There can be no conversation when some people scrunch shut their eyes, plug their ears and sing “la, la, LA!!” while other people scream until their faces turn red and yet other people turn away entirely. Then, there is only chaos.
There have to be quiet voices constantly talking and quiet listeners constantly listening to begin and sustain such conversations, in the hopes that some of the others will stop their activity and join in.
I can’t come up with anything more coherent than that right now. I’m tired and sad, but I think; at the heart of it all, that’s got to be the beginning and cornerstone of any change.
I have mood fluctuations that are the normal sort, but because I can be a curious about order/patterns and because of having gone to a therapist for most of a year in my past and because I overthink in general, I sort of try to track them in a lazy way. If I were more ordered, and more prone to lists, and more worried that I were looking at something like true chronic depression, I’d probably be keeping a calendar.
In fact, I have kept calendars for things in the past. I usually give it up when I realize that nope, it’s a normal cycle tied to hormones or Major Event memories.
It’s still frustrating.
For instance, I’ve been fighting a low-grade feeling of frustration, depression and general urge to rail at the world, cry, beg for attention, and hide from the world all at once. It’s annoying when your brain wants to do very contradictory things all at once. But it’s February, and more than that, it’s right around Groundhog’s Day. So of course it makes sense that I’d be feeling that way. 10 years ago, the divorce of my first marriage happened on Groundhog’s Day. We went before a judge, agreed that what the lawyer had drawn up was what we thought was fair, and the judge signed the paper, which we then took down another hall to pay to have recorded.
I’m extremely happy to be married to the man I’m married to now. My husband is considerate, sweet, does chores simply because he knows I don’t like doing them as well, brings me grocery store flowers because he knows they will make me smile, and in general is a good man.
I’m also happier being me and not hiding as much of myself as it turns out I used to. I laugh more, am honest about things that bother me rather than arguing Devil’s Advocate positions. (I still think about them, because my brain works that way, but if I decide that I don’t agree, I don’t worry about it as much as I did before.)
In general, it turns out that divorce was a good thing. It was still incredibly miserable when it happened. I didn’t want to give up on that marriage when I did. I still believe my ex-husband was a good man in general, even if we weren’t good together. It was still basically 11 years of my life that “didn’t work” or “were wasted” if I’m feeling particularly negative. And my body and brain apparently still get hung up on that. It’s annoying, even when (maybe especially when) I know why my body is doing it.
So I try to do other things or just remind myself gently that “hey, your brain is being stupid because this is a sad anniversary, but you can still be happy, anyway”. Sometimes that helps.
And sometimes I just have to play a stupid puzzle game, or read, or play music to distract myself until my body and brain move on to the next thing.
It’s about that time again.
I should probably say that when I use the word “depression” for myself I don’t mean the clinical sort. Every once in a while, I debate going to a licensed professional and finding out if I have a mild version, but as I can usually shake myself out of the mood or just wait it out, I haven’t bothered. It costs money and energy that I’d rather spend on other things.
In 2004, in September, I separated from my ex-husband. Our marriage had been in various stages of implosion and explosion for at least 4 years (although, with the power of hindsight, I suspect that it was having problems much longer). My dad was fighting lung cancer that had metastasized and gotten more complex (it got into his larynx, among other things), and somewhere between then and October is when he and mom told us that he was going to back out of his trial program. The benefits were nowhere NEAR outweighing the negative side effects. We also abruptly lost my mom’s youngest sister to a rare form of blood cancer. For us, there was no warning. I’m not clear on how much warning her kids and husband had. She’d felt horrible for years and finally was getting pushier at getting doctors to listen. I went back to see mom and dad in November for Thanksgiving. Dad had a collapse and had to go into the hospital. The next 3 weeks are a bit of a blur, but we finally got him admitted to hospice and home where he finally felt safe leaving us on his birthday, December 16th, 2004. He was 62.
Six years later, 2010, in late fall (I want to say November, but it’s actually blurred and I don’t trust that), mom also chose to check herself into hospice. Mostly because her doctor was honest. He might be able to give her up to a few more months. Maybe longer. But it would hurt and she might spend a lot of it in the hospital. Hospice would allow her to be at home. On Christmas Night, she finally was able to let go. She was 64.
Two years after that, in October, I lost Domino, my cat of 14 years. He was more than just my cat. He was my baby boy. I still tear up sometimes thinking of him. That was 2 years ago.
It isn’t all bad.
I still love the fall, even though it hurts to remember. Some of my best family memories are of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Mom loved the cooler seasons. Dad loved any excuse to be silly and eat food that was probably too rich for him but oh-so-delicious. I’ve inherited all of that.
We adopted our two current cats right after the Thanksgiving after losing Domino. I thought it was much too early, but I was also probably worrying Terry a bit with being so sad and he missed having someone furry and welcoming in the house. We were only going to get one, and found a shelter participating in a Black Friday event at a pet store in town. We picked out Shadow, and took her to the vet, who gave her a relatively clear bill (she had the feline equivalent of kennel cough), but strongly suggested another kitten about the same age to help keep her company and to socialize. So we went back out the next day, and found Phoenix. After a week or so of separation to allow their individual upper respiratory sicknesses to get through their systems, they got to meet each other and actually began to get along much more quickly than I expected.
And I can’t forget that my sweet hubby proposed to me on New Year’s eve.
So there are good things to look forward to, most definitely, but I can very much empathize with people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder as well as depression. I have a much higher likelihood of wanting to hide somewhere cozy with a book during this time of year. And for the last few years, that’s been more about escaping than just enjoying whatever I might be reading for what it is. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I feel much better, even if the book makes me cry (The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman did). In its own way, that’s a welcome catharsis from the greyed out feeling I experience a lot of the time. Sometimes I can forget. Or keep a mask firmly in place.
But it’s part of the season now.