The Virus Diaries: School/Depression How-To Guide

April 8, 2020 at 11:41 am (Cat pics, Fully Sick, general life, Mum Stuff)

I’m transitioning now to the massive piles of schoolwork that Louisette and TJ’s extremely hard-working teachers have already prepped. This is week 10 of term 1, so it’s a trial week for the online classrooms that will be serious ‘normal’ school next term.

I’m really loving the mathseeds web site (and by “I” I mean “TJ” who LOVES maths and computer games). You can get a 30 day free trial by clicking through that link.

Today TJ did a “watercolour” picture by scribbling on a freezer bag with texta, then wetting a piece of paper and pressing the texta-marked bag against it. (I had to watch 10 minutes of example videos for that, apparently.) He also made a pattern with hair clips, which was actually really impressive.

Louisette did a writing exercise involving observations of our yard, using as many adjectives as possible. It’s hard as a pro writer to encourage excessive adjectives, but of course one must go through the period of using a bazillion adjectives before you can start cutting back sharply to only the very best.

I have been loudly telling other parents, “DON’T do everything the teachers give you! They are desperately trying to give you a lot of schooling as quickly as possible. But you and your kids will be better off if you’re selective.”

It’s very hard to follow my own advice. But it’s still good advice. Primary kids do NOT need more than 30 minutes of “actual” education per week day. (They do generally need more one-on-one time than that, and if you spend the time doing exercise and/or reading with them, great.) I shall attempt to follow my own advice and skip some of the many many activities prepared for us.

At present Louisette is wearing undies, a hoodie towel, wings, a cat mask, and a tiara.

*  *  *

I’m still quite badly depressed, although less than yesterday which in turn was less than my worst (yay?).

Things that actually help my depression include:

NB: I am generally fond of my kids and husband, but they are complicated and risky blessings. Sometimes they scream at me (the kids, not Chris), or cause physical (due to fibromyalgia, not abuse) or emotional pain. Yes they can make me feel amazing, but when I’m badly depressed it’s wise to limit contact (especially with the kids) if possible. (Obviously it’s not particularly possible at the moment, but retreating to my room and letting Chris do ALL the kid things on the weekend is helpful, especially if/when they exercise outside of the house.)

1. Chocolate. It’s #1 for a reason. Chocolate is often the thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. It is reliable, more or less harmless (other than the fact I’ll most likely die of something related to diabetes, hopefully not COVID-19) and it has a noticeable effect on my brain chemistry. Every depressed person should have some chocolate on hand to try in an emergency. It works faster than panadol and is more useful for this kind of pain.

2. Good TV (again, risky because there’s a lot of very dark good TV. Comedy is typically helpful, although fat/racist/sexist/etc jokes can strike without warning). I recommend Brooklyn 99, Gilmore Girls, and How I Met Your Mother.

3. Sunshine. When available. Even a few seconds can help. Sunrises and sunsets are well worth noticing.

4. Exercise. Fibromyalgia makes this a lot riskier (exercise often increases pain) but a little bit usually helps. Like 5 gentle (eg walking, swimming, bike riding) minutes.

5. Getting out of my own head. Reading, worshipping God, working/writing—all potentially useful.

6. Sleep, especially naps or sleeping in.

7. Meditation. There are a lot of different kinds to try. The most important thing is to accept that everyone daydreams/gets distracted during meditation so just accept those random thoughts and don’t feel bad that you have them.

8. Water. Drinking water feels good. If I’m feeling fancy, I add ice and/or a reuseable straw.

9. Friends. Listed last because friends can be tricky too. But mostly friends (especially those that aren’t all that close to you, sometimes) are helpful.

10. Be sick. Wallow. Let things slide. Depression is a sickness, and the right response is to lie in bed for a day or two if that’s what your brain is telling you to do.

I hope that helps as a lot of people are in a similar boat to me, brain-wise, at the moment.

Art of the day: The Samurai Kids series by Sandy Fussell. It’s suitable for middle grade, and is a lovely, gentle, funny series (with illustrations). Some of the characters have suffered severely (one of them accidentally killed another child) but the overall feeling of the books is warm and safe. Most of the characters have some kind of physical disability.

TOMORROW I will begin releasing the 15 videos of myself reading Farting My ABCs to my kids.

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