Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Blues

This time of year is typically pretty rough for me.
I'm sure a lot of people struggle from the same affliction.
I always wonder if I would be more even keeled if I lived in California...or Hawaii.
I think yes...especially if I were independently wealthy, and could just enjoy a leisurely life on the beach.
However, reality doesn't seem to be offering that option up, so I will stay here in the frozen tundra, attempting to pay off this ridiculous mortgage until I'm 90.
Considering the fact that I have accumulated my own library of 'self-help' books, not to mention the fact that I used to go to a therapist on a pretty regular basis, because I LOVED to talk with her, and would walk out of her office feeling like this empowered woman who could take on the world, I have become really good at analyzing myself.
Too bad I didn't figure all of this out about 20 years ago...but I suppose it's a good thing I'm finally getting a grip on it now.
Obviously, there is always a crazy, stress-filled build up prior to Christmas.
Being an adrenaline junkie, I thrive on that.  (Not as much now, but I used to LOVE the crazy chaos of it all.)
Typically, it would start in October, and go through December.
So, when January arrived, it felt like a big let-down.
And that's when the blues would set in.
I think this has gotten worse since I quit teaching.
Even though I always dreaded going back to work after Christmas least I had something that was keeping me busy.
Now...I have quite a bit of down time, and I am noticing some patterns that have occurred in the past.
During the last couple of winters, I fell into the "black hole" (as I refer to it) and really struggled to get out.  
It's that place where you have no desire to do anything.
I literally would stay in my bed all day, and the only thing that got me out of there was knowing Mark was on his way home from work, and I didn't want him to know that I never got out of bed that day.
My friend would call and try to get me to go out with her to lunch...or anything...just to get me out of the house.
I always came up with an excuse.
I just wanted to sleep...or watch tv.
I didn't want to leave my room.

I only left the house when it was absolutely necessary (like I had to go to work.)
Otherwise, I was completely worthless.
The worst part was my husband had no idea what was going on.
He just thought I was being super lazy, and not doing anything to help out around the house.
He never knew how miserable I actually was.
Obviously, he either wasn't paying much attention, or I'm a really good actor.
It took a long time to work my way out of that hole.  Once you are down there, it's hard to get out.  It's hard to find the energy to get out.
Needless to say...I'm scared of falling back in.
The other day, when my husband and I were having our "spat" I was not handling it well.  What should have been something that was just talked about and resolved ended up being a day long ordeal.
Then I came home later that night, and checked my e-mail.
I subscribe to "webMD" and there was an article entitled:
"Warning Signs of a Depression Relapse."
It listed 11 things to look for.
I was experiencing 10 of them.
So, that set me off again.
(I should mention that, NO, I am not suffering from PMS.)
If I were ever going to audition for a soap opera, this would be the week to do it.  I could totally cry on cue.
But it's more than just sadness that hits me out of nowhere.
(Like when I'm watching Rehab Addict...the HGTV shows where Nicole Curtis rehabs old houses.  Yeah...bawled three times over that yesterday.)
Thursday afternoon, Mark had set up an appointment with an accountant for us.
It was our first visit, so I wasn't quite sure where the office was.
It was snowing, the roads weren't good, and of course, it starts getting dark at, what, noon?
Anyway, I went to the wrong place...(two buildings down) then turned into the wrong parking lot, right next door (because the plow had gone through, and you couldn't even tell where the actual lot entrances even were), and finally, ended up where I needed to be, 15 minutes late.
Normally, I would just have been a little annoyed and apologetic.
Instead, I was on the verge of a complete breakdown.
It took everything in me not to burst into tears, and completely lose it.
Okay.  This is not normal.
Luckily, we had a few minutes in the office alone before the guy came in to meet with I was able to pull it together....but seriously?!
And then there is the matter of my new found inability to chill.
For the past couple weeks, I have been in crazy-person manic mode.
I can be perfectly happy, and things are going along fine, but one wrong word or action can just hit me the wrong way, and I snap.
I'm like the german shepherd who is nuzzling up against the child who is petting it, but one tug on my fur, and I bite your ear off.
Pleasant, right?
I am glad I can make light of it (I chose to wait until I was in a good mood to write today....I didn't want this post to be depressing to read too!)
and it's not as though I spend my entire day moping around the house crying.
However, when feelings of overwhelming sadness or hopelessness take over, it can be really scary.  Especially when you don't know why.
I was talking with Mark about this, and he asked if he was the cause.
(We do this all the time.  If the other is acting weird, we automatically assume that we were the one who caused it, because we must have done something wrong...right? Of course, sometimes he IS the cause...but I was nice and said no.

It's hard to explain to someone who doesn't experience this on a regular basis what it's like for those "blue" feelings to take over.
I really try to find ways to deflate them, or focus on other things...but it doesn't always work.  
I was reading an article about the correlation between clutter and depression...and how clutter can actually trigger depression. 
(Which I believe 100%)
I know that if my space is a disaster, my mood and state of mind is too.
I never stay in bed all day anymore, because I now love the space I created in our living area.  It is calm and serene...which has made all the difference in the world for me.
My bedroom used to be that sanctuary for me.
I am really glad that has changed.
I will continue my baby steps.
Hopefully my organizing and purging will have an effect on my "blues."
The exercise room will hopefully be put together this weekend, which should also be a step in the right direction, as far as battling the seasonal depression.
If all else fails...I have a chocolate stash and a bottle of wine.
If you can't solve the problem, you might as well mask it for awhile, right?

Have a great Saturday!

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