Planting, Watering, and Oversleeping

It’s been a while since I checked in on this blog about my annual theme, Planting and Watering. I’ve been struggling with oversleeping, hypersomnia if you want to get technical. This seems to be more than depression-related, and I’ve seen a sleep doctor. January through the beginning of April, I slept upwards of 16-18 hours out of every 24. The pressure to sleep was overwhelming. Now, in the last couple of weeks, I’ve flipped to undersleeping. I wake throughout the night and don’t sleep for long periods. Neither is ideal. Both impact my relationships and my work.

Both impact my theme. Planting and watering are repetitive actions that require daily attention. This is where my adaptation of a chore chart has come in useful. You might tend to think of chore charts as a child’s tool, but I’ve found it enormously helpful in depression.

Having recurrent major depression means that I rise some days not knowing what to do. Literally. I cannot remember what I should be doing. It’s a jumble in my brain. Turning to the chart, I can simply follow its instructions. Looking back at these weekly charts, I can see whole days that are blank, like I didn’t exist. But I can see other days when I accomplished so much, and that keeps me going.

ChoreChart.20190416.jpg

The first section is the most important on high-depression days, because it keeps me focused on self care. Eating, hygiene, and activities that improve my wellbeing. Section two is a breakdown of quasi-administrative activities to remind me when to blog, when to art, when to join my critique group, when to query, and so forth. The third section is all about my works in progress, typically an edit, a draft, a dummy, and plan. That’s four works at any given time so that I can make progress. That fourth section is family-focused. These are the things I must do to keep the household running. Then I have daily notes below and a weekly to-do list on the side.

When the chart works, it super works. I can get so much done and track my words, my life. When it doesn’t work, those days would have been absent anyway; now I have a way to monitor them. To know when they are out of control and far exceeding present days.

This chart shows my privilege and reveals the extent of my anxiety and depression. I do not work outside the home. Without my husband’s job and his willingness–or without my depression keeping me home–my chart may not exist or may look very different.

I’m a big believer in collecting adaptations that work for you. I’ve been nervous to share this one, as it feels so personal, but I hope it reaches one person that can adapt this further for themselves.

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