At the core of my depression is worthlessness which makes any activity I attempt to do meaningless. I don’t believe that I add value to my life or anyone else’s life by waking up, so I don’t bother. Some days I can fight it if I have help; someone wakes me up and tells me all the things I need to do for the day. However, help is hard to find when everyone around you is worried about themselves.
The only way I can fight the worthlessness is with purpose. For me to find value in waking up, it is important that I establish my worth to myself to build me up for the following day. I have certain routines that help support me when I’m at my worst.
Creating a to-do list
In addition to my many mental dysfunctions, my favorite is being controlling. I exercise this muscle hard when I’m depressed to yank me out of my depression. There are things in my house, with my kids, or at my job that only I can do properly. If I ask for help, someone will probably completely mess it up and I risk having to do it all over again! What’s the point in that?
The best time to build some worth for me is the night before with a to-do list. I get very specific about the things that can only be done by me.
Only I can properly wash my daughter’s hair.
Only I can cook honey teriyaki chicken so that it’s edible.
Only I can make up my bed the way I like it because my mom always tries to put ugly floral bed sheets on my bed even though she knows I hate floral. (Sorry mom)
I make each item specific to me (only I can) and I make sure it is an action that needs to be done. Most of the time it is something outside of myself, so I wouldn’t list anything related to self-care because my self-care abilities are shot during my depressive episodes.
However, if I can work on things around the house, with the kids or at work that is exclusively something I am good at, it gives me a reason to wake up in the morning.
Wake up early to make breakfast
If you ask anyone that knows me well, and you will be getting to know me well through my blog, I am an epic fan of food. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks- all foods are welcomed with open mouth! Food literally brings me excitement and joy. I have a knack for cooking, and I marvel at what I can combine from my fridge to create a meal.
It does help me to plan an elaborate breakfast. Something as complicated as an omelet with multiple ingredients and French toast from scratch gives me a step-by-step plan to focus on in the morning.
I also value the quiet of the morning which prompts me to wake up early, make my breakfast and coffee, then sit with my devotional. The quiet helps me to listen to whatever God would like to tell me for the day and I find encouragement and hope in God’s words. When I tune in, I always find exactly what I needed to get through that day.
Something to look forward to
When I find it difficult to wake up and my morning routine doesn’t inspire me, then I reach a bit more into the future. I look for events or fun things that are coming that will inspire me to keep going to reach for that day.
Recently, my daughter had a birthday and I took her to Legoland in Orlando, Fl. Leading up to those days, I found myself crying every morning because I just couldn’t move from my spot. Despite having a to-do list, it not long enough, and I woke up so late I couldn’t make breakfast. However, I never bought the tickets to the theme park.
The only way I could keep going was if I made a deal with myself: if I could get up on time at least 3 days that week and make it to work CLOSE to on-time, then I’m buying the tickets and booking the hotel room. It was a fight.. I didn’t want to disappoint my daughter and Lord knows I needed the getaway. I had to earn it, though.
After the 3 days, I booked the hotel and gave myself 3 more days of meeting my morning goals to purchase the tickets. I found myself waking up excited everyday like a kid going to Disney world! I was antsy for the theme park and the time with my babies and it made each day bearable- regardless what came.
Now, when there isn’t a theme park or vacation in my future, I look for a potential event. Money isn’t always plentiful, but I try to do smaller things like a trip to the zoo or a planned stay-cation without my kids. I get excited about those and focus all of my energy on getting to that one event. When that one event passes, I find myself something else to look forward to.
There’s always the bucket list
Sometimes, I am really struggling with living in general and can’t find the light, I look to my bucket list. I have always wanted to go to the Maldives. On those hard nights between tears and sorrow, I watch long, detailed videos on the Maldives and that springs new life into me. I really look forward to going there one day.
What are some of the things you do to help you get out of bed in the morning? Please share below and let’s have a conversation about what helps so that we may help others.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a licensed mental health counselor, a psychologist, or a psychiatrist. I am simply a human being who was diagnosed with depression and attempting to explain what I go through from my personal perspective. If you are experiencing these symptoms or worse, I would suggest that you consult a licensed mental health counselor for support.