I love to journal, I did it as a child, teenager and young adult, but when I got married I had a hard time continuing it. It wasn't until I started therapy that I started again. I have been writing every day for the past three years (okay, so now and then I miss a day, but I play catch up and write the next day for the previous day). I write every morning, but lately I have been concerned about when I write. It seems that the last several months that as I am writing I feel really tired and I just close my eyes and I fall asleep for several hours.
Now that doesn't seem all that bad, but my concern was this; am I really tired, or is it the depression? I wasn't sure which it was. I also was feeling like I wasn't getting very much done either. I wanted to exercise and spend time in my scrapbook room/office and I just wasn't getting any of that done. I have a tendency to push myself too much, so I wanted to be careful and make sure that I was getting the recuperation that I need, but didn't want to fall into a depression trap of fatigue. It seems that I don't know how to regulate myself very well so I was talking to my husband about my concerns to see if he could tell (he seems to be a better regulator of myself than I am) or had any ideas for me.
He suggested that instead of going to sleep right away, that I go into my scrapbook room for just 15 minutes and if I'm still tired after being in there and doing stuff for a little while, then I must really be tired. He said that I needed to "experiment" for awhile and see if it is a real need to sleep or not. I thought it was a great idea!
I love the word "experiment" because it leaves me with a feeling of just trying out different options. Sometimes I feel the compulsion to "have to" do things a certain way and "experiment" feels more like freedom. One of my favorite scriptures refers to experimenting, it is in The Book of Mormon in Alma 32:27 and it says:
"But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words."
In fact, not too long ago I took this scripture and applied it to exercise. I decided that if I could "experiment" on exercising every day and let that desire grow each day so that I could see and believe that it is a good thing for me that would be a good "experiment." Now it was time to apply the same principle to my sleep problem.
On Friday, I decided to take it a step further and write in my journal in my scrapbook room and as I was writing I could literally feel the energy surrounding me. I ended up staying a lot longer than 15 minutes and I didn't need to go back to bed. It was such a wonderful feeling. So today, I tried the "experiment" again, but I have to admit that I really didn't want to. I was so tired and wanted to lay down and sleep instead. But I told myself it would be for just 15 minutes and then I could go sleep. I have now been in here for almost five hours just creating, organizing and feeling energized. So far, the "experiment" is working great, I'm feeling really good, but it's also nice to know that if I still felt really tired, it would have been okay to go sleep. I'm sure as I follow this experiment, some days will be energizing and some I may really need the sleep, but I will give myself the freedom to do what feels best, and isn't that what's most important!