Fighting Depression: Putting an End to Extreme Cocooning

A Cecropia caterpillar starting its cocoon.
A Cecropia caterpillar starting its cocoon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stress wreaks havoc with our bodies and like any other being, the older we get the longer it takes to recover from that havoc.  Being a firm believer that our thoughts and emotions affect our physical health to a very large extent it wasn’t a stretch for me to associate my shingles outbreak with job-related stress.

And it was’t the pain for me, it was the extreme fatigue.  I was literally worn out and given that not wanting to get out of bed is a symptom of depression I wondered about the connection there.  But something in me said this was different, yet no matter how much rest I got the fatigue went on for months and months.  And it really bothered me.  I’m too young to be bed-ridden or spend most of my day prone and yet my stamina was at an all-time low and I hated feeling so out of shape.

Don’t get me wrong, the rest was therapeutic AND necessary not just for my body but for my mind and my soul.  So if you think jumping off that hamster wheel is a piece of cake just don’t run on there until you get sick.  Better yet, try to just take regular breaks and really give you mind time to be free of thoughts that stress you out and bring you down.  It’s been difficult to forgive my self for the down time when I virtually hid out in my room whenever I was home because the clutter and noise in the house drove me to seek a quiet area where I was in full control.

I can see how people never halt and reverse this downward spiral.  I’m lucky that I have a lot to live (a full life) for – primarily, my children.  They are my responsibility and they need me and in general they’re cute and fun as hell so I get a lot of satisfaction from the parenting equation myself.  I managed to break free of the extreme cocoon before anyone around here really stopped to think about it and wonder if their friend’s moms spent most of their time in their rooms.  I did keep up appearances and kept the pantry stocked and meals on the table and tuition paid and all of that stuff that needs doing but only rarely was I fully available and that’s what I knew I needed to work on.

A huge factor for me, a perfectionist, to work on was accepting that I can always pick up where I left off or start over if I get off track and the ability to celebrate getting little bits done and enjoy the satisfaction of checking something off my “really want to get this done” list.  One helpful prompt came from my friend the  Flylady, who advises “Just do it”.  Not only does she strongly urge her followers to “Just do it”, she recommends using a timer which reveals just how much you can really get done in 15 minutes.  She even tells us that planning a weekly menu takes all of four minutes.  You have to be pretty creative to come up with an excuse not to do it, especially when you have done it and realize just how much easier it makes your day flow.

Over the summer, being home with the kids all day I gave them quite a bit of autonomy as far as their play time, tv time, video game time, etc.  They in turn cooperated happily with requests to pick up a few chores around the house and we managed to fit in several fun outings  and some volunteering.  No extravagant vacation this summer, just an old fashioned summer at home with swimming, bike riding, baseball, chalk on the sidewalk, watermelon and ice pops.

Since the kids returned to school I’ve resumed the straightening, organizing, de-cluttering activity around the house, caught up with the laundry in full, started planning menus and cooking more, and more healthy.  One of the little routines we have once or twice a week is that I have a fresh fruit smoothie waiting for them when they walk in the door after school.

I’m thankful that I caught myself in the cocoon and get myself out before I left my kids with the memory of the cocoon mom instead of the yummy smoothies and fun doing homework together!  Life is good!

Thank you to my small group of readers and followers – I especially love reading your comments even if it’s just you saying “Hey”!

God bless you all!!



  1. This is beautiful and inspiring. Everyone needs a breather. We forget we should stop doing things or thinking about something all the time. Being present and mindful of every thought and action is a way to stay happy and content. Play and fun with the kids is always a good idea 🙂

    • I’m so happy you found this post beautiful and inspiring Vilina. I realized that this post had more views and likes than any other before or since–that told me that it resonated with far more people than I imagined it would. Most people I know in real life wouldn’t share something so personal in a public blog post but my thought is that if just one person is uplifted upon hearing that they’re not alone then I did the right thing by sharing it. Your words mean the world to me. Thank you so very much for your sweet comments!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.