Swing shift. It does it to me every time, and it is 90% of what I’ve worked since I entered the workforce at 16. It isn’t the work itself, but the time slot it occupies that makes me take a hard mental nosedive.
I know the general cause and effect and it’s both commonplace and underwhelming. If I wake up early, I have a timer on the part of the day when I can get things done or relax, e.g. I have until work starts to do the laundry or cook or write or draw. That’s terribly stressful and causes me to not feel like starting anything at all. On top of that, I would have to go to sleep as soon as I got home, which would tank my mood at work (nothing to really look forward to starting the moment I started getting ready for work.)
However, if I woke closer to my shift start, I wouldn’t do much before work, but I could stay up into the night and relax and whatever. The problems being that getting adult things done at night is largely impossible, I can’t do chores in the house because people are sleeping, even crossing from the garage into the house is a pain in the ass because my mom sleeps on the couch beside the door and the door is noisy, and I really can’t stand not getting to see the dawn/morning. Staying up long enough to greet the sun would leave me not enough sleep before work, namely during the winter… But a constant of not welcoming the morning gets me depressed.
I thought… Since I know the basic cause and effect going on, I’d google around and see if other people get this problem with full time swing shifts. Of course, it’s mostly forums full of people who are bellyaching about not getting to do things with friends and how family doesn’t call anymore because their schedules are so different… With cringe inducing responses like “see if your swing shift co-workers have or would set up an after work bowling club!”
If anything, less friend and family time COMBATS my depression.
This kind of depression sets in slowly when the late shifts start and eventually I see the side effects growing and growing. I start gaining weight, I don’t want to start anything, all art stops save the stories churning in my head, my stuff ends up cluttering surfaces or getting piled up to be cleaned when I can be bothered to start that kind of project. I stop listening to music, though, which is probably the most tragic thing, as it heavily contributes to my mood, motivation, and artistic inspiration.
Right now, I’m having peaks of clarity… It’s like drowning but still fighting ones head above surface long enough to get a gasp of fresh air so that you can continue drowning a bit longer. It’s usually how the recovering starts. I’ve recently made myself listen to music and work out. I cooked again. I helped clean the garage and helped wash the dog (even wore something so I could sit down in the bath with him because it seemed like the kind of childish, fun efficiency I needed to perk me up.) I kept buying art supplies because I felt like I might get a quiet little urge to start trying again. I recently started sketching in a sketch book again. I really hope it takes foothold and I can keep going with it. I’m feeling more myself already.
Now maybe I can start making small steps towards other things I KNOW will get me feeling better.
Last updated July 24, 2018