Last night my husband and I were woke up by a neighbor’s barking dog. My husband was ready to jump in the car, find the house and strangle the man. (Not the dogs, it isn’t their fault after all.) However, a neighbor that lives closer must have reported it because the dogs eventually quit barking. My husband is now on a vendetta to find out who the dogs belong to so that the next time they bark, he can call the police. He’s on a mission today. I feel sorry for the owner. My husband has an impressive command of the English language and his voice is deep and rumbling. Scary.
(I have to tell you this story. We went to Chicago via train in December. On the way back, the man ahead of us was on his cell phone, talking way too loud, and using very profane language. There was an Amish family with young children sitting a few rows ahead of him. We waited for the man to get off the phone. He didn’t. My husband (his size does not match his voice) had had it. He gets up, makes his voice even lower and growlier, and tells the man we don’t care to hear that kind of language and would he please quit. My husband sat down while the man put away his phone for the rest of the trip.
A few minutes later the man gets up to get coffee or something. He’s about six feet tall and easily weighs two hundred fifty pounds or more. My husband looks at me with big eyes and says, “I didn’t know he was that big! I thought I would die laughing.” )
So while I was trying to get back to sleep at three this morning, I couldn’t help but make the comparison between barking dogs and depression. And it’s an easy comparison to make because yesterday was a “barking dog” kind of day.
You need to know that I have been depression-free for years now but not always anxiety free, although even that has been very rare as well. Yesterday, I could feel the anxiety lurking inside my chest. I was baffled. Where had this come from? It was like when a door suddenly slams hard and you jump because it catches you so unaware.
I questioned a number of things. Too much caffeine? Too much frustration trying to figure out how to build a drop-down menu on WordPress? (Lord, give me patience!) Too much thinking about a couple of issues that are gnawing at me? The antihistamine I took?………….barking dogs.
Here’s what I did. I didn’t spend anymore time trying to figure it out. Trying to figure out the reasons can make us feel even more anxious. I took out my favorite tool from my pink depression-free toolbox, activity. (I’m not mentioning exercise which is at the top of the anxiety-fighting list, because I’m very disciplined and exercise most days anyway.)
There is always a reason for anxiety but you don’t always have to know the reason.
I still don’t have everything organized from our extensive remodeling upstairs, so I tackled that. Cleaned a couple of floors and was thoroughly embarrassed they were so dirty. Couple loads of laundry. Then some fun stuff.
Like a “peeps” wreath. My family buys me those wonderful marshmallow treats every Easter. This year I’m putting my will-power to the test. Instead of eating them, I made a wreath (I’m actually using it as centerpiece on my table) out of them. Picture forthcoming later today or tomorrow. (Barking dog is getting quieter.)
Then I gathered what I had purchased to make a mirror and put that together. I’m trying to put together a montage of round mirrors for our bedroom re-do. Turned out great. (Pictures later.) (Dogs not barking as loud now.)
When anxiety strikes, and anxiety is a big part of depression for many) it does pay to take a few minutes and evaluate where it might be coming from. But then it’s important to do the things that take your mind off it. Activity almost always works. I’m going to share a statement now I want you to remember. I was in therapy for about six months many years ago and this one statement has made all the difference.
Distraction is a wonderful thing.
Today I’m paying careful attention to the caffeine. Figuring that well might have been it. (By the way, in future posts, I will be extolling the benefits of caffeine to get you moving if you can’t get off the couch. But as with all good things, excess is never encouraged.)
Hey, the barking dogs aren’t barking anymore!