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