There are so many things coursing through my mind that sometimes it’s hard to keep up and get it all out. It’s been going on longer, but the last four weeks have been a really bad place for me, throwing me, well, not throwing me, but sliding me back towards the beginnings of my depression and I do not like it. I noticed that something was off, but as per my custom chose to ignore it while at the same time being hyperaware of it. When my friend asked if I was alright and noticed that every time he called I sounded sad and asked about my mood, I realized that I wasn’t imagining what I had been seeing.
Lately doing anything is a chore. Not something like a responsibility that you know you have to do but are procrastinating doing, but an actual chore, pushing myself to, if not make dinner at least state what dinner would be and getting someone else in the family to make it. Cooking was one of the happy places that I lost when I sunk into depression and it hasn’t bounced back.
I did the cooking and baking for Christmas and my middle son is the only one who doesn’t get a store bought birthday cake because he always asks for my cheesecake (Philly 3-Step variety) and so I oblige him and did, but the daily cooking and experimenting that I was enjoying so much – baking bread, frying chicken in the newly discovered (for me) peanut oil, Pinterest recipes, caramel and ginger cookies. The love was there. The want was there. I just couldn’t get past the chore of getting up and actually doing it.
At least, we’re not eating out constantly or bringing prepared food in. That is something we definitely can’t afford to do as we struggle this year to pay the bills, some that are not always getting paid and our tax refunds going to repay friends who helped us in our time of need. There’s a lot of pasta and grilled cheese, but at least it’s getting made.
I try to have a list for each day, and those usually help, but it seems that my brain has picked up on all of last year’s coping tricks and is sabotaging them. In the Jewish faith, each year on the anniversary of a parent’s death, you’re supposed to light a memorial candle called a Yartzeit. You light it at sundown of the death day and it burns for twenty-four hours. You do not blow it out. This was something I learned when I was a child. I also learned that you never light the candle if your parents are living. I don’t know if this is religiously true or if my mother was just superstitious. I was supposed to do this on Saturday. It was written on at least two calendars. I said something to my husband on Saturday morning. And then I just forgot. It slipped my mind. Literally. I didn’t remember until I was looking at the calendar Monday morning to check the week’s schedule, and I didn’t actually remember it; I read it and had a V8 moment. I thought I would burst into tears. How could I forget my Dad?
For everything else, I’m not so much lazy or unmotivated as much as I just don’t feel it. I want to write, but if I don’t it’s alright. I want to make a phone call, but unless it is anxiety driven, I don’t until the anxiety builds to explosion levels and that is no good for either of us. I want to sit and do homework with my daughter, but if she decides to do something else, I just don’t want to be bothered, and don’t chase her down, and this is the scariest feeling of all; the not wanting to be bothered.
I’m not back in the place of completely mentally paralyzed or suicidal, and I credit that to recognizing the downward slide as well as my friend who knows me so well calling me out on some of my lethargic behavior and moods and knowing when to poke me and when to actually push.
My medication dose has been changed and I go back to the doctor in a week or so, but it doesn’t feel any different and I think it should feel a little better; just a little. The next few weeks are bringing things that are stressful and fun and I should be looking forward to them, but it’s making me feel anxious and as though I’m going to let everyone down including myself. I’m afraid to build anything up because it will be a disappointment; I’m afraid to get excited and I’m worrying over things that I really do have no control over, but they’re still there. I want to scream at some things, and I want to cry at others, and I’m trying to hold it all together so I don’t push away the people who are always there for me, who reach out and care for me, but the next few weeks….I just don’t know how to get through it and actually enjoy the parts that I’m supposed to enjoy.
This list includes Author’s Night at my daughter’s school, Free Comic Book Day, a doctor’s appointment, a therapy appointment, pay the mortgage and other bills, attend a birthday party, Mother’s Day, my oldest son’s prom, my daughter’s birthday party, visit my best friend at least four states away, Memorial Day weekend, which is also my deceased mother’s birthday and a visit from Grandma (the kids’ grandma, my mother in law). And that doesn’t include writing for my memoir workshop even though it won’t be in session and I’ll miss one session but I promised to keep up on my writing. And all of this is off the top of my head. I’m sure I forgot something. Or several somethings.
In trying to come up with some positive things to write about and ease out of the bad place, it is not easy. On a good day I’m at best a realist.
I’ve been very good since declaring my New Year’s Resolutions and my reaffirmation of much of them for Lent. I have been very good since Lent and have stuck to only two cans of soda a day with very few exceptions. I usually will drink those with meals, and I have primarily been drinking green tea with jasmine and water, the colder the better.
I have tried (and mostly succeeded) in eating oatmeal three times a week. I add a touch of brown sugar and a handful of cranberries and some milk. This really has decreased my cholesterol, and it is very filling and tastes good, and much healthier than a bagel.
I am skipping some desserts, and last night didn’t actually have dinner except for a bowl of strawberries and some sour cream, a childhood comfort food that can only be made better with sliced peaches and blueberries.
Except for three bad mornings, I have continued to attend morning Mass and have tried to add Sunday Mass into my week. If I don’t get to the church (and on the days that there are no Mass), I read the Mass in a Catholic periodical that publishes the daily Masses.
I’ve given away several sweaters that either no longer fit or that I know I will not wear again. I have a pile of baby clothes to do the same with as soon as I call the church’s office manager. We are very slowly clearing out the things that we haven’t used in years and that are taking up much needed space that can be used for other things.
I have been writing more even if I haven’t been sharing the really personal ones or the ones that need too much explaining to understand context, but sometimes (more often recently) I’ll start something and just leave it there and not go back to it.
I am not where I want to be, and I think that adds to the chemical issue of depression and brings on extra situational stress and in the place I’m in my level of tolerance and ignoring things is just non-existent so I find myself shutting down.
I also know that I can’t go back to last year; I barely lived through that. I also can’t go back decades and change decisions; I can’t return to college and choose different majors. It’s hard to move forward; though it’s not easy knowing that one changed decision could change everything now.
Or would it?
There is no way to know, but this is one of the questions that weighs heavily on my mind and in my relapse into depression and increase in anxiety, it plays over and over again as though a broken record or a film on a loop.