I had a cheery recipe and photo all ready to go. I decided not to post it today. I am taking a big risk here, instead. I will be vulnerable.
The title of my post is not referring to any weather report. I am talking about my January mood. Since January 2, I have been depressed. I have always hated January, but this year has been the worst ever. I used to think it was the post holiday blahs. I thought it was about cold weather. This year I figured out that I grieve in January. I have cried most days, and slept at least 3-4 hours a day more than normal. I was considering medication. I keep thinking about that Cymbalta commercial that says, "Where does depression hurt?" EVERYWHERE.
Here is a list of depression symptoms from the Cymbalta website:
*Loss of interest
*Trouble sitting still
*Hard to concentrate
Hard to remember
*Hard to make decisions
*Trouble falling asleep
*Waking too early
Lack of appetite (I wish!)
Weight loss (yeah, right...)
*Irritable (just ask Brad)
*Lack of energy
Thoughts of death (it wasn't THIS bad!)
Thoughts of suicide (no way, I'm a good Catholic girl!)
I marked the ones I've been having with an *. I guess (OK, I KNOW, remember, I am a therapist...) having 18 out of 23 symptoms is bad.
This January, I figured out I needed time to grieve losses...lots of them. Bad things have happened to me in Januarys past. I have been grieving losses of people, of dreams, of expectations. I miss my parents. I miss the babies I lost. Each year I think, I would have/should have had a 16 and 21 year old. My life would be very different. This last Christmas was tough, and not joyful. Just about veryone I know had reuinions with children or grandchildren, or siblings, or nieces or nephews, or parents. Grown kids were coming home for the holiday visits. Family traditions continue. Brad and I are childless orphans. While I certainly know all families are not happy at the holidays or at other times, it sure seems wonderful if you don't have one. Family events, birthdays, weddings, babies... We go to others', but don't have our own. I worry about the future and being older and without family.
Maybe I needed my own pity party. The economy sucks. I am making less than half of what I earned a year ago. I definitely know money does not buy happiness, but it does help distract! I have cut back on every discretionary expenditure. Pretty crappy time financially.
Most days, I tried. I got up, got dressed, and did what had to be done. I slapped a weak smile on my face. Other days, I didn't do as well. I took 4-5 hour "naps". I didn't take a shower if I didn't have to work or go anywhere. I didn't want to see people. I avoided social interactions. I bitched and moaned if I had to go somewhere. I bitched and moaned if I had nowhere to go. The smallest tasks and errands seemed too much. I rewarded myself with sleep or food. I did not share with friends. They chalked it up to "January Blues". Friends can mean well, but get uncomfortable, and don't know what to say. They want to change the subject, or make you laugh, or have you "get over it" and be your usual cheery self. Sometimes they can even unintentionally make it worse by a lack of empathy. Dark moods seem contagious.
Now that I read back what I have written, it sounds worse. I did not miss any days of work, my house is clean, and everything got done. I painted some watercolors, went to my book clubs, and we had dinner every night. I have a sense of humor. Life goes on. If you saw me in January, you probably wouldn't know anything was wrong. You might think I was having a "bad day".
I think/hope the worst is over. Every day, I count my blessings. I have a wonderful, supportive and very patient husband who understands. I have great friends, and a cozy comfortable home. I am healthy. We are going to Italy in June. I am very happy with our new President. I have everything I need.
I know I am a strong person, and I can "snap myself out of this". I needed time to mourn in order to heal a little and move on. I can see, though, how people with little support and fewer resources and coping skills can be overwhelmed by depression. It also has a chemical component, and we know it is a very real disease (that is treatable).
I also know this is temporary. I know what I need to do. I need to get some exercise and eat healthier (all the usual New Years stuff that I am a month behind on...). If I don't feel better soon, I am not afraid to ask for help. I know all the right people.
I have started another project, and I am painting. Yesterday, I helped rescue a lost dog, and helped a friend. I need to get over the "all about me" of being sad, and go back to seeing what I can do for others. I got my haircut (finally). I am very excited about the upcoming Slow Bowl weekend. I think a good dose of friends and hugs is just what I need. The weather is warming up. The flowers are blooming. Spring is coming. The dark clouds are lifting. Now I will be brave and hit the "publish" button.