 

Friday Evening

Prozac

 
Today, I read part of an exchange of emails I had with a boyfriend, Dennis Silver, in 2002.  It was about Prozac and other SSRIs.  He was responsible for changing my life forever.  I transitioned from Prozac to l-tryptophan and SAMe, which are safer and more effective against depression.  Dennis, a capable, consulting radio engineer, passed on in 2015.  With his intent motivation, he helped me free myself from Prozac, for which I am grateful.
 

Visual Intelligence

 
I also read some of Visual Intelligence, which is about the importance of communication, especially about what we see.  The author, Amy Herman, uses art to teach students how to observe in a thorough, prioritized fashion.  Her Art of Perception class has helped policemen, detectives, and FBI workers do their jobs better and can help anyone.
 

Weight

 
My weight this morning was 51.8 kg, so it has come down from its holiday highs.  It still has not reached its lowest point, but if I stay true to my program, I will lose the weight I want to and enjoy doing it.   I have kept a complete diet diary 82.4% of all days since June twenty-second.
 
My goal in June was to do at least 50%.  However, the diary is much more effective when I do it 100% of all days, or close to it, so I plan to approach 100% in the coming months.  If you are working on a weight loss goal yourself, I advise using a diet diary as part of your plans.  It will increase your odds of success four-fold.
 
I wrote a six-page letter to Jacque for most of the past three days, describing my five current computer projects along with my reading goals.  Secretly, I was hoping she would learn enough to offer me some encouragement.  My husband read the letter before I sent it and said it was a good one.  I believe we all need support.  Surrounding ourselves with positive people can encourage us.
 
One book on my current reading list is Gabrielle Bernstein’s The Universe Has Your Back:  Transform Fear to Faith.  Personally, I believe fear has a purpose:  protecting us.  It is essential to listen to our concerns to find out what they can teach us, rather than trying to chase them away without figuring out where they came from.  We can cast doubt on many of our fears by thinking situations through.
 

Saturday Afternoon

 
Today, I searched the Internet for some of my old acquaintances.  I learned that the president of a company I used to work for is now deceased.  He preserved my job when I first had manic episodes, and I worked for his company for eight and a half years.  I am not sure why I want to search for old co-workers.  It started while I was praying today for the ability to get along with people.
 
What is the secret of getting along with people anyway?  I thought of two things:  1) some people you will not get along with, 2) it is not necessary to obey someone all the time to get along with them.  Number two probably even includes a parent or a boss.  Instead, you make agreements with people and do your best to keep your word, being careful, of course, to not over-promise.  Sometimes it is to your advantage to do your best to do something for someone even when you are not sure you can pull it off.  That is an area I would like more wisdom and skill in handling.
 
Some people tell you what they think you want to hear.  Others tell you what they think.  What is my best policy?  I believe diplomacy is in order.  However, I do my best to stick to the facts, softened a bit perhaps, but still the truth.
 
What does this have to do with Joyful Vibrance?
 
Getting along with people is a crucial part of life and influences your mood and energy.  I used to say every time I prayed, “Help me to get along with other people.”  After praying that prayer for so many years, you would think that I would have smooth relations with people.  Fortunately, for the most part, I do.  However, I still struggle with some individuals.
 

Sunday Morning

Green Peppers

 
Last night I made stuffed green peppers.  I stuffed them with a pound of grass-fed ground beef, browned with a large chopped yellow onion, and seasoned with sea salt, black pepper, turmeric, dried parsley, and basil.  Then, I topped them with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese.  My husband loved them.  They reminded him of when his mother made them at home.  They were not Zone balanced, being too high in protein, but they were delectable, juicy, and savory.  I made three whole, large-sized green peppers and baked them covered at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes and then uncovered for 15 more minutes.
 
 
Today is the Lord’s Day.  I reviewed my mind map about His blessings.
 
My husband is up now.  We have turned up the heat; it is 18 degrees Fahrenheit outside this morning.
 
Jacque asked me to memorize 1 John 5:11, 12, so I spent some time committing those verses to memory.
 
