I am depressed.
There, I said it. Or rather, typed it. At this moment I am also looking over my shoulder, afraid someone will see what I wrote, afraid someone I know will read this and gasp with shock. They will point their fingers at me and cover their mouths in horror as if I have just contracted some horrific jungle disease. I am more frightened to publish this than I would be to bungee jump from the Empire State Building in a saran wrap thong. Actually, yes, let’s do that thong thing instead.
This post was supposed to be about knitting, or how much I am looking forward to the upcoming year, or how great my holidays were. I wanted to be able to tell you those things. But I wouldn’t be keepin’ it real and, as many of you know, I’m kind of a fan of keepin’ it real. So – Confession time: All I want to do right now is stuff my face with chocolate and roll up burrito-style in a big down comforter and cry myself to sleep in a dark room. But I can’t do that. I have a husband and a 6 (almost 7) year old son who depend on me to function like an adult. I cannot afford to be selfish and wallow in my self-destructive pity. Trust me. I’d love to. I’d really love to. But it’s just not possible. And actually, that’s a good thing. How can I expect to move forward if I don’t force myself to get up every day and do all the things I need to do to keep everyone else healthy and happy?
However, I am determined that there must be a way to get myself out of this d-word situation (I can’t even type “depression” without breaking out in a cold sweat). Shouldn’t I be happy and healthy too? I have tried medication and therapy (my insides are on puree mode as I confess this). They work. They really do. But I want to try it on my own this time. And I think this year should be about me. It sounds selfish to write that, but if I am barely functioning on this planet, what kind of life is that? What kind of mother and wife would I be if I was just going through the motions every day? That’s what I’ve been doing and it’s getting pretty old.
I know you’re asking me, “So, smart ass. Just how are you going to do that?” I don’t really know yet. I do know that many doctors and scientists have been touting exercise as a natural anti-depressant, sometimes going so far as to say it works better than medication. I know I feel better when I exercise. So step 1: get some exercise.
I’ve heard good things about meditation too. This one makes me roll my eyes a bit, but I have an incredibly skeptical, cynical, male friend who has actually tried it and claims it works. If he says it works than I’m guessing it’s the friggin’ holy grail I’ve been looking for. I also know that clutter, unfinished projects, disorganization in the home, can all contribute to stress and anxiety. This is a problem I feel I’ve discussed often here at the blog. I’ve been working steadily over this past year to let go, let go, let go. It’s hard, but I’m getting better at it. I read everything I find on the subject and am constantly re-homing or donating things. There is always more to do and I plan to keep going. Just this morning I got on my new iPad I received for Christmas and downloaded several podcasts. A couple of them were just for fun, but I found a few that I thought might at least give me something to think about as a way to reinforce the habits I’m trying to establish this year as I make my way to a better existence. If any of you have listened to “Good Life Project”, “The Minimalists Podcast” or “The Hilarious World of Depression” I hope you’ll let me know what you think!
This will be a long process I fear, this road to well-being. I hope I will not become some annoying evangelist or exercise freak, that you will continue to come here for more than just my boring discussions on mental health (because I now dye yarn – squeee!). But I cannot promise I won’t sneak in a progress report here or there. This summer I found out that a woman I’ve known since college as a fierce, intensely self-sufficient, strong, intelligent woman whom I admired very much, has been battling depression for a very long time. I was shocked yes, but not because I was horrified or felt she was a pariah with a frightening contagious disease. I was shocked because I would never have guessed that someone as amazing as her could have been reduced to the hopelessness and helplessness I feel every day. For her to announce this, on Facebook, to remove the stigma for others gave me the strength to allow me to admit it to myself. And maybe if I can admit it to you, I can give you the strength you need to face it if you are struggling too.
So Happy New Year to you! Because, yes, 2017 will be happy. It better be, or there’ll be no one to blame but myself.