Trying To Pull Up My Socks

It’s a grey day, and as I drink my tea while watching the gold finches and chickadees flit to and from the bird feeder, I know I have no reason to feel the way I do. But the feeling is there, and I have struggled with it all week. The heavy, sad, bottom-of-the-well feeling that I recognize as my version of depression. It also manifests as lack of motivation and a tight dull ache through my neck and shoulders and head.

Everything is hard this week. My focus is off. Yoga is difficult. I keep losing my place. The piano brings no joy as I have realized that I will never be able to learn as quickly and as easily as I did in my youth. Learning requires more focus and dexterity. My current jigsaw is not keeping me on track the way jigsaw puzzles normally do. It hasn’t been a great week weather wise so walking has been limited. And this is the third holiday that we will be alone. 

There is an underlying fatigue for everyone these days. We thought we would be through COVID by now. Although my retired empty-nest lifestyle has made it easier for me than most. I feel this fatigue. And because I don’t think I have a right to, I also feel guilt. With guilt comes disappointment. With disappointment comes depression. 

I have suffered from depression all my life. Or at least since my teens. Long before I actually knew what it was. It is not life-threatening by any means, but it is there. It started with severe PMS where I could be stressed and in a state of get-myself-fired out of control or just totally down for two weeks before my period, which was never regular or predictable. I remember reading an article on menopause while in my twenties and being shocked that I, a relatively young woman, was displaying some identical symptoms. They got progressively worse as I aged leading up to postpartum depression after the birth of my son. In my time most doctors didn’t know that these conditions existed. I had no support system and was on my own. Neither my mother or mother-in-law had patience for such things. Hell, I had little patience for these things. I was so disappointed in myself. I had believed I was stronger, but hormones and stress would become my life-long enemies.

My way of managing has always been by pulling up my socks, trying to avoid stress and keeping myself busy. Is it the right way to deal with this? I don’t really know. And I would be lying if I said it was always successful. But it is my way; and because I don’t want to take medication, it is the only way. So I go through the motions of trying to make a very quiet holiday for two special by making hot cross buns, baked stuffed potatoes and, if I am lucky, a successful coconut cream pie. The Doc has decided to cook on Sunday and for that I am thankful. I don’t cook well when I am down so at some point things will start to implode when I am in the kitchen. Hopefully not before the completion of the pie. In the end, we will sit down for a couple of very good meals, and we will try to be as normal as possible given the circumstances. I will drink some wine and watch some baseball and eventually this downtime will pass as it always does. Another thing that has helped in the past is to write it all down. So here I am, living in the moment by writing down my thoughts and sending them out into the world to expedite the process.

Thank you for reading.

Photo: Erik McLean, Unsplash

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25 thoughts on “Trying To Pull Up My Socks

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this Jenn! I think it really does make a difference when we share our inner struggles, after so many generations trying to keep it to themselves. You’re helping to break that pattern. I am sorry you are not feeling great these days. I have slipped in and out of a form of this since January. We are exhausted. All of us. I hope it helps to remember that – it does help me. Take great care of yourself! 💕

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Absolutely! What works for me is finding and taking joy in the small things. It’s cliche but it does work. This past month it was the purchase of a $40 indoor greenhouse to start seeds. It just made me unreasonably happy! And still is. 😘

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Thanks for sharing your honest observations. You will be helping many who are feeling the same way! Being empty nesters does make the holidays lonesome. Hopefully in a few months things will level out. Happy Easter!!!🐣💐

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for sharing and being so open. Depression is a sneaky demon, to be sure, and I’m sorry you’re dealing with it now. My depression very nearly ended my life in my 20s, and nobody even knew I was struggling. I’m a different person now, but I know the demon can appear in some form, without cause or notice, at any time. Be gentle with yourself.

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  4. I’m no expert, but I think expressing your feelings is one of the best things you can do. It seems when we show our vulnerabilities and struggles, others can identify and express their own challenges. While we never like to see anyone down, somehow there is comfort in knowing that others may go through some of the same things and we’re not the only one feeling this way.

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  5. I hope your mood improves soo. I am sure the combo of COVID and the less than ideal weather the past few days has not helped. And I would think that putting your thoughts down in writing can provide some help…

    and as to the wine and baseball – that’s not a combo I have heard of 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jim. Yes it has kind of been a perfect storm for depression development. Getting things out of my head does help. Looking forward to the baseball game this afternoon. I am a late comer to the sport. Figured it out a few years ago and now I am hooked. It does go good with wine when at home with my feet up in the recliner.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow. Thank you for sharing this. Sounds all too familiar. You have hit the nail on the head and with a lot of people and definitely expressing your feelings helps. Take care and I hope this passes for you very soon xx

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  7. Wow. Thank you for sharing this. Sounds all too familiar. You have hit the nail on the head and with a lot of people and definitely expressing your feelings helps. Take care and I hope this passes for you very soon xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Pam. So nice to hear from you. Yes Just writing it down and sharing made me feel a bit better. I know there are a lot of people out there in the same situation. Hopefully everyone will get through it the best way they know how. I know it will pass.

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  8. Thank you for sharing. I went through a very bad time in my mid-fifties with menopause, underlying health conditions and depression, to the extent that I did take the medication route without which I don’t know where I would be today. But now that things have settled down I take a lot of pleasure in reading and walking. One step at a time.

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    1. Thanks for touching base. So glad medication worked for you. I actually was on Estrace for several years and loved the calm state that it provided but I tend to be prone to side effects so went off it. We all just keep moving forward doing whatever works, which is different for each of us. Like you said, one step at a time.

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  9. I don’t think of myself as being depressed. I was clinically depressed as a young adult. I have had episodes throughout the years but like you always try to pull up my socks. When I feel myself wallowing I allow myself between 24 & 48 hours depending on the reason to just walkie then pull myself out of it.
    Last year when life was locked down I didn’t think I was depressed but I actually think looking back that I was just refusing to acknowledge it. I was waiting for much needed surgery that was cancelled twice in the spring before going under the knife in August.
    I threw myself into gardening (very limited) and knitting for my young granddaughter.
    I consider myself not to be depressed or happy but resigned. I have to agree that writing does help. I began my current blog about 8 years ago but in recent years didn’t write anything because I couldn’t think of topics to write about. This year I am just writing anything even if it’s just a few lines about my day. It does help me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think depression is different for everyone. It does come and go. These days I may get down a couple of times a year but it is never so severe that I can’t cope. I can usually shake it off within a week. I am much better now. Hopefully things will get back to normal and things can move forward for all of us.

      Liked by 1 person

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