Next, on my morning ritual for January is to hot pack my eyes and loosen the Meibomian glands, which are crucial for lubricating the eyes.  I used a wet washcloth, heated for 25 seconds in the microwave.  I let it cool briefly before putting it over my eyes, leaving it there until it cooled.
 

Thursday Afternoon

 

Giving Gifts

 
This morning I went to Jacque’s place for Bible study.  She asked me about fish oil, and I told her I get mine from Canada.  She bought a bottle from me.  Since her birthday is coming up, I plan to surprise her with an extra bottle.  The fish oil will be here not long before her birthday, so that will work out great.
 

Reading for Motivation

 
My motivation for my projects has declined in the past few weeks.  I resumed reading The Motivation Manifesto by Brendan Burchard.  He claims that motivation is a choice and can be turned on and off through the force of mental energy.  It is not just a feeling that comes and goes by chance.
 

Time Tracking

 
I resumed tracking my time with my secret audit time recording system, as mentioned in my Success Meditation.  Unfortunately, my time tracker only works in VirtualBox.  VirtualBox crashed on me the other day, but I was able to restore it.
 

Creative Work

 
Lately, I have been working in Serif Affinity Designer.  My inner artist will take some coaxing to come out.  I am using the pencil tool and stylus to trace an astronaut.  So far, I am not satisfied with the results.  However, I have decided not to start over.  I will keep working on it.
 
 

Thursday Evening

 

Weight

 
At 51.9 kg, I still have 1.9 kilograms to lose.  Along with my decreased motivation in the past few weeks, I lost part of the drive on my diet.  However, I have not forgotten it.  I will resume the Achieve 50 kg program that was working so well last autumn.  I have been eating to feel better, and to an extent that works, but then when I abandon my diet, I do not feel too happy about myself.  I am still a work-in-progress and do not have everything figured out.  I look trim already, though, according to Jacque and my husband.
 

Time Tracking

 
I set up my secret audit time recording system to track each of my five major projects.  Since setting it up, I have barely gotten it started.  However, I plan to re-commit until all five projects are rolling, whether or not I do them all every day.  Fortunately, all of the projects are related, so in some ways, they are, in fact, one grand plan.
 

More Reading for Motivation

 
Right now, I am interested in Brendan Burchard’s secrets of motivation.  My motivation is generally excellent until my mood takes a big hike or dip.  Either mania or depression can stop all my projects dead.  Recovery can take a long time, and by then, I have lost momentum.  Sometimes my aims are not even recoverable.  Brendan admits that mental health problems can derail motivation.  Perhaps his techniques are not strong enough to overcome them.  He does not mention having a mental health condition himself.
 

Finding Info in Journal Entries

 
I learned from reading my 2017-2019 electronic journal that a person with bipolar disorder is statistically more likely than the average person to suffer from obesity and metabolic syndrome.  That is no surprise, knowing how difficult it is to lose and maintain weight while on bipolar disorder meds.  Weight loss has been a constant challenge for me.  In my early adulthood, I often went off the meds so that I could lose weight.  I do not encourage that method of weight loss.  It was a costly mistake for me.  Eventually, I was able to develop techniques for losing weight that worked regardless of whether or not I was on medication.  If it seems that my methods for weight loss are a lot more comprehensive than necessary, it is because that is what it takes for me to lose weight while on bipolar meds.
 
What is the secret of motivation?  According to Brendan, you do not just have it or not.  You create it.  I confess that I have often gone day after day, without motivation, hoping to wake up with motivation someday and get rolling.  Perhaps it will take some time to generate.
 

Saturday Morning

 
Getting Support from Family Members
 
During the last few days, I have been working on getting more support from my mother.  Fortunately, Jacque and my cosmetologist have both been supportive in coaching me on what to do.  I wrote my mother a letter, which I hope is not too inflammatory.  She can either get angry and accuse me about what I wrote or undergo a change in attitude and softening of the heart.  I do not yet know what her response will be.  I decided I needed to say something to her regardless of what her reaction will be.  Jacque was happy to offer me the encouragement I would otherwise get from my parents.  However, it would be even better to get it from my mother.
 
