Friday, December 14, 2012

The holiday blues

I hesitate to write this. It's difficult, sometimes, to be raw and honest with yourself. It's even more difficult to be raw and honest with anyone who might happen upon this post. But it's also something that I think needs to be said, and needs to be shared. So here goes.

I spent the better part of this week wallowing in what I consider to be a state of  low-grade state depression. I called it "the blues", I called it "a funk", but we know what that translates to: depression. I've been prone to that horrid beast from time to time over the years, and I recognize it when it knocks on my door.

Back when I was in the early stages of divorce, my doc put me on an antidepressant to help me get through. It was a godsend; with good friends and a little chemical help, I survived that tough time. When I started exercising, my body began to offer up its own, natural assistance, so I was able to slowly wean myself off the meds. Thankfully, I've been able to regulate my moods naturally since then; I have only rare periods of feeling depressed. But this week, it hit me, head on.

I was ill-prepared for it, because hell, it's Christmas, the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! But there it was, anyway - the beast that caused me to look with disfavor upon everything. It didn't help that a trusted friend offered me unsolicited advice without bothering to ask any questions - like whether I wanted advice, or if I'd thought about things from another perspective (I had, and that knowledge would have changed the tone of the convo entirely). Anyhoo, here I was, swamped in sadness and wanting nothing more than a way to let it go.

In those moments when I felt like I'd never stop crying, I had the presence of mind to remember that those feelings would pass. I did not allow myself to go home and eat raw cookie dough, which is totally what I wanted to do. Instead, I went home and headed out for a run, in the fresh air. It helped, though I still felt weepy. It must be noted that my friends and family did (for the most part) exactly what I needed from them. They listened, made me laugh, opened up the safe airspace for the "airing of grievances", and checked in with me, offering a touchpoint of reality to ground me and surround me with love, which I desperately needed.

The truth of it is, sometimes it happens. Sometimes, sadness just is, and you need to give yourself the grace to get to the other side of it.

Today I woke up in a different frame of mind. Incredibly, I managed to not let the sadness get to me, and I found a way out of the sadness. I let myself feel it; I let myself cry and sleep and wallow, and then - in the form of my own little holiday miracle - the fog lifted. It took a few days, and during that time I remained focused on my many blessings, my goals and my big awesome ideas.

I don't feel like a new person. I feel like authentic Maggie, with an easy smile and a joyful heart.


Janie said...

I'm going to comment. I just need time to think first.

Maggie said...

It should be noted ... I wrote this before the news about Sandy Hill was reported. I wasn't saying anything about that horrible incident; just relaying my experience. Thanks to any and all who read this post.

Janie said...

To be honest, our current real estate crisis has had me in a depressed state from the very beginning. We were encouraged by the sale of some houses around us, so we dared to throw our hat into the ring. Eight months later, nothing. The dream house we found will wait for us until the end of April, but I am so afraid we are not going to be able to get this done. I see all my dreams vanishing like a puff of smoke and it makes my heart hurt. I know I should be thankful we have a roof over our heads, but I have dreams of a new place that will give us a lifestyle change we are looking for. Frustration is my middle name these days.