Q&A: The slog

Anonymous writes:

"Is it normal to be a little depressed by the never-ending cycle/gauntlet of tasks that are involved in having a full-time job and being a spouse and parent? Every day feels like a slog. Sometimes it's a happy slog. But more often than not, the thought of the sheer number of things that have to get done -- laundry, grocery shopping, bills, commuting, work, bedtime routines, the whole lot -- feels like a real grind, and it often leaves me weary and just bummed out by it all. I'm not someone who procrastinates or shirks responsibility, so that's not it. But people don't talk about it all that much, so I don't know if that weary and bummed feeling is normal, or if it's a sign of depression. I'm not asking anyone to diagnose me with anything, I'd just like to hear from other people on how they feel about the constant treadmill of tasks, and perhaps even how they gain some relief from those gunky feelings."

You asked not to be diagnosed and I can't diagnose anyone with anything anyway, but as a person who lives with depression, I know that when my depression is in remission the daily routine feels busy and annoying and stressful but fine, and like there's something to look forward to every day. When I'm in a phase of depression, the daily routine feels like a slog and like every day is the same, and like it's all demoralizing and futile.

Which is to say that yes, I know what you mean. Right now it doesn't feel that way for me, but it has during many times in the past. And it wasn't about shirking responsibility at all. Depression isn't laziness, and it isn't a choice to be "in a bad mood." It's an illness that makes daily life dull and painful, and makes normal tasks require more effort than they do when you're not depressed and for people who aren't depressed.

Also: sometimes depression is a totally normal reaction to crappy circumstances. If you're doing way too much, or your work is disappointing, or your relationship is having problems, or your kids are going through tough ages, then yes, it's a normal reaction. But it's still depression, and it still hurts.

When I feel myself sliding into mild depression I do the things that I know from experience work for me to get myself out of it--I start doing core exercises (Pilates or barre or T-Tapp or yoga) every day; I make sure I'm supplementing B vitamins, C vitamins, magnesium, and Omega 3s; I try to get eight hours of sleep (and I take Calms Forte to stop the racing thoughts); I got outside into the sunshine every day that there's sunshine; I talk to other people; I ask other people to hug me long tight hugs (not the short perfunctory kind, but the long tight therapeutic kind. If someone will give me a massage or backrub that's even better, even if it's just 15 minutes); I drink enough water.

For me, doing those things for two weeks gets me out of the mild depression. For you they might not get you fully out of depression, but they should give you enough emotional space to talk to the people who love you about getting treatment.

I know other people are reading this and thinking Anonymous is telling their story. Thoughts?