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On Past and Present Struggles with Depression (and Using Meditation to Cope)

So, I’m having a hard time writing lately. I have some topics I want to write about ASAP, Quantified Self, for example – especially with the conference coming up soon, but my head just hasn’t been in the writing game lately. Part of this has been a never-ending cold I’ve had for the better part of three weeks, part of it is too many things going on at one time, but the biggest part of this is just being in a slump (as I mentioned briefly last time).

TL;DR I’m struggling with depression and started meditating as a way of coping. 

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On Trying to Purge Belongings (Part One)

So there’s a lot going on, and most of it is exciting/positive even if it is kind of draining. I am still job hunting but have gotten responses from some companies, and I am super excited about some of the potential opportunities I have. That said, I’ve also begun applying for jobs outside of Philadelphia. I have mostly been looking on the West Coast, and the idea of a cross-country move is both exciting and terrifying. The biggest logistical thing I’ve been considering is: WHAT STUFF DO I BRING IF I MOVE? I have… a lot of stuff. I totally have the ability to be a hoarder if I don’t consciously make sure I am getting rid of things regularly (usually 1-2x/year). I used to move every year and that helped a lot with the process, but I’ve been in my current house for about five years now and while I’ve parred down a lot, my stuff seems to have multiplied exponentially.

I started thinking a lot about this after a friend recently sold everything he owned to go on the road. My reaction was “Cool!” Followed by “HOLY SHIT. HOW.” I thought about it even more after reading an article on LifeHacker How To Program Your Mind to Stop Buying Crap You Don’t Need. The article talks about making a master list of everything you own and asking yourself: how much your purchased it for, why you purchased it (sale, impulse, necessity), why you’re keeping it (necessity, sentimentality, etc), when is the last time you used the item, when will you use it again, does it bring you joy, etc etc etc. This list helps you in a few ways. First, the list can help keep you from duplicating items you already have. Second, the list helps you narrow down items you need, want, sometimes need, and don’t need at all. You can use it to par down belongings and see what you’re holding onto and why. This is something I can REALLY use.

So last night I started an excel sheet of all of my belongings. I don’t expect to be done this today but hope to get everything added within 1-2 weeks, adding little bits at a time. I’ve started with the easiest things like large furniture, linens, etc. I’m trying to make sure I add things in batches and start with items that don’t get moved around a ton to avoid confusion.

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On being honest with yourself (and taking breaks when necessary)

Ohhh no I missed a day! Just kidding, I did it intentionally.

I didn’t do a whole lot yesterday. I didn’t even meet my Fitbit step goal, something that rarely happens, but has happened a little more lately because I accepted that SOMETIMES it’s okay to miss a day. I had a really fun but exhausting night Saturday, and while I was disappointed I didn’t get more done on Sunday, I am not beating myself up about it. Instead, I am focusing on the things I did get done: some Evernote organization, drafting for future blogs, I read an entire (short) book and half of another book. Also, I realized that while I’d like to write here everyday, if I had forced it yesterday it would have been total crap. I was weighing this in my head considering something I read recently that Gretchen Rubin said in a book I’m reading:

Because I write every day, no one day’s work seems particularly important. I have good days and I have bad days.

I weighed this for a few hours between naps. It goes along with a slew of articles and book mentions about the importance of daily routines, etc. And I do think routine is important. But when I’m honest with myself and know for sure that my mind isn’t in it and I’ll be producing crappy writing, I feel like it’s the right decision to listen to myself and give myself a break. I’m not saying this is the right answer for every situation. But sometimes, especially when you’re dealing with unusual circumstances that may be contributing to an overall blah, it’s ok to give yourself a break. And it may even be better for your productivity.

I technically did write, I just didn’t post anything. I am working on a bunch of drafts at once for this site. I know it may not be the best way, but I have so many ideas at once I’d like to get them all down and then start hammering them out. I’m also trying to incorporate a lot of articles and other references into posts, which takes a lot of time and organization. And I want to do it right because it means a lot to me and this blog has been helping distract me from some of my bigger sources of stress in life. So for now, maybe not daily posts, but posts I’m sure I’m proud of.

And now on the subject of self-betterment and giving yourself a break: I am off to a free intro lecture on Transcendental Meditation. They have some more dates in the Philadelphia area coming up, so if you’re interested here is a link!