Since December eleventh, I have been unmotivated and depressed.  That happens to me sometimes, even when things are going well.  It started right after a conversation I had with my mother on December eleventh.  I have not shaken it thoroughly, and it has affected my ability to write.  I go through times like this, even though I do everything I can to prevent them or get out of them once they occur.  It feels like I have been trying to claw my way out of it for the past several weeks.  I have moments of clarity, then I sink into despair again.  It is so out-of-keeping with Joyful Vibrance.  What can I do to resume to spark of vitality I had for so long?
 

Depression is Disabling

 
Depression is such a crushing, disabling disease.  It is not mere sadness.  Sadness can actually improve your performance in some ways, but depression always destroys it.  During a depressive episode, you lose interest in activities you once found pleasurable.  You feel tired.  Your appetite either waxes or wanes.  Mine usually waxes, and I gain weight.  A depressed person may think he or she would be better off dead or even contemplate suicide.  I did not get quite that far down this time, but I have been there in past depressive episodes.
 

Getting Support From Others

 
Depression takes a lot of work to overcome.  I do not typically wake up one morning, and it is gone.  I have to exert my way out of it gradually.  At this point, I am enlisting the support of others to get out of my depression.  I cannot by force of will snap out of it.  Fortunately, my manicurist; my friend, Jacque; and my husband are all supportive.  Next week, I will also be seeing a therapist.  I have not needed one for months, but now I do.
 

Saturday Afternoon

 

How Do I Get Myself Out of a Depressive Episode?

 
So, knowing that it is too late to prevent this episode, how do I get myself out of it?  I am working at keeping an audit of my time, but I keep losing track of it and languishing into doing nothing.
 

Meditation

 
Doing my meditation would help, but I could not get myself to do it this morning.  I could try again.  The breathing exercises would help me.
 
There.  That did help, even though I paused in the middle and untangled my headphone cord.  I did not hear every word in the meditation.  I have used it so many times.  However, the overall effect was wholesome.
 

Activity Mind Map

 
Now I could draw a mind map for my day.  It is hard to do that when I do not feel like committing to do anything.  But let me try anyway.  There, I mapped a day that would be challenging if I had 100% of my peak motivation.  Let me see how much of it I can do.
 
There.  I just made lunch for my husband, and I felt no reluctance about doing it.  He likes it, and I was just 15 minutes later than what he had asked.  It only took ten minutes to do.  My mood has come up slightly.  Maybe I can make a game out of coming out of depression.
 

Projects

 
Now I can watch a video about Serif Affinity Designer.   That went okay.  I spent 29 minutes.  Maybe it is performance-enhancing to keep a log of my time.  I can mark that off on my mind map as well.
 

Bible Verses

 
Now, I will use my mind maps to read some Bible verses.  I had a question while reading, “What is ‘fruit’ in the New Testament?”  It can refer to literal fruit such as offspring, but it can also mean the fruit of your hands or your works.   The fruit of the Spirit, mentioned in the Bible in Galatians 5:22, 23, is also a possible meaning.
 

Saturday Evening

 
Now that I am back at the computer, I have some time this evening.  It is 6:15 PM.  My husband seems to think that everything is okay with me.  I think he likes it when I have little motivation.  Then I will run around to do his bidding without telling him I have something else to do first.  I do a lot of that anyway.  Usually, I do not mind it–unless I am trying to motivate myself back into my projects.
 

Just a Bit of Email

 
Where can I start at this hour of the night?
 
Let me check my email.
 
I could spend all day at that.  I need to get the mail also, but I will do it tomorrow, or later.
 

Support from Family Members

 
I got an email back from my mother.  She did not seem angry, but she does not remember any of the instances I was concerned about and wanted me to be more specific.  That is a typical reaction I get from her whenever I have concerns about the past.  After thinking about her response, I decided that if she does not hang on to stuff, perhaps I should not either.  I can discount the negative things she has said about me.  She did write, “I think you have done really well in dealing with all the things you have to deal with.  I am proud of you for that.  I do love you.  I want the very best for you.”  Perhaps I can leave it at that, recover fully from what she has said, and move on.
 

