Four, three, two, one…

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Goodbye 2016.  Good Riddance!

 

I usually look forward to the New Year, but not like this.  2016 has literally kicked my ass, and I’m counting the minutes til it’s history.  What I find particularly interesting, is how many friends, family and even social media acquaintances are voicing similar sentiments.  Personal issues, public concerns, the loss of so many iconic people – all of the above – it seems as if so many are ready to kick this year to the curb and are hoping that 2017 brings much needed changes or at minimum a restart.

I don’t want to rehash all the negativity of the year – all that has been taken or lost so I’m looking at the bright spots. And even though they may have been dampened by the negative, the bright shines through –

I feel as if I’m ‘getting there’ with the depression.  I’m still not happy where I am, particularly with my medications, but I’m working on it.  And I can say that it’s a HUGE improvement from where I’ve been so that is all progress!  (The regimen is complicated and I think I have to accept the fact that just popping a single pill is in the past because it didn’t work.)

I’ve had people reach out to thank me for being open about my issues with Depression and for sharing both here and before, in Facebook posts.  That has been such a gift to me.  I never thought that what I was living with, struggling with would resonate with others.  I only knew that it felt like the right time to be more open and honest about it all.  Oh sure there are others who look at me as more ‘flawed’ or as if I’m fragile, but that’s ok.  I’ll never regret my decision and I hope that in some small way my words continue to provide support(Selfishly, if for no other reason, it helps me).

Other than the big D, my health and the health of my family is all solid which is a huge blessing – HUGE – as this time last year it wasn’t.  I’m hopeful that this will continue in the New Year.

My friendships have improved and have become more of a priority for me, I chalk a lot of this up to the fact that with my depression being more contained (controlled?) I’m able to reach out to those who are important to me and even meet new people and make new friends.  This has brought me tremendous happiness all through the year and I’m truly grateful and excited to see how these continue to develop, improve and evolve in 2017.

I feel like I’m also ready to dig deeper and get more involved with some causes that are important to me – particularly in light of the political developments of the year, but also in other areas (such as being ad advocate for foster kids).  I’ve started exploring some new avenues to get involved and look forward to digging in deeper shortly.

I still have many areas of my life to focus on, but I’m not overwhelmed by it all  – at least not right now.  I feel as if I’m ready to put some of those missing puzzle pieces back into play and I’m honestly excited about this.

So 2016, please leave with a whimper – you’ve done enough, taken enough.  Enter gently 2017, we need some positive energy, some renewal, just some NEW to take the edge of the year that has been.

Fa la la la la, la la la la

The holidays….That time of the year that now begins before Halloween (because, why live in the moment?) and goes til…the til part is a little fuzzy for me because there’s New Years, then football bowl games,  then the NCAA champion game that goes til sometime in the first or second week of January…

As a kid, I LOVED Christmas!  I loved the tradition of going to my Grandma Susie’s house, having Shakthe_grinchey’s Pizza (yep, pizza) and being forced to take family pictures in matching outfits that my mom had made before being sent to bed for Santa.  My Grandma lived in a small town, LaVerne, California, that had a lovely tradition of Santa, his sleigh and “reindeer” being escorted around town by the fire department (who also sponsored the event.)  Each kid got a gift bag from Santa (peanuts, perhaps a few pieces of candy and I think little games or balls as the present) and of course there were more pictures.

I’m not sure why or when my focus moved from Christmas to Thanksgiving – I know I was an adult, perhaps 15 years ago or so….but it was a tangible shift for me, and I’m still not sure why it happened.  Perhaps because I became more aware of the fact that my mom hated cooking or that I loved it.  Perhaps because I became more aware of how much my mom dreaded Christmas or that our family had become much more dysfunctional(much more than other families I’d convinced myself).  Or perhaps, it was when depression became more a part of my life.  Who knows, but it happened and the Christmas holiday became much more of a 2nd act than a headliner.  And for me, that’s where it remains.

That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy Christmas – I do.  And I can definitely say that its a much more enjoyable holiday when my niece and nephew entered the picture.  Their excitement over Santa takes me back to my own excitement for Santa (and I still have no idea how my parents did it all for 4-5 kids!)

So, sometime between all the black friday/cyber monday hoopla and the actual Christmas holiday, the bah hum bugs set in.  But, like my pal the Grinch, there’s something that I cannot put my finger on, so I say that it ALL just gets a little difficult.  It’s the month(s) long build up of all the STUFF – the in-store advertising that starts sometime around November 1, the 30+ days of the sappy Hallmark movies, the beloved cartoons (Grinch, Rudolf, Frosty), the sales and shopping and the diamond commercials and all the stereotypes of traditions that are thrown at me.  It’s this and SO. Much. More.  And THIS YEAR, it’s more than difficult, some days are whelming!

