Pulling back and moving forward

I don’t talk about it very much, but long-time readers and many who know me in person know that I struggle with depression. While I don’t have a clinical diagnosis, in a lot of ways I suspect I’m actually bi-polar. Thankfully for my homesteading, often the manic periods line up with the times I need to be the most active getting projects done. Unfortunately, the last couple weeks have been really rough on the depression end of things.

Depression is hard to explain for those who don’t struggle with it themselves, and people experience it differently. One change it’s clear I have to make is pulling back on how much I share about personal finances. I’ve learned and benefited a lot from a popular frugality and early retirement-focused forum but sharing details on there contributes to a lot of self-hate when I feel like I’m spending too much or making inefficient decisions. In reality, we’re choosing our values, and no one is living this life but ourselves.

Sharing financial details, even when no one makes critical comments, makes me implicitly feel the need to justify every expense. We’ve spent a lot of money lately getting our rabbit-chicken enclosure up, I ordered a second chest freezer, and many other things that help support our chosen lifestyle. Which in turn leads to a self-hate criticism feedback loop that is, for obvious reasons, not healthy. So I’m closing the book on that part of my life, at least for the time being.

A second change I’m contemplating is separating out the homestead posts into a new blog and keeping this one for personal reflections. As I build a little business, I think it makes sense to segregate things a little. I’ll for sure post here when that is up and running if I do end up going that route. I’ll probably also create a Facebook page for quick little posts, like interesting harvests, etc.

I’ve been busy, affected by the depression, and my carpal tunnel has been severely acting up – all of which leads to me writing much less than usual. I thank those who do read and comment. Sharing parts of my life has helped me work things through, and maybe my lunatic gardening has inspired a few of you. The garden right now is a little sad looking but I’m already compiling ideas for how to make it better next year.

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11 Comments on “Pulling back and moving forward”

  1. envisionhappy.com says:

    Hi Chief, I don’t always comment but I find your posts very inspiring – both from a minimalism and homesteading perspective.

    Many of us have battled depression, including myself. I, too, have never had anything diagnosed but go through long cycles of depression. These cycles are usually characterized by rumination, regrets, and beating myself up over past decisions. They are tough to shake.

    A couple of things have helped me recently. One – I think from a financial perspective our lives have never been so complicated. HSA’s, complex healthcare, insurance, retirement options, kids costs, etc – never been so complicated. I don’t beat myself up about not getting it perfect. I also don’t beat myself up about spending too much – just make a solid effort. Whatever your spending is – I can guarantee that you are doing a better job with what you have than 99% of Americans! So remember that and don’t fret about it too much. Try not to overthink past decisions, it will drive you nuts and you can’t change it them!

    The second thing that has helped me is getting into a hobby or activity that keeps me busy – and is new and exciting. I have picked up coaching the local soccer team. This is a new activity where I’m learning, its exciting, and helping others. Giving is fulfilling, more to the giver than the recipient! Seems like you are happiest when you are taking on a new gardening or homesteading thing you haven’t tried before. Sharing your story is helping others.

    Good luck, and keep up the great posts.

    • David says:

      Thanks šŸ™‚ You have a knack for commenting on the posts when I’m feeling the most down, and your comments have been some of the most encouraging to keep updating this space.

  2. I’ll miss your posts and will certainly follow if you create a FB page and/or gardening blog. (I live vicariously through your garden. Someday…)

    I really respect your constant efforts to take care of yourself, and those, too, have been inspirational to me, especially during the end of my marriage. My family tree is full of fathers who–I don’t know. Were they not trying? Was high-functioning alcoholism and early death (actual or likely) really the best they could do? You are choosing something different for your kids, and I’m happy for them.

    Be well, Chief. You have my best wishes.

    • David says:

      Thanks, FP šŸ™‚ My best wishes on your divorce. I haven’t been able to keep up with your news, but I hope it is going well.

      • Thanks, Chief! I won’t bore you with all the details, which are extensive, but yes, it is going very well. I am feeling very optimistic and we’re getting along well for coparenting and detail negotiation.

  3. Fuzzy says:

    I love your blog! I think you’re doing a great job. Little by little it will all come together and pay off. Sending you a virtual hug:)

  4. frugalscholar says:

    As others have said–I love reading about your progress. Though you are choosing a different path than the one I did (grad school, had kids late, working full time, in 60s now), I was frugal in ways that most of my friends and colleagues were not. You are way ahead of where we were at your age–and how lucky to have 3 children!

    • David says:

      I thought grad school was my path but dropped out around when I had a Masters’ equivalent. I’m finding more and more I need physical work to stay happy. I also find the infinite variables of growing things far more challenging and stimulating than just about anything I studied in school. If you listen to interviews with successful farmers, it’s amazing how smart most of them are. It’s a really tough business to succeed in.

  5. From someone who has been there, too: I hope you’ll feel a lot better soon.


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