Hi everyone! I know its been over a week since I last posted but my Dorie Syndrome has been in high gear! I’ve had so much going on literally everyday during the last 2 weeks so I haven’t had time to sit down and write. I know this time of year can be especially difficult for some and even more so if you struggle with depression and other mental health issues. If you are feeling down and “not so joyous,” get your but in gear and find some other humans (preferably of the female veteran type) to keep you company! Sitting home and moping isn’t going to get you out of your funk! And neither is trolling Facebook and posting negative rants about everything from politics to stupid people at the grocery store! People tend to make jokes about my overly active life. I wasn’t always this way. There was a time, not too long ago, where I would just lay in bed literally all weekend. I was involved in NOTHING and never went anywhere, nor did I have any friends. I still struggle with that option nearly every day. I finally made a decision that I wasn’t going to allow my condition to control my life. Just like with conditions such as diabetes, you can live an long and happy life if you learn to control your symptoms by making lifestyle changes. The first thing you must do is find other humans to interact with. I know that is probably the hardest part for many. It was for me. I hated going anywhere alone but how was I to make friends if I didn’t go anywhere? Start with something familiar. For me, it was getting together with other women veterans. Once I got around others like me, it became easier and easier. But I must caution you! DO NOT seek out others who are perpetually miserable or in same state of mind as you. Then you just be 2 miserable and unhappy people. I think I’ve mentioned this before in other postings but you have to train your brain to stop the negative thinking. I admit, I troll FB sometimes just out of boredom. There are people that I have on FB that I really don’t think I’ve ever seen a happy or positive post on their page! They have an opinion (a negative opinion) on literally everything. If you are reading this and think I’m talking about you – well I probably am! Think about this for just a minute. How much time do you spend on FB? How much of that time is spent carefully typing out long posts of negative comments about someone such as the President, President Elect, the Government, stupid celebrities? That is precious time out of YOUR life that you are CHOOSING to spend on negativity and honestly – of all that complaining – does it accomplish anything for you? NOPE!! Then I see people getting into real arguments with people they don’t know on some of the veteran group pages or political pages. Seriously? It’s like when you yell and curse and have a conversation out loud with the guy that cut you off at the light – but worse because you are arguing with a person that you don’t know, can’t see, etc. How about you try having real conversations with real in-person people? When you engage in those FB arguments, you are allowing another person to take up space in your brain and cause you distress. STOP IT!!!!
Ok so I can’t yell at people on FB and I can’t complain on FB so what can I do? You can get involved in SOMETHING. There are lots of places to volunteer in just about every town. Not ready to be friends with civilians just yet? Join your local VFW or Legion Post. If you aren’t qualified to join because of where you did/didn’t serve, then join the Auxiliaries. “I really don’t want to hang out with a bunch of those old guys”. I’ve heard that so many times. Women and younger guys don’t join because they don’t see the need, but also because they think it’s only for the older guys. Take the lead. Be the first. You might be surprised to see that once others see you there, more will follow. Not only that, but those old guys really do want you there. They want your ideas and they need skills of the younger generations to make the Post better. Plus – you will feel needed again. And I truly think that “needed” part is a major factor in post-service depression among both men and women. In the military, we filled a need. No matter what your job was, someone was depending on you and you were a part of something bigger. Volunteering fills that same need.
Ok so the title of this had something to do with me and being Dorie so I should probably get back to that…. In case you hadn’t already figured it out, I have ADHD. I have a severe anxiety disorder and I have major depressive disorder. My ADHD actually helps to keep my anxiety and depression (A&D) under control. I know sometimes my “Dorie” can really be trying for some people close to me because I bounce all over the place. But as long as I’m bouncing, I’m not falling. Does that make sense? I know many of you can relate. I love helping people. Helping others makes my own issues less significant, but I also truly get joy from helping others. I feel needed – likes its my duty or something. The same kind of sense of duty I had in the military. I pack my schedule because I refuse to allow my A&D to have time to cause me problems. I won’t lie. Some days it is literally a pissing contest or tug-of-war between my A&D and ADHD. I’ll wake up and feel the depression and ADHD puts up her dukes and says “oh no you don’t” and I have to forcefully focus on letting my ADHD take control. For anyone who knows me I’m sure you’ve noticed times when I’m a little more Dorie than usual? That means ADHD is working harder to kick A&Ds butt! In the end, Dorie will always win – that is a CHOICE that I have made. It’s ALWAYS a choice. I am in no way saying it’s all peachy-keen. My Dorie does present problems at home with my family. My kids just think I’m a little nuts. But for my boyfriend it can be a little (ok a LOT) overwhelming at times. When he wants to just have a down day and relax at home and do nothing but watch TV or play video games. I can’t do down. I try explaining that inside my head is literally like when you have your web browser open with like 5 tabs open and you switch back and forth between the pages. Only mine is like having 50-100 tabs open. I just call in multi-tasking in overdrive lol! My Dorie helps me to accomplish so much in a day that sometimes I’m like how in the heck did I get all that done? People comment to me all the time “I don’t know how you do it all” and I really don’t know either other than to say my Dorie did it.
So my advice (and remember – I am NOT a medical nor mental health professional) to anyone struggling with depression or anxiety or for those who are introverts and don’t have much in the way of a social circle – get out of your head, make yourself get out of bed and meet people through volunteering or joining a group (humans not online), and find YOUR Dorie. I don’t advise you to seek my Dorie because she definitely isn’t for everyone. I have one other friend that seems to have mastered my Dorie, but for everyone else, you really need to find your own! Fill your time with positive activities (volunteering), and resist the temptation to feed your negative self via FB rants. There is this app I found called Be the Change. Download it. Each day it gives you a theme along with a challenge. The goal is to focus on positive thinking and bringing happiness and good to the world. Not into apps? Try this. Wake up each morning and post one thing – just one- that you are grateful for or that made your smile yesterday. Want to be difficult and tell me “I didn’t smile yesterday” then just post that you are grateful you woke up this morning. Here is another idea. Make a point to smile and say hello or comment (nicely) on something to someone at work that tends to always be crabby – or better yet, comment to a total stranger that you smiled at how nice their hair style is or “I love those shoes”. Just try to make someone else smile and in turn your light should start shining a little brighter. I have a little bit of a warped sense of humor so what I like to do is go thru Starbucks drive-thru and try to take too long when it’s my turn to pay. I keep notice of the people in the vehicle behind me to notice them getting irritated that it’s taking too long. When I think they are just about pissed off, I pay for their order. When they come up to get their order and are pissed off and realized what took so long was that I was paying for their stuff – well I just hope it makes them smile and realize how silly it was to be in such a hurry and mad.