Autumn

October 3, 2017

I’ve always had a hard time with autumn. I’ve described it here before.

It’s starting to be fall here – it’s still warm in the daytime most days but it’s chilly at night, dark is falling earlier, and there’s that fall smell. That smell I don’t even really know how to describe but that brings dread. Maybe only to me – plenty of people seem to love the crisp fall smell.

It’s not as bad this year. I hope that continues to be true. I feel like I have to be vigilant or it will sneak up on me.A7091F9B-0521-4173-B02A-A364E83FEA29

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A Reprieve

September 19, 2017

Something has shifted lately. I don’t know if it’s meds, therapy, prayer, or what, but I’ve been feeling… content. Maybe even joyful sometimes. And much less sorry for myself.

I went to a family event over the weekend. When I spend time with my family, I go way into self-pity mode. I’m the only adult there who’s not married, who doesn’t own a home, who doesn’t have children. Mostly, I’m just the only one alone.

But something about this time was different. I got to spend time with my nephew and nieces who I love very very much. My youngest niece just warmed up to me (she’s two and VERY picky about who she spends time with) so I got to read her books and have her sit on my lap and play games with her. My nephew and I have always had a really strong bond and even though he managed to spill a whole jar of syrup all over my lap, we still had fun.

Things feel good. The tough part is that depression waits. You don’t get cured, you get reprieves. One of the triggers that has been most consistent for me is the season change from summer to fall. So here we are on September 18, and I feel like it’s tapping me on the shoulder. I don’t want it, I don’t want anything to do with it, but there’s a reminder.


Beauty and Loneliness

July 15, 2017

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It was an extraordinarily beautiful day today. I had little work to do (summer is my lowest time, which is stressful with money but good for mental health if I don’t worry about the money) and a friend called to see if I could have lunch. I had already eaten but asked if she wanted to go to the beach at the edge of town instead.

I forget about this beach. It’s slightly over a mile from my house and is the bay, not the ocean, perfect for kids, because there are no big waves. It’s not exciting: there are no snack shops, no souvenir places, no surfing, no snorkeling. But it is the beginning of the ocean, with sand and all the ocean smells.

I brought some camping chairs and we sat for over two hours, watching kids fly kites and play in the really cold water. I was absolutely covered in greasy sunscreen but it was perfect. The temperature was not too hot but warm enough and I felt so incredibly relaxed and content. I even kept saying, “This is just perfect,” sort of feeling like saying it aloud would keep the feeling.

The friend suggested we go for ice cream after which felt like a perfect little luxury at the end of this.

Then my brain kicked in, with all of its insecurities. I started worrying that I’d never have this experience again and that somehow I “wasted” it by not appreciating it more. I worried that I’d get depressed again when summer leaves because this weather is so wonderful that it’s going to be a huge loss. I worried that I’d never have friends to travel with again, that I’d be alone forever, that nobody would remember me, that tomorrow (I have no concrete plans) will be incredibly lonely, that my dog will die, and all of a sudden, I’m at the bottom again.

By this time I was home. In my ideal world, or what I think would be normal for a lot of people, I would have been glad for a beautiful day relaxing with a friend and savored that. Instead, I’m questioning if anyone would notice if I died or disappeared and convincing myself that I’ll be lonely forever and depressed and cold once summer ends.

I feel like I’ve thrown away the gift of a wonderful day. This is NOT how I want to be. I just don’t know how to change it.

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I Want to Erase Myself

August 24, 2010

I don’t think I’ve written about this yet, but I’ve been meaning to for quite a while.  I’ve been putting it off because it sums up how I was feeling at the height (depth?) of my depression. A few years back, I heard something from a woman who had struggled with an incredible amount of abuse, alcoholism, depression, and probably more I don’t know about.  She said a lot about where she was in her journey right then and what a hard time she was having.  I don’t remember any words except for:

“I want to erase myself.”

I remember those words because she put most of my life into words.  For the vast majority of my life, I didn’t want to have things get better necessarily, or to have more friends, or to have been born into a different family, or even to kill myself.  I simply wanted to have never existed.  To be able to erase myself completely, with no trace.  I’ve always been realistic enough to know that people would miss me if I died, but erasing myself — erasing any effect I had ever had, anything I had ever done, and anyone I had ever been — seemed like the only solution.  When I was thinking and saying that I wished I was dead, I think I really meant that I wished I had never even been thought of.

I haven’t felt that way in over a year and a half and I can’t completely remember the feeling, but I can remember enough to panic.  I can remember just enough to be really profoundly sad.  And to wonder why anyone at all should have to want to erase themselves — while believing in a God who loves me.  It was too much.  It’s gone and it’s still too much sometimes.


I Survived Christmas

December 26, 2009

I survived. Holidays are often very very hard for me. Last year, I cried and cried. This year, I had less friends in town, my ex is bringing his new girlfriend to town tomorrow, and I thought it would be horrible. But it wasn’t. In fact, I felt better than I did last year, and better than I have in a long time. I had breakfast with a good friend. I brought some presents to some kids I know. I napped and I took care of four dogs (only one of them is mine, the others are visiting). It wasn’t fabulous but it wasn’t bad.

Tomorrow I have “sibling Christmas.” It will be my brother and his fiancee and my sister and her husband. And me. Singular. Again. It was easier with a boyfriend and I hate that.


Feeling Better

October 7, 2009

It’s been a rough couple of weeks and, combined with the autumn weather*, had me scared that the depression was coming back. Very scared.

But today I’m feeling better. And it used to be that “better” meant sort of numb and just not horrible. Now, better feels good. It’s strange. It’s not normal. It scares me too because it’s so new and strange.

But I’m grateful.

*I know tons of people who get depressed in the winter and early spring when it is cold, gray, rainy, etc. I don’t know anyone else who gets depressed when it’s sunny outside with the smell of fall. Everyone I know loves that. And I do too – I love the smell… but it also feels like a bad omen.


Autumn

September 20, 2009

Green Day has a song called “Wake Me Up When September Ends.” I don’t like September either. For that matter, I don’t like October or November. I would rather be woken when autumn ends completely. I don’t know why, but autumn feels bad to me.

I don’t have anniversaries of deaths in the autumn. Or anything else that I can think of. It took me a long time to figure out this pattern; I’m not sure why, since it happened every year. At least once I figured it out, I wasn’t so blindsided, but I never found a reason.

Maybe it’s the days getting shorter; I’m sure that has something to do with it. But then, why is fall harder than winter or early spring? It’s something in the feel of the air. The smell of fall – which so many people love – starts to panic me because I’m used to it bringing despair. Fall foliage, which is so beautiful, feels like a beacon of depression. It’s more than sadness; it’s loneliness, despair, dread, and hopelessness – but for no apparent reason.

This is the first year I’ve felt better at this time of year. I’m hoping that the autumn doesn’t end that. Or that my dread of what autumn brings doesn’t end that.