Friday, December 11, 2009

Keeping the Crazy Away

It's a big job this year, this staying sane.
I joke often about my seasonal depression. I guess it's one of the ways I cope -- making fun of it helps me view it as something less than what it is.
What it is is a terrifying descent down a steep slope beginning every October. I have no control over the speed at which I descend, nor do I have the power to adjust the angle or the number of bumps and curves I travel over.
For a control freak, it is an unnerving path full of treachery and doubt.
This year, as I said in my last post, it is worse. The month of November was really awful, and an old-time movie reel of moments from that month runs through my head constantly. Sometimes it's grainy, out of focus, making me wonder if my memory is accurate. Sometimes it is crystal clear -- so clear that the pain of that particular moment is fresh and my eyes sting with tears anew. Sometimes there are those funny vertical lines that make me wonder if everything is so perfectly aligned in my mind, why do I feel a little nuts?
Every day I get up and sit in front of my little blue light. It is the darkest time of year, so I am up to a half hour every day. Some days I get a small boost in the afternoon by turning it on at half strength for a few minutes.
I take my multivitamin every day, too. I am not much of a vitamin girl, preferring to consciously eat a variety of foods and many colorful fruits and veggies to get my nutrients but they have discovered that a Vitamin D supplement helps with SAD as well. So I take the big yellow pill in the hopes that I can leave the little blue pills in their bottle in the cupboard one more day.
I am seeing a grief counselor, too. Once a week, I go into her office and pour out my soul. It feels self-important and self-indulgent but I do it anyway.
This week I saw the counselor on Monday. I was a basket case all day Tuesday. Wednesday I was hoping to begin an "up" swing but the fight I posted about dragged me down and yesterday was a loss as well.
I am grateful for my understanding husband, who is not pushing me to be "better" any faster than I can, and for my kids, who see my eyes well up with tears and immediately offer to make me a cup of tea, give me a hug, or just sit next to me in sympathetic silence.
And like in years past, I am determined to get through it. It may have me on my knees one day, or flat on my back in bed another, but I WILL get up again. I WILL keep trying. I WILL NOT let this damn demon win, no matter how hard it fights for my soul.
I know some of you out there are worried. I won't share all of this journey with you. I need to keep some of it to myself. But I promise I am doing all I can to keep the crazy away, and I will update periodically (though I will feel pretentious and self-important while I do it).
I am going to get through it. I always do. I'll use my light, my family, my vitamin, my friends, a glass of wine here and there, a box of chocolate; I'll make stuff like scrapbook pages and exploding boxes, I'll go to parties if I'm invited and I will keep the traditions of the holiday season, though they are hollow for me this year. I will remind myself that above all, my kids deserve a mom who is there for them and my husband deserves a wife who is a partner and equal, not a burden or a drain of energy.
That is my mantra right now: I WILL.
So be it.

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