My Battle for Better Health: Depression and Isolation

11/16/2016 House of Geekiness 0 Comments

Den petting a colt
While moving to California to Save our Dad (read more about our incredible quest here) has been well worth it, not everything has been sunshine and rainbows. Packing, moving, and adjusting has been a grueling process, and I'm just not back to myself yet. Aside from the physical issues (which are painful and many), anxiety and depression have been trying for the world record. 

There were a few weeks I pretty much locked myself in my room watching Downton Abbey, Doctor Thorne,  Poldark, and Grimm on Amazon Prime while playing Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes on my phone, wishing the days would pass me by, and that people would just stop expecting anything of me. 

I had no idea how far gone I was until Erik kidnapped me for a date. Being out in such a peaceful, lovely place was very healing (and that's not a term I normally use). Not only because of the nostalgia of childhood days at my uncle's ranch, but there's just something about being out in nature that calms me. 

The house, museum, visitor's center, etc. at Rush Ranch
Returning home, I was shocked at how much better I already felt. Yes, I was still depressed, but the world seemed a bit brighter and I felt more awake.

It makes sense, really. One of my 5 Things You Can Do To Help Someone with Depression (read more about helping someone—including yourself—with depression here) is to "help them see from a healthier perspective." Getting out of the house, pretty much anywhere, can help, but someplace you enjoy and can relax is best. Going outside of your own dark little world like that, even for just a short time, can make a big difference. Like I mentioned in 5 Things You Can Do To Help Someone with Depression, change is one thing that therapists have regularly recommended. They've told me to rearrange furniture, switch up my schedule, spend time with friends, exercise, or just get out of the house—any positive change that will help my brain jump onto a different track [can] help me be able to think more objectively and feel better.

Image Source
In addition to mental benefits of getting out of the house, something a lot of us don't think much about, but can be a big issue this time of year, is indoor air quality. Believe it or not, our homes have air pollution (radon is one of the biggest culprits—read more about indoor air quality here), especially when all the windows and doors stay closed and fresh air is not allowed to circulate. One of the symptoms of exposure to indoor air pollution is fatigue. Since that's also a symptom of depression, that's something that can be masked by depression or even made worse, each problem feeding off the other. 
Our oldest, then 8 years old, after his tonsillectomy. The nurses gave Hobbes a bandage as well since our son had to get one.
I won't get too much into it now, but one year, my almost every member of my family had to have sinus surgery and/or tonsillectomies as a result of indoor air pollution.

So, if you're experiencing depression and fatigue, especially with cold or allergy-like symptoms, be sure to consider the quality of your indoor air. Take a few minutes and remove yourself from your isolation. It's alright to go somewhere you can still be alone, if that's what you want, the important thing is to get out. 

Den loved telling us all about the cows. He used to work with them in his early days.
I'm almost done talking for now, but let me finish by saying that it seems silly, but I'm shocked every single time by how much better my depression gets after I've gone out and done something I love.

Hope some of this helps! Here are some pictures my daughter took the other day when Grandpa Den and I took them to Rush Ranch. (Please be nice. I'm sharing an especially unflattering picture of me in here!)

A distant view of Fairfield/Suisun City, CA

I LOVE how the black spots literally stick up off the white of his coat!

Cows in the pasture

Den and I petting the horses

Gopher hole?
Hoof print
A barn owl

My goals

I want to have energy to spend time and actually do activities with my family.
I want to be able to be physically active. I’m not saying I plan on running marathons, but being able to exercise and do basic housecleaning on a daily basis would be nice.
I want my mind to feel less foggy all the time so I can do my job well and enjoy being in the profession I love.
I want to be healthy and be at a healthy weight.
I want my life back! I will look for the best in my life and realize what I truly have, always striving to make it better.

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