(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.