So what am I doing differently and how? Let me break it down to you again (the 6 steps).
Me: 6-7 days a week (I still believe in free days!)
- I wake up at 7 am to sit in front of my light box (step 4). I play scrabble, read emails, study Spanish, etc., for at least 30 minutes in front of my exceedingly bright light. It kind of feels like a UFO is in the room, it's that bright. Let me note though, that 7 am is like 3 am for most. 7 am is still night time, 7 am is EARLY! Ask my mother and she will tell you that in high school she used to have to wake me up multiple times, taking all my covers off of me and leaving the lights on, (and some days that wouldn't even work), but today, I woke up without the alarm. I was in utter shock. So this simple little habit, is a huge triumph for the old depressed Cole. Literature says that a habit can be formed in two weeks. I agree.
- I work out after my light session before my day begins (step 3). My goal is to get my workouts to 60 minutes in duration, but currently I'm at 45 minutes. Some days I only "briskly" walk, some days I put a little jog in it, and then on really fun days, I play DANCE DANCE on wii! If I find that I get less than 30 minutes in, I don't feel as good during the day. I feel tired and solemn and I know I need more exercise, like today for example, and that is evidence enough that Exercise is MEDICINE!
- Vitamins (Step 1). I take my vitamins in the morning, but my Omega 3s at night. I also freeze my Omega 3s. Freezing them helps so that they don't create so much gas in the stomach. I was taking them in the morning and became a gas machine by 10am. It was frightening. FREEZE THEM, for the love of all around you. Also, I eat oatmeal on Mondays and Fridays (two days a week), if you read the book you'll understand why.
- I stay busy (Step 2). Throughout the day, if I find myself feeling "waaa waaa", I immediately dive into a project, whether that is cleaning my bathroom, re-merchandising a fixture at work, or reading a book, whatever I can find to distract me from my thoughts. If I find I can't stop thinking about something, and coming to no conclusion, I call my friends/family on my list. I have only had to make one phone call in the last three weeks. It was to my mother. The first thing she said was, "I never hear from you anymore!" Another piece of evidence that I am feeling better. I guess I need to call Mom for the positive in my life too.
- I am getting involved (Step 5). It's a bit hard in Skagway, but I am starting to get into the gardening community. My dear friend Shawna has an amazing yard and on days she gardens, she calls me so I can come learn. I also started weeding the side of my house and will be putting good soil down for the winter, so that come spring, I can plant a gorgeous flower bed. This excites me. It also gets me outside, and working my body. Three steps in one!
- My bed time is 10pm (Step 6). I literally turn off most of the lights, my lap top, my phone, and I sit on the couch from 9pm to 10pm and read. This is my quiet time. Then I go to bed, and for the most part, have been falling asleep within 30 minutes. I have found, however, that when I pick up my iphone to play scrabble, or play on my computer 30 minutes before bed time, I struggle to get to sleep. I really have to be religious about the rules of sleep, in order for me to get my 8 hours.
That's it. The first two weeks were a struggle, but here I am on the third week and loving it. I don't feel hopeless or scared or panicky. I haven't cried either. Eh, except for last night when I watched Barney's Version and bawled like a baby, but OH such a good movie. Which leads me to believe that I am on the up and healing. I'm not saying that any day now my depression can't come flying back into my corner and torment like a scary old mean big brother, BUT I am doing everything I can knowing I am fighting it off. I get up at 7am to win. I work out to win. I take a million vitamins and find new activities so I can beat depression and win. If you ever feel down, or you just want to have a healthy mental mind, I highly encourage you to read every word in the The Depression Cure. There is no one size fits all cure for this mental illness, but after 10 plus meds, this one feels the best so far.