Sometimes I wonder what my readers think of me. What sort of person do they imagine I am, if indeed they imagine me at all. What do they think my days are like based on the facet of self that I display here, if indeed they think about how I spend my days at all.
There are several reasons why I wonder about this. One is that, through other blogs, I have been maliciously and tenaciously stalked by people who construct an imaginary life for me based on the facets shown on that blog. They cherry pick details from what I say in order to fill in huge gaping holes in their knowledge of me and paint the ugliest picture possible and ignore the information that does not conform to their highly fanciful work of art that they have entitled "me" (meaning, me, not them).
Since I have experience with people imagining my life based on one set of writing, I have at least some sense that others may be doing it based on other writing. It may sound egotistical and narcissistic to believe people spend their time ruminating on the person behind the blog, but it isn't something I conjured up in my imagination (unlike the impressions my stalkers have of me).
Beyond that, I think it is natural for us to feel that we "know" a person after following their words for some time. In some sense, we do know them, though in a very limited fashion. So, you don't have to be a weird stalker to feel well-acquainted with an individual who shares their life in the manner that I do. In fact, readers of this blog see the real me in the most intimate psychological sense than the readers of my other blogs. You really may know me in a true sense, though still from a certain perspective.
I was thinking about this today because I'm having a bad day and wondering if I make it clear often enough that I have such days. I spend so much time talking about how I cope with my problems that I wonder if I mislead people into thinking I am able to process them efficiently and merrily move on with my daily life. That's not so. It's an ongoing battle. If I haven't made that clear before, I want it to be clear now.
Today, I'm having intermittent depression and persistent fatigue. Though I am trying to remain positive about adjusting to my new life, it does cumulatively weigh me down. There are days when I would rather just sit around and do nothing but read, watch T.V. or, yes, eat junk food. The "sitting around" part is especially challenge to overcome and, if I were physically ill, I'd just stay in bed when I wanted to until I felt better. However, when I'm mentally "ill" (meaning blue, sad, depressed, etc.), then I think that I can't indulge my desires without paying a price. Lying around only makes the bad feelings worse.
When I have days like this, I try to deal with it in bite-size pieces rather than push myself to go at things wholesale. Emotionally, I can't bear the thought of going outside for a 40-minute walk today. The idea of even leaving the house is too much for me, but I know that movement and exercise help with depression and that I'll feel terrible if I just sit around and indulge my sadness. The answer to this is not to chastise myself and berate myself into doing something I don't want to do, but to manage in bite-size pieces of activity.
For each person, this sort of thing would be different depending on how physically and mentally capable they feel. For me, this means planned pacing around the small space of the cabin I'm in. Every time I feel up to it, about two or three times an hour, I will get up and pace the length of the cabin ten times. I also will do my regular back, knee, and arm/upper body exercises as normal as part of these short bursts of activity.
This exercise is not to make up for any notion of "sloth" or to burn calories, but a deliberate attempt to work with my feelings of depression. It may not make them go away, but it will stop me from sinking any lower. It will also help me focus on something other than my negative feelings (boredom about where I am, stress about adjustments and decisions to be made, fear about uncertainty, and fatigue from both physical and mental problems). And, frankly, it decreases the chances that I will turn to the easiest and most attractive of answers, food. I'm am just as prone to the sense of not feeling hungry, but just wanting to eat because it's easy pleasure as anyone else.
Focusing on intermittent physical activity reduces the amount of time that I have to say, "no", to the impulse to eat because it provides positive focus, but it does more than that. It allows me to set up miniature goals that can be accomplished regularly and provides a sense of accomplishment. Pacing the room 30 times an hour won't do much for my health, but it will do a lot for my sense that something positive is being done instead of simply feeling tired and sad.
Of course, this isn't just about movement, though that is one piece of it. I am also pushing myself to do qualitative things between like reading a book that I need to get read (for a review), writing blog posts, reading meaningful content (as opposed to light entertaining content), doing small cleaning tasks, and preparing nutritious food for later. Thinking about doing all of these things at once is far too much for me given how I feel, but intermittent tackling of successive ones is something I can handle. I can't ponder cleaning the whole house, but I can sweep the floor in the next half hour. I can't think about putting lunch together, but I can wash and spin the lettuce dry in the next 15 minutes.
I get down sometimes, more recently than ever, and it's hard, but I have learned that you can improve things by taking it in bite-size pieces. It helps not to think you have to take too many bites at once and to not think too far ahead about the next one. I just do what I can at a pace that I can between the sense that I can't do anything. On the whole, it starts to add up and propels me slowly away from the depression, lethargy and fatigue. I think it's a good way to be, and a lot better than pushing too hard to be some ideal and then failing and hating yourself for it. Instead of feeling like I "lost" a day to depression, I can feel like I survived it as well as possible and achieved a lot under the circumstances.