Those of us who are neurodivergent need a toolbox, too. Since it’s the black dog of depression that most often attacks me, mine is full of ways to cope with down times. Some are free; none will cost you more than $5. Here are a few:
Running—I started running after I earned my teacher certification but just couldn’t find a full-time position. Repeated rejections started feeding into my lying inner voice. Like many runners, I hated it at first. I felt ridiculous with my shuffling granny pace and frequent walk breaks. But I kept at it and even ran a 5k race last year, coming in second in my age group. Going for a run is virtually guaranteed to bump up my mood—if I can get out the door. But my family knows how much better I am when I’m running regularly. My son has even said, “Oh, my god, Mom! Go run!”
Ice cream—yes, I know it’s bad for me, but I don’t do it very often and, when I do, I go for the best. A turtle sundae from Oberweis Dairy (a little bit of heaven in the Chicago area), complete with the best vanilla ice cream, warm fudge, caramel sauce and salted pecans, makes me feel loved.
Barnes and Noble, by myself—I grab a stack of books and magazines I can’t afford to buy, order a latte at the café and spend a blissful hour of browse. Not sure what I’ll do when brick and mortar bookstores are as scarce as independent donut shops, but ‘til then, you’ll find me at B&N. By the way, I have an independent donut shop nearby; a peanut butter donut with fudge frosting is better than Valium and tastes a whole lot better, too.
A big fat hug—from my husband, my son or my daughter, a hug almost always cheers me, even if just for a few minutes. Sometimes a few minutes are all it takes. Since I read that a hug has to last at least 20 seconds to get the endorphins flowing, I make my son hang on to the count of 20. If I didn’t, he’d duck out as quickly as possible; I think we both benefit from the 20-second rule.
Not all of my tools are effective all of the time. That’s why I have more than one. I’m lucky to have a family that knows what’s in my toolbox and when I need to open it.
What about you? How do you battle the blacks and blues?
Be sure to check out WordPress’ daily prompt posts for the prompt: singing the blues. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/prompt-singing-the-blues/#like-71972