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regimentation1It’s always been ironic to me that we place procreation as such a sacrosanct right. The offices of psychologists and psychiatrists tends to belay the fact that most of us are raised by people qualified for the task.

Still, since most of us manage to live out our lives without killing, torturing, or otherwise seriously violated others, I’ve never placed much truck in blaming my woes on the abysmal abilities of my parents.

I have spoken before that I suffer from mild depression, mostly SAD, which as you might expect, occurs mostly in the winter time. I at one point took anti-depressants for something less than a year, but found weaning myself off them more painful than the underlying disorder, so I self manage. Mostly this works pretty well, and I am not symptomatic for months at a time.

I guess it was symptomatic  that a few days ago I wrote a piece on “shoulds.” I obviously missed the signal that this should have alerted me that the cloud was returning. And as usual, new insights arise which I have not yet processed but you might find helpful or not. You may have suggestions or not.

Either way, I’m writing it out as my therapy.

I don’t think I’m unusual in having “rituals.” Rituals to start my day, rituals to end my day. Most people do. I tend to go a bit further and have “cleaning days” and so forth. Shopping is a morning thing, laundry is done on certain days. I don’t get apoplectic if I find it necessary to do laundry on an off day, but I like the schedule. I like to reward my “tasks” with rewards, such as a quiet cup of coffee, reading a book, meditating, cooking a favorite recipe, sitting down to read blogs and so forth. As I said, for the most part this works.

Until it doesn’t. This summer has been a bust here in Iowa. The garden hasn’t produced well due to too much rain and too cool temperatures. Thus a number of plans we had have fallen aside. The Contrarian has had a plethora of VA appointments which have resulted in success on one problem and the rest of the testing has brought relief since all were negative. Now I find myself contemplating the fall and winter and yet I don’t recall having much in the way of summer.

The ironic part, is that the very thing that gives me the impetus to do all the shoulds in my life, the schedule, now looms as the enemy. I see the days as endless sameness. It’s Tuesday, the toilets call. It’s Friday and the laundry beckons. I am engaged in an endless round of tasks that never resolve themselves but merely ebb and flow from “need to do” to “done for now.”

Life becomes an endless treadmill of sameness. I’m not sure how to break the cycle or if I should. The endless routine seems  in the end to build to a crescendo that spills over the top and threatens to flood my life. Yet, I’m afraid if I end the routine, my basic laziness will paralyze any effort at all. Church activities which are not so much within my control, meaning I can’t set the schedule, may be what keeps me reasonable on an even keel.

And I don’t mean it to sound dramatic. It is not. No one, other than the Contrarian would notice any difference. And frankly, he hadn’t noticed any change. I just know that I began to feel these moments of utter “who cares” that would flit through my mind. I could and am able to shake it off and continue, but they are coming by more often and that’s a warning to adjust things again.

It’s just that life seems a little grayer than it should be. The news is a downer, the Internet stories are a downer, the weather is a downer. Are you gloomy yet? Anyone who has depression understands, it seems that you must struggle to make yourself do the things that you used to do with either dispassionate ease or with delight. Everything gets harder. The luster dims on all that normally brings joy.

Mostly I guess I’m reaching out to ask what coping mechanisms work for you. I know a not insignificant number of our blogging community suffers from various depressive like states, and we humans are incredibly creative in finding ways that solve our problems. I guess I’m creating a virtual self-help clearing house here.

So I’d like to hear your tips for pushing away the blues. I guess that I’m discovering that with depression, you can’t just create a world that solves the problem. It’s a fluid illness and requires adaptation over time. The routine that worked yesterday is the demon that makes my world look monochromatic today. It’s a good thing to know, and I’m glad that I have realized that.

Now I need to look at new solutions to old problems. Perhaps we, in our struggles, manage to reach out and help each other. I like to think we do.

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