Straight Arrow Hits Bottom

This post is spinoff of  Nostalgia.  I mention a straight arrow guy who now is in the marijuana business in Colorado, where pot is legal.

I called him Juan, not his real name.  When I first met him, I felt as if he was a male version of myself.  We were both a bit socially awkward and shy.  Of course back then in my college student days I would never labeled myself as socially awkward.  Our parents expected us to travel a narrow path.  No room for errors.  Juan had much to compete against.

Juan was the youngest of five.  There was maybe 15 years between Juan and his older siblings. They’d graduated college. One was a dentist, another a doctor.  So starting college, he knew he’d better aim high.  In addition to getting a degree, he was in ROTC while in college, and after graduating became an officer in the military.

People can hit bottom at any time in their lives.  Just like many of my friends, Juan successfully transitioned from college life to adult life.  While my friends seemed to be having the time of their lives I was spinning my wheels, struggling to stay afloat.  I’d dropped out of college, was officially diagnosed with depression.  My parents would disown me for this or that.  It seems surreal now to think about it.  I would crawl myself out of the black hole and rebuild my life.

As I saw my friends, Juan, and my sister successfully navigate their lives, it didn’t occur to me that they would have their own versions of hitting bottom later.  I knew I wasn’t the only person to hit a speedbump in their young adult lives.

Hitting bottom….people often think of alcoholism when they hear that term.  My sister and other people I knew would blow up their lives in that way in their thirties and forties.

I never would have expected Juan to hit bottom.  He would have been the last person on the list of one thousand to mess up his life. Juan and I went on a few dates.  There was a spark there but it was never there at the same time.  Plus we were socially awkward and new in the world of dating.  Except for the fact that he was Presbyterian and not Catholic, he was as close to the perfect boy to my parents as I could possibly get.

Juan married a beautiful, smart woman.  I didn’t think much about him until years later.  I’d heard that he blew up his life, gotten kicked out of the military and was divorced.  Later I heard he was in the marijuana industry and remarried.  I saw some pics of him with his wife online.  He looks happy and appears to have rebuilt his life again.  It is a different path from where he started, I’m sure.

He’d be the last person I’d expect to be involved with marijuana, who knew.  Marijuana is not for me, in that regard I am a nerdy straight arrow.  If it works for him though, great.

As I’ve written about before, my sister has battled alcoholism for a long time.  What makes some people struggle at the bottom, and others rebuild their lives .  I wish I knew the answer.pexels-photo-726478.jpeg

Puzzle Pieces

IMG_0936It is mid February.  It is still cold but the sunlight stays just a little bit longer each day.  I can feel the darkness of winter losing its grip on Mother Nature.  I bundle up and head outside into the sunshine.  Of course the sunshine always deceives you when you are indoors that it warmer until you open the door.  Once I am outside I feel the sun penetrating right through me to bust through the ancient cobwebs in my brain.

That inner urge to hibernate through the cold months is starting to leave.  There is a hopefulness, a joie de vivre, that I have not felt for a while.

There is a question, a missing puzzle piece calling my name.  I’m not sure what it is but I must find it.

The quest for the missing puzzle piece comes to me in a dream.  I am walking up a path in the forest.  Something beckons me to keep climbing.  Something elusive like a delicate butterfly or a mighty hawk.  I’m not sure what the answer will be but I know I must continue climbing up the path to find it.  I hope it is joyful, like a waterfall or a patch of delicate wildflowers.

I try to translate the dream into something more tangible.  I’m not quite there, but I know I must keep searching.bamboo-damyang-sunshine-54601.jpeg

Empty Spaces, part two

Yesterday I wrote about the empty spaces of time in my life, times in which I sometimes feel uncomfortable in because I haven’t always a concrete plan of what I should be doing.

I was thinking since I wrote this post that during these empty spaces I am alone with myself…giving me more time to ruminate about how I could better myself.   Maybe these empty spaces of time give me trouble because I still have yet to be at peace with who I really am.   But I know there are ways I can improve…why don’t I just go to what I need to do…instead of hating myself for not doing it(I’m talking about exercise here).

Next year at this time I’ll be making dinner for 3 instead of 4, since my daughter will be away at college.  I often think about how life will be different.  Life will be a little bit less busy.  What will I do with those empty spaces next year?  And what will my husband and I do after the youngest one graduates?   There I go worrying about years into the future when I just should figure out a plan for today.

What do I do to make myself comfortable with me?  Perhaps that sounds strange.    Thanks for reading my semi-coherent ramblings.

Empty Spaces

For the last 17+ years, my life has been structured around parenting, marriage and my job.  In my work there is plenty of structure to keep me going.  I’m not sure I could ever be the self-employed sort, I am a terrible procrastinator.  Outside of work, family life keeps me pretty busy with laundry, making meals, chauffeur duties and all of those other tidbits of family life.

There is a part of me that craves the downtime though, perhaps to take a nap or have a bit of time alone.  It is those empty spaces of time, though that sometimes give me the most trouble.  Should I be reading a book?  Going to the gym?  Surfing the net?  Napping? There is often the conflicted feelings of feeling I should do something, but wanting to do absolutely nothing at all.