Sunday Evening

 

Reporting on My Five Projects

 
In my report for my secret audit time recording system, I have the number of minutes spent on each of my five projects.  My time record uses diet diary software, so just match nutrients with each project.  So far, this is what I have since January eighteenth.
 
The numbered projects at the top correspond to the five columns.  The data are the number of minutes.  You can see that in this period, I have not spent any time on my Joyful Vibrance book, and I have spent the most time (575 minutes) on my blog.  I have spent over three hours (198 minutes) with my new Serif Affinity Designer.
 
 
This is slow progress, but hopefully, I am starting to gain momentum.  The Motivation Manifesto emphasizes directing your attention to your passion and reducing the amount of time you are mindlessly conforming to everyone else’s wishes.
 

Feeling Better

 
Especially since getting a response from my mother, I have been feeling better.  A part of me was replaying, over and over, things she said years ago that apparently, she has totally forgotten.  I can just forgive them now.
 
I am glad I started my audit again to track how much time I am putting into my projects.  Frankly, I did not know how I was going to work on five projects concurrently.  I have four out of five going so far and am looking forward to a brighter future.
 

Monday Morning

 
Preparing For My Day
 
5-10 things I am grateful for:
  • feeling better after a long depressive episode
  • starting to get my motivation back
  • practicing the McKenzie extension, downward dog, the bridge with a band, and potty squat exercises
  • my loving, supportive marriage
  • the compassionate support I got from friends and acquaintances lately
  • the provision I receive from Psalm 23, which I have now memorized
 
comments, feelings, ideas, moods, and empowering questions:
How can I manage my life to reflect my values and goals?
 
 
0-100
comments
mood:
79
I am feeling better after a long depression.
energy:
80
My energy is more goal-directed.
 
accomplishments:
 
accomplishment
the reason it is important
next action(s)
1.
I communicated with my mother in a way that brought solace to my soul.  She has forgotten what she said against me.
Relationships
Completely forgive her.
2.
I practiced my four chiropractic exercises after a long break.
Energy and Health
Resume a regular practice.
3.
I set up a time log for my five projects.
Passion
Keep logging and reporting.
 

Prayer

 
 
EVENING PRAYER
 
Dear Lord,
 
My mother responded to the email I sent her.  She does not remember the words she called me, even though I mentioned what they were in my email.  Perhaps it is best if I forget them myself.  I worried that what she said was her mental construct of me, but that concern may be unfounded.
 
I can pick up my motivation and move on.  I am especially grateful for Jacque and the other people who have supported me in getting me out of this depression.
 
I am starting to keep a log of the time I spend on my activities, highlighting my five projects.  I want to turn my mind toward my passion, so I can make measurable progress.  My plan is to give each of my five projects dedicated time, even if I cannot work on all five each day.
 
I spent most of today with my husband.  Even though I wanted more time for my projects, I need to balance my time with him because he is a high priority in my life.
Lord, bless me to avoid dropping into depression again.  I do not know the secret of always staying out.  Perhaps the best I can do is climb back out each time I fall.  I will work on that for now.
 
Lord, bless my readers to find something of worth in this blog entry.  If they are prone to depression, bless them with the know-how to get out.
 
Lord, help me to finish losing the weight I set out to lose on Day One.  I realize, of course, that weight loss efforts are never really over.  I will need to take steps to maintain my loss.  Help me to figure that out.  I am grateful I have lost as much weight as I have.  In 1989, I weighed 156 pounds.  That was my max.  I am thankful that I have never seen that weight again.
 
Help me to overcome the ennui, which has accompanied my depression.  I have had this feeling of not caring about anything.  Help me to be fully engaged in life again.
 
Amen.  
 
If you would like to join me on this journey from the beginning, please start with Day One.
 
 
 

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