Sunday, December 16, 2007

Vicious Cycles

(note that these are not viscous cycles, even when runny noses are involved)

I taught my dogs that my clearing my throat is often a good clue that they need to reconsider their current behavior. If Sleek is thinking about chasing the neighbor's cat, then she had darn well better think about staying where she is. If Fluff is thinking about barking at somebody walking down the street, she gets to think about how golden silence really is.

Now I have a cold that has settled into my chest. Now I have to really clear my throat for physical reasons, not just canine behavioral ones. Now my dogs have decided that throat clearing is not a significant event. Now what do I use for a warning signal?

December depression is an extremely vicious cycle. You know, it does feel viscous as well. I feel like I'm walking (on a good day) through a very thick, sticky, nasty mess. I like molasses or else I'd use it as an analogy for the fluid. Maybe this is dark Karo corn syrup in December. I'm semi-paralyzed by this depression. I can get things done for other people, meaning I'm going on my pet-sitting visits. I just can't do much for myself. My slippers are still unknit, bills are not always getting paid on time, papers are not filed so I can find the freakin' bills, and the house is a disaster area. My diet (never good) has gone to hell in a very fast handbasket, and I'm not doing much to clear up my cold. Fine.

Unfortunately, I have this little cognitive dissonance from my upbringing that means I can't ask for help unless I'm strong enough to not need it. When I'm depressed, I feel needy and that no one else needs to be subjected to a depressed kabbage, so I avoid people. Then I get lonely, which is depressing, especially near the holidays. Hell, it's damn near unAmmurican to be lonely during the godly holidays of excessive spending, eating, and getting together with people. Which means I have to hide that I'm alone which means I must become invisible which means hermitting more than usual.

I try to avoid the holidays as much as possible. I went through a period of being a pleaser who tried to keep my family as happy as possible during the holidays. I think this led to no one in my family, and possibly my friends, to really know who I am. That led to a series of Christmas gifts I found devastating in their deviation from what I would want. I wondered if any of these people had any clue who I was or am. After blowing up a few times (including my memorable use of the F-word at the Christmas dinner table at my parents' house -- to the best of my knowledge, I'm the only one of us who ever did that -- such an award -- too bad more of the sibs weren't home to hear it), I decided to start avoiding holidays.

Then I get pissed and afraid that I'm turning into my mother. I proceed to act even more like her by avoiding people because I'm afraid I'll act like her around them, which is not nice and not lovable. If any more people stop loving me, I will completely run out of people who do love me. Not that I don't feel suspicious about the ones who do love me because they're obviously crazy if they love someone like me. The dogs are simply trapped by biology -- they NEED someone to love, and I'm the one most consistently available and I control their access to other people.

Meanwhile, back to the vicious cycles. Depression fuels itself. I get up later, when the (nominal) sun is already up, so I don't spend time in front of my lightbox (Fluff is happy because those lightbox sessions are most-likely-times-for-Fluff-grooming which she hates). I'm running later, so I don't go exercise. Food becomes problematic when running late, too, so decent nutrition goes out the window. Sugar, on the other hand, comes a-running. I'm sensitive to sugar -- I can spike and crash pretty easily, and it sure doesn't help cold-recovery. Let's summarize: poor self-care.

Now, off to what I CAN do. I started on St. John's Wort today. Although that stuff is supposed to take weeks to have a visible effect, I find the tinctures can kickstart me almost instantly. If it's placebo effect, I don't give a rat's ass. It works. I'm going to finish this post, feed and potty the dogs, and go to bed. Now.

Thanks for reading.


Mrs. G. said...

I am so sorry that you are in the dark ass place known as depression. Having been there, I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.
Mother hen has some suggestions for you:

If you must hide, try to get out and socialize with another human at least once or twice this week. Go see a movie. Force yourself into it all the way to the car and then start the ignition and drive.

Add a little protein to your sugar. Nuts, turkey, whatever.Sit in front of the lightbox when you eat it.

If you can afford it, get a massage. I am always amazed how much better I feel afer one...and you can't find anyone more self conscious about their body than me, so if that is an issue, don't let it stop you. A pedicure works too.

Hot baths, a soft robe and a good book.

A brisk walk if you can't get out for that run.

Fish oil capsules...take them all year.

Read the book When Your Body Gets the Blues. Google it, there is a website.

If it gets much worse, go to a doctor and explore medication. I have been taking something for the last ten years, and it has changed my life. Also, if you are having trouble sleeping, ask about a sleep aid. I am convinced that insomnia spurs my blues on.

Keep writing.It helps to get some of the crap out of your brain.

Remember you are not a loser, you are not a bad are depressed.

Feel better, friend.

Anonymous said...


I'm Joy, don't know if you remember me... it's been a long time since I had a blog.

It is terrible to feel such deep need and have no way of meeting it. It is real. While I cannot say I know what you feel, I have felt similiar feelings.

I live alone. I've just had surgery and have no family and only a couple of friends (two, to be exact that I have already asked for help several times and I am not close enough to them to ask for more...) to help me. Having to ask for help ds is so darn frustrating!

I thought when I had surgery on my ankle that my life would shrink down to a better size. Meaning, I could handle being alone because I just needed to take care of my ankle.

BUT the need for others became more acute and more painful to even think of asking anyone.

I'll tell you what I am doing. This Thursday and Friday I am ringing bells for the Salvation Army. I had to find a place I could sit but I am looking forward to getting out. I never knew that just being able to get out of the house would be such a challenge and that overcoming it would mean so much!

Btw, I'm able to do this because I was accepted for the paratransit bus with my city bus system and can now get around without someone having to come get me!

I'm hoping you can find a way to overcome your obstacles to finding what you need. I am writing this to say, you are not alone.