For more than half my life, my winters (specifically January and February) have been plagued with a diagnosed bout of depression. It hangs on, unwelcome, like the cloying scent of decay, and is terribly annoying to boot. My physical body aches and spasms, my sleep & eating patterns go out the window. I become irritable and moody.
Knowing that this is a biological cycle, I do what I can to fight it. Try to watch what I eat and drink, keep an eye on whether or not my response to any stimulator is ‘overly dramatic’ or otherwise unwarranted. I don’t like to think of myself as a depression “sufferer” but more one who trudges through the slime and muck and arrives eventually on the other side.
However, in the last few years, my winter visitor has come hand in hand with a new friend, Paranoia. I find myself questioning motivation for each comment addressed to me, as well as constantly checking myself in the mirror for what may have gone horribly wrong since last look. (and yes, I'm speaking of something more than just fresh zits or spinach in my teeth.) Each car behind me is either ‘undercover police’ or ‘intentionally harassing me’. Hang ups on the phone are stalkers trying to find me. Each ache and pain is sign and symptom of some incurable malady. My emails are being monitored; my bank account is being secretly hacked. It’s hell on my nerves, and even more of a drain on the folks around me.
BUT… even in the darkness, there are moments of light and joy. Just last weekend, Tag and I decided to celebrate his birthday with a visit to our local zoo. It was rainy and cold, and thus there were few folks meandering about. We headed to the snow leopard cage, hoping that the darkened winter weather would have aroused them from their usual mid-day slumber. Sure enough, they were not only alert and out in the open, they were in the mood to play. Upon hearing us approach, one of the young males climbed to a vantage point in his habitat and readied a pounce. Seeing him, I dove behind a bush and rustled the dry leaves on the ground. Intrigued, we watched each other for a moment before I sprang out and ran down the path. Inside his enclosure, he ran the corresponding length of his cage. I doubled back and so did he, and when we reached our starting point, I flopped slightly sideways in submission, and he did similarly, with a big cat “chuff”, clearly proud of himself.
The moment lightened my spirit and reminded me that this life I’m currently living…. 9 – 5 at a desk 5 days a week, is not one that I’m truly meant for. I need outside time and interaction with animals. I want to attend school again, and move forward in a way that feels so fitting. I want to talk with the animals, walk with the animals… play hard and live big. Perhaps when I finally fully inhabit the life I’m intended for, these winter doldrums will ease their hold on me.
Living is achieved in the same way that depression is conquered- one day at a time. Moving ever forward, not sitting and waiting it out. Fighting and winning small battles each day. Getting up and getting dressed, when you really just want to pull the covers over your head. *sigh* WOW… this little pep talk is nauseating even me.
What can I say? It’s January, almost February… and I’ve never really liked that time of year. I’m grouchy and nasty-tempered, in pain and in a lousy mood. However, I remain ever thankful for a love that stands beside me, and pouncy moments at the zoo.
Peace out my lovlies.... go do something fun with your day!