It’s the wanting to go to holiday parties, but not being able to go because depression or anxiety or both have decided to be selfish and keep me all to themselves.  Or being physically and mentally ABLE to go, but not being invited because I’d made so many excuses in the past.  It’s the pressures to bake or make even when I want to do it all. It’s the need to sleep til noon even when I know I have a stack of things I have to get to because they are time sensitive.  It’s seeing all the “perfect” moments shared by friends on the inter-web.  It’s the wanting my ‘me time’ but not wanting to be alone or lonely.  It’s being alone and lonely.  It’s feeling invisible.

I KNOW I’m not alone in these feelings.  But they’re still there.  I KNOW I’m truly not alone – my friends and family remind me so often and in so many ways that I’m not.  Yet these feelings are there and I face them, some of them.  Some I face way better than I do others – some are pushed down and will be dealt with someday…maybe.

One thing I’ve learned that I’ve needed to do, is to say (Loud and Proud) THE HOLIDAYS CAN SUCK IT!(paraphrase as appropriate)  I gave myself permission to say this – somedays, I say it multiple times a day.  Somedays maybe only once.  Somedays, not at all.  It’s ok – especially when Hallmark and it’s sister channels are showing “the puppy who found the perfect love for the distraught girl and saved the holidays” type of movies or the G-D Sales commercial is on hawking the PERFECT diamond.  (It’s also WAY ok to hide those channels from now til Valentines day!)  Humor helps me.

(The Grinch and Max are property of the brilliant and so talented Dr. Seuss aka Ted Geisel)

 

 

 

 

Hello, Again…

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December 2.  How is that possible?  It seems like only a couple of weeks ago I was volunteering for the election and totally optimistic about what lay ahead of me.  I’d seen my psych – we changed my meds and I was optimistic that by the end of the year I’d have so much to look forward to…

Today :

– I’m still reeling from the election.  No, I can’t get over it and ‘just accept it’.   I feel like I’ve been repeatedly punched in the gut and with every cabinet nominee it’s another blow.  I feel as if I live between two emotions (maybe 3) – absolute rage that we (America) let this happen.  Aren’t we better than this, don’t we deserve better?  I get it, I understand that the 48% of the country who voted for this person wanted change and were reacting to the rhetoric against my candidate, but really?  Emotion 2 is seriously fright and terror about what the next four years hold.  This isn’t just “another election” where I’m upset bc my candidate didn’t win, this is fright about what’s going to happen to my healthcare, what’s going to happen to my gay, non-white, non-christian friends, about me being a woman who feels as if she was just assaulted again, but this time on a much more visible level because the person who is President Elect is proud of being a sexual predator….I guess my third emotion is numbness.  Fortunately, I won’t let myself stay here – I can’t just be too afraid or play a victim, I won’t let myself be numb.  November was Diabetes Awareness Month, a month I am usually very involved in and I don’t think I did anything this year – for the first time in years…There are so many intersection points between diabetes and mental health (like access to healthcare, like prescription drug prices – not small things) and I feel partially, like I let myself down by not being more involved…(and if the political comments upset or offend those reading, I’m sorry – but I’m not sorry, it’s what I’m dealing with.)

– The new med, Viibryd, hasn’t panned out so well.  I’ve been at the clinical dosage for about 6 weeks and that, AHHH YES moment has not happened.  I’m still foggy, still unmotivated, still unable to concentrate and still too emotional sometimes, while being unemotional others.  I saw my wonderful doctor again this week and we’re starting something else, and I’m frankly scared that it won’t work.  That I won’t get back to how I was on the abilify and that there aren’t many options left.  She started me on Latuda which, after reading up on it, is for bi-polar depression, which I do not have.  So will this make me too flat?  will it make me ‘numb’ and unresponsive to emotions and what’s happening around me…I’m seeing my doc again in 3 weeks and she impressed upon me how important it was to stay in touch with her–to call about anything.  I will.

– Just before Thanksgiving, my sweet golden retriever couldn’t fight her bladder cancer any longer and I had to put her to sleep.  This was a week after the election so this one-two punch really hit hard.  Really Hard!  Today I picked up her ashes.  I thought it would be no big deal, it wasn’t.  Tears.  Memories.  More Tears…I still have my Hudson, who is still super clingy, missing his friend.  He brings me so much comfort – you really can’t be too sad when you have a 4 legged friend.  I’m grateful he’s here.

– And on top of all this, my work isn’t going well and when work isn’t going well that means money is tight.  Tight is a major understatement.  I’ve made myself brush off the resume(s) and looking for a part time or full time marketing gig but there just aren’t too many options right now.  I know that after next week, most businesses will slow down until new years  – I know that something will come my way, I’m just hoping that either the projects that have been stalled for months pull through or that I’m able to find a position – I know that the work will help in multiple areas, not just financially.  And I know that I’m mentally much better than I was earlier this year so that I can be able to commit to a job.

and then there’s the holidays — but I think I’ll leave that for another post.

So I guess, yes, there has been quite a bit going on since mid-October when I last sat down to write.  If I’m being honest, the act of doing this, simply writing it all down, is cathartic.  It helps.  I’m glad I’m being open, glad I’m able to be honest when for years I wasn’t because I was ashamed.  Glad I’m being open with my fam and friends and open to their  support!  Being honest doesn’t make it all better, but it helps.