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.


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.

Discipline: A Theme

As we head into the last lingering days of February, I remember the shiny plans I had for this new year. That clean slate moment feels far away now.

Usually, whenever I procrastinate it’s due to anxiety or depression. But I put off writing this post because I’ve wrestled mightily with my 2017 theme. It’s slippery and not at all well-behaved.

My chosen theme is discipline, and I will post to this site some of my successes and failures in that department. The thing is, it’s wicked hard to track. Nebulous. Possibly because I’m making it up as I go.

Each year, my theme covers these life areas: spirituality, marriage, parenting, body/mind health, craft, resources, and social life. Entire forests have been milled over spiritual disciplines, so that segment is a bit firmer. As for marriage, the internet left me utterly bereft. [Note: Never search ‘marriage’ and ‘discipline’ together unless you’re into that sort of thing, either religiously or sexually.] ‘Parenting’ and ‘discipline’ were a completely terrible search because all the words of wisdom focused on disciplining children. There are lots of 1s and 0s spilled over disciplined writing, and nearly as much on resources. Social, well, that’s on the list because if it’s not I might never leave my house.

The first discipline I’ve used with some success is Quieting the Noise. We live in a cacophony. Sometimes that racket is lovely. Other times, it is a symphony of hate and pain and bleakness and sorrow. Since November, the noise has been constant, like the ringing in my ear. And for good reason. Lots of voices are rising together and they should be. Against tyranny. Against hate. Against the reinstitutionalization thereof.

Those aren’t the only voices. Between LIES and FAKE NEWS and ALT EVERYTHING, I’ve had difficulty honing in on high quality voices and noises. The strain and refrain can shift wildly in the course of a single day. So. Much. Noise.

So Much Noise
It feels callous, and like the privilege it is, to press mute. To check out for a while every day. To rest my ears and my mind and my soul from the boot-sucking clay of it all. Discipline helps take a pause without checking out entirely. It says both ‘know what’s happening in the world’ and ‘retreat periodically from what’s happening in the world’.

I have been practicing quieting the noise. This discipline alone improves my productivity, reduces my anxiety, and keeps me connected. Connected? Yeah, actually. When I quiet the noise, I have the opportunity to make a plan. I have the opportunity to triage some of the problems to the extent I can impact them. And I return to the noise ready to pick out some beauty, find something to work on, and find partners in that work.

Discipline. Not rocket science. Also not rainbows and cotton candy. That’s what I’ve chosen to drill into this year. Please share your best disciplines, too.