If I manage to write a post every day in November(as has been my goal) it will be a bit of small victory for me.  I’m not always good at making a goal and following through with it.  Maybe I should be inspired to set some smaller goals and trying to follow through with them for the month of December, just to show myself I can actually do it.  I know my lack of direction in this part of my life probably contributes to my depression in a way.

Making a goal to get to the gym in December on a regular basis would be a good start.  Heaven knows the time for outside exercise is now past…at least for me.  Seeing results from making a small change such as going to the gym would be a good thing, it would boost my mood in preparation of the after Christmas slump I usually feel.

Here’s to turning the empty spaces in my life into something with more meaning.

Walk On By

One of the things that seems to exacerbate my depression is the my tendency to get trapped in situations that will put me in a bad mood. These situations might not always be obvious to those around me. Letting these situations get into my head sort of lets the bad mood snowball.

I’m getting better and recognizing though when it is just better to avoid getting enmeshed in a pit of drama and just walk on by. Continue reading “Walk On By”

More Musings on Depression

I sometimes read posts from the “depression” tag on wordpress.  There is a lot of darkness and pain in the words shared there.  Sometimes I  guess I am hoping for just a tidbit that will help me just a bit more in this journey.

Sometimes you’ll find posts that don’t seem to really fit into the depression tag though.  Posts which are basically scammy advertisements for some sort of product to miraculously rid you of your depression.  Or posts just hoping to get more clicks.

I can do without many of the religious posts on depression.  Please don’t tell me it is a problem of the spirit, that is I just “take every thought captive”, I’ll be cured.  There is a certain contingent of Christianity that seems to have a big problem with medication to help depression…quite odd.

I think my mood is much better.  I am angry about something at work though, something that won’t be solved.  It is hard to stop myself from ruminating excessively though, so that it does not feed more negative thoughts.

Depression, part two

I’m going to ask my doctor for an increase in my dosage of antidepressant at my next visit.  Oddly though, when I do this I always procrastinate.  I don’t procrastinate because of what the doctor’s reaction might be.  The more depressed I am the more it is hard to recognize I am not taking care of myself in the best way that I could.  In my mind making the request becomes something agonizingly hard.  When I am more depressed I tend to avoid things that make me uncomfortable.

A Facebook friend recently posted some thoughts on her experience with depression.  I found that very brave and courageous.  I can’t let people know though.  They must think I have everything under control.  I think this need for people to think I am in complete control stems from growing up in the dynamics of having an alcoholic parent.  I won’t post my friend’s exact words here, but I found myself nodding in agreement. She posted something about how doing something simple sometimes feels like a herculean task.  Sometimes I feel like I am made of lead, just the very effort of swinging my legs out of bed seems monumental.  Long before I ever thought I was depressed I remember the feelings of being made of lead.  I supposed then I chalked it up to laziness.

I had some flickers of sunshine in my day yesterday.  Seeing my son and his friends acting silly.  Sitting around the dinner table, sharing a meal. Of course the dog always makes me smile.  She looked at me in a pleading way and got me to take her for a walk on a beautiful fall day. I know I can do better though.

There is a new job posting at work.  The hours would be less than ideal, and I probably won’t pursue it for that reason.  Half of my brain says this is something I should try.  The other half though, the one ruled by depression says learning the ropes of a new position will be uncomfortable, that it might be hard.

Depression

They say write about what you know.  Depression is something I definitely know about.  I rarely talk about it though.  My husband knows.  My doctor knows.  Otherwise I keep it inside.  There is a part of my personality that thinks it needs to show the world all is shiny and bright.

I’ve taken antidepressants on and off my entire adult life.  I’ve done counseling a couple times.  Next time I see my doctor I am going to ask her for an increase in my dosage.  Winter always seems to be harder for me.  I can already feel the effects of the decreasing sunlight.  I am feeling like I want to get into a ball under the covers and hibernate, and that is about right where my energy level feels today.

I feel like I am on a solitary island.  The island represents normalcy. The surrounding water represents the forces that want to pull me into a depressive state.  The island seems to be shrinking.  On most days I have a toe or a foot in the water.  The sea of depression colors how I look at the world.  While everyone else is happy, there is a part of me always trying to pull my foot out of the water to experience the same happiness they feel.

The sea of depression includes the influences of my family of origin.  Of course they aren’t responsible for how I feel.  But because they are always miserable, they’d like someone to join them.  I’ve been dealing with this struggle more in the past few weeks.

The sea of depression slows me down.  Once I get my foot in the water, I feel like I am always struggling to get out of quicksand.

Sometimes the fake it until you make it approach works for a while.  Of course I try all of the nonpharmaceutical approaches…sunlight and exercise.  I feel weak when I stumble across the writings of those who believe such medications are unnecessary.  I feel weak anyway, because if I really tried hard enough, I could just snap out of it, couldn’t I.