Think Depletion, not Depression


During my thirties and forties, I had a number of books of daily meditations. The idea was that by reading these positive reflections every day, eventually I would internalize their message and change negative thinking patterns. I read them faithfully for years.

I remember one meditation that spoke of depletion and depression. When starting to feel down, the reflection encouraged the reader to think depletion rather than depression. If we are depleted, then we simply need to do what is necessary to build up our resources again, much easier than dealing with depression.

I like this distinction. The past few weeks, I have been depleted. I have spent the summer writing another novel, while blogging twice a week, reading other blogs and the daily glut of information on the business of independently publishing that comes into my inbox and trying to act on that information. I thought I was doing great. I was and I wasn’t.

Writing doesn’t feel like work to me. I am energized when immersed in a story, so I don’t always recognize how much energy I am expending. I’ve been good about exercising this summer, riding the Falling Waters Trail to Lime Like (approx. 15 miles round trip), once, sometimes twice a week, and working out two to three times a week. After sitting for hours at a time writing, I simply have to get up and move. I also walk my dog every day.

What I haven’t done is rest. Weekends have been spent doing yard work and other household chores and socializing. I’ve been happy to have the weekend over so I can write again!

Even when I’m not writing, even when I’m riding my bike, soaking in a tub, or sitting on my porch swing, I’m thinking about writing.

And so I’ve been feeling depleted these past few weeks as I put aside my novel so I could come back to it with fresh eyes. I’ve had just enough energy to do what absolutely has to be done, but nothing more. The blog posts that I kept up while actively writing the novel, have slowed to one a week, and it has been a stretch to do that. It hasn’t helped that we’ve been beset by an influx of mosquitoes that have forced me inside rather than being out in the fresh air on my swing, one of the ways I rejuvenate.

When feeling tired it can be so easy to fall prey to negative thought patterns, precisely the ones I sought to change years ago. You can easily start to feel depressed. The world is no longer a safe place full of God’s beauty and promise but rather a place where everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. This can be a self-fulfilling thought pattern as, being tired, I make more mistakes.

And so I am giving myself a break at my brother’s cottage, away from people and the need to interact with them. A chance for some solitude to recharge my depleted batteries. A chance to sit and do nothing, to stare at the water and take the dog for long walks. And what do I think of while taking those walks and staring off into space? Why writing, of course.

What do you do when you need to recharge? Curious minds want to know!


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