It’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.
Billie Greenwood said:
I too suffer from SAD. The main reason I can look forward to returning to the war zone of El Paso/Juarez is that the days are sunny and bright there through the winter. I’ve done the St. John’s Wart thing up here in IA, coupled with melatonin to get through the winter. I notice the waning of the daylight already this fall; we’re less than a month away from the equinox. Exercise helps me–walking outdoors, particularly. Thanks for sharing. I love your articulate narrative, Sherry.
I intend to continue to walk every day as best I can through the winter. I am hoping that that will help. This lousy weather has not helped that’s for sure. I too see the days shortening, and I am not looking forward to those dark late afternoons again so soon..
I so hear you. The winter looms ahead like a dreaded monster, casting a shadow over the present. I envision the long, dark days stuck in the house (after spending long dark days stuck in the office). No trips to the Adirondacks, no respite from being indoors. (I am not an outdoor winter sports enthusiast). Driving in the rain, the snow, the sleet. Wearing heavy clothing, coats, boots. Hate all of it.
And this is me ON Prozac. I don’t even want to remember what it was like before. I have no desire to wean myself off of it, wish I’d been on it all my life. That said, I still get more down in the winter than the summer. I’ve considered getting those lights that are supposed to emulate daylight. Haven’t tried it yet though.
I do find if I go to a sunny place for vacation in mid-winter it helps me get through it and makes it more bearable.
Maui, Oh gosh I in no way mean to demean drugs. I just can manage, and once weaned, I can’t bear thinking of going through that again! My doctor didn’t feel I needed them, and frankly the cost was prohibitive for me. I am all for medication for depression if it is necessary.
Mine tends to be mild and more seasonal for sure. I’m just noticing some mild sadness, and have learned to act quickly when I do see symptoms.
I’ve thought about the full spectrum lamp though. I think that might be worth examining. I think a grow light is probably enough.
Anthony Kalnoky said:
Really appreciate all your postings, y’all! Sharing is a great thing.
Sherry, I don’t have a routine. except a few basics like Church. I do the 3 laundries whener there’s enough.
Sunshine is the best antidote to the blues, especially if there’s something tyo do outside, Like hike, Walk.
Sherry, newshound as I am I heard on NPR that RNC Chairman Steele is complaining that Government ‘got into postal work’!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Perhaps he is not educated enough that Postal work is Always Federal Government; and Highly efficient, costing about 1/4 as much as the rediculous Private Postals, who charge Twice, 3 times for Express deliver, only 5 days a week. That leaves almost half the week inoperational. I’ll take Express Mail, Priority Mail Only.
We are still in the Republican Agenda, in which anything Government is evil, bad, Socialist.
Despite the fact that Medicare, Medicaid, VA Health are considered The Model Ideal. Which is who they are labeled Nazi, etc, etc.
lol, Sherry, you can Conquer the Blues with your great Humor!.
And so many of us Await Your, and now Contrarians’ Blogs! Thanks, guys!!!!
Chin up. Go for the Sunshine: Free, Natural Vitamin D!
Do you garden, Sherry?
Change of Pace, Sunshine, Humor, Gardening. Fall planting time.
You and Contrarian are a CARD! Thanks!
Your ideas are good ones Anthony. Sunshine and exercise!
And Steele, well he is a bit of a buffoon isn’t he? I don’t think anyone pays much attention to him at this point.
Thanks for your warm enthusiasm
Pat - Arkansas said:
Down in the dumps? My “cure” for years is to eat Mexican food…or anything with hot-stuff in the form of capsaicin. Very effective for me.
I’ve found, over time, that salsa is less fattening than, say, a plate of enchiladas! 🙂
Pat, an interesting solution. I love mexican food so I can surely do that! I made a huge vat of Minestrone Soup for today with some nice crunchy chiabata bread. Good comfort food on a gloomy day!