Today I want to report that my efforts to be more social, go on more walks, and generally take care of my mental health are quickly showing positive results. I'm still having some anxiety around what to do with my leisure time, but this morning I thought about playing the Spiro the Dragon trilogy reboot and felt excitement rather than anxiety.
In general, I've been feeling better. Sometimes I've felt a bit overwhelmed with all the socializing, but I've pushed through and been okay. I'm really trying to not overdo it, but it is difficult because going slow like this also gives me anxiety.
I'm still not sure whether I'll be able to go back to any form of what used to be normal for me. Thinking about the rest of the week without any social plans just down made me feel a bit anxious. Sometimes I think I might end up filling my time up with stuff, if I can get used to it, because if that's what makes me feel best then why not?
I'm trying to go with the flow.
I read in that depression book that a study was done attempting to answer the simple question of "do people who consciously attempt to increase their happiness become happier?" Does trying to be happier work? What they found was that in the U.S., it doesn't work, but in other cultures, it does. They also found that in the U.S., people tend to pursue happiness by focusing on themselves and their own pleasure. In other areas of the world, people pursue happiness by helping others.
It threw me for a while as I wondered whether my current efforts to become happier would be useless or even counter-productive. I was also freaked out because previous efforts to get into activist organizing that involved going outside and interacting with people I didn't know were very difficult and stressful. But maybe it's more like when I thought I would reduce my stress by self-isolating and ended up with more stress and generally depressed.
I may not yet be at the point of being able to be a serious activist, but I do think socializing is helping, and I think that it won't be long before I feel good enough to take some concrete steps toward helping my community. Even if it's just picking up trash by myself or something.
But mostly, I want others to know that what I've been doing is helping me. You can improve your mental health, you can reduce your depression and anxiety, and being with other people is a big part of that. I'm so lucky to have amazing friends who have opened their arms and homes to me as I go through this. I look forward to spending time with them regularly, having a ton of fun, and building mutual relationships.
Also, I played Untitled Goose Game with said friends yesterday, and I can confirm that the slapping sounds of the goose feets alone are worth the $20.