Digging Out

I’m discovering that one of the most obvious outer clues to an impending depressive implosion is how I deal with mail. When my brain is functioning well, the mail gets processed properly: opened, reconciled or entered in Quicken or Quickbooks (depending on whether it is home or business related), and then filed. When things aren’t going so well for me, this process is one of the first affected.

Why? Probably because the decrease in cognitive ability that comes with depression makes it almost impossible to follow through with my usual mail procedure. How do I know? Because I am currently trying to work my way through a large cardboard box of unfiled papers and unopened mail: investment statements, credit card bills, old tax returns, unsubmitted medical expenses, and some just plain junk.

The process of cleaning this mess up itself is creating feelings of being overwhelmed. I’m taking lots of breaks and trying to give myself lots of credit for making it to this point, the point where the pile is going down rather than going up. My emotional response to the situation is a tendency to beat myself up for letting things get to this point. This response is actively countered by my focusing on the facts of the situation—yay for dialectical thinking.

Probably the only thing that has saved our credit rating is electronic banking. Direct deposit combined with regular pre-authorized payments keeps the creditors happy whether or not I actually look at any of the accounts.

Conclusions?

  • If you are struggling with depression, try to automate as much of your banking and bill-paying as possible. It’s one less thing to worry about, and nothing makes you feel miserable about yourself faster than collectors calling constantly. Okay, maybe some things make you feel more miserable faster, but collection calls suck.
  • Note to me and those who love me: if you notice the mail piling up, it’s time for an intervention—depression is looming and action needs to be taken.

See, all of this mail in the box is from the two–three months prior to my breakdown, that point in time when I called a time-out on life. It’s good that my brain is functioning well enough to tackle my box in little chunks of time, but I don’t want to push it too much and declare myself well. I’m not—I’m better than I was but I’ve got a way to go yet.

Interestingly enough, we’re at the halfway point of our winter. We’ve endured a lot of snowfall so far, but it’s way too early to declare the season over.