Chasing Inspiration

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Life Is Exquisite


  1. Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, for her wit, and her new book, Furiously Happy
  2. The crisp, autumn air that allows me to spend more time outside and reminds me of the joy of apple crisp for breakfast. 
  3. People who at least pretend to be interested in the quirky things that interest me. Thank you!
I don't usually post a lot of my personal crap on my blog. I am relatively private and try to use this space for more positive things. Lord knows I need positive things in my life. 

Warning: this is a long post. Apparently, I have a lot to say today. 

The meds I take make me sensitive to the sun, which means I stay in the shade all summer long. Or slather on enough sunscreen to keep Banana Boat afloat for another year. I spend more time outside in the autumn and spring. As little as possible in winter. That's mainly because I am cold avoidant. And because I live in the land of perpetual grey with a side dish of wind chill. Why do I share this? It's rationale for what I am about to share next. Trust me. 

I have fibromyalgia along with a few other chronic health issues. Due to the constant pain and fatigue and pain (yes, I know pain is in there twice. There's a lot of pain), I can experience situational depression. This isn't clinical. I've seen therapists and I was once a therapist myself. I don't meet the criteria for a DSM-V diagnosis. Which means I treat the depression behaviorally rather than medicinally. In other words, my brain chemistry isn't messed up enough to warrant antidepressants. 

The last few years have seen more bouts of sadness and melancholy than I would like. I do believe that the lack of sunlight I experience due to the reasons listed above contributes. I've spoken with my doctor, my neurologist, and a therapist about this hypothesis and they agree. Their recommendations? Get a light therapy box. Walk every day, outdoors if possible. Spend time with friends. Find things to laugh about. Use DBT or other behavioral methods to acknowledge, reset, and move forward. 

Popping pills can seem much easier.

This summer was actually fairly good. It wasn't so hot I had to spend days on end inside conditioned air. Velcro Dog and I were able to walk more. I was able to spend time with some friends who have wicked sense of humor and help me to laugh more. I was able to do for others and get out of my own head. It was nice. 

This weekend, not so much. I'm not sure why, but my self talk is negative and I walk around attempting to not take everything people say as personal attacks on my character, while valiantly holding back the tsunami of tears. The husband asked me which pot of water I used for blanching veggies I wanted used to water the mutant cherry tomato plant that refuses to stop growing. I took his impatient tone of voice to mean he was disapproving of something. What, I have no idea. When I feel this way, this standing on the edge of the rabbit hole, I know I'm not rational. Or relational. I channeled my inner Commander Data and shared the facts. Then I went out and bought groceries. And chocolate. Lots of chocolate. On my way home, I parked the car somewhere I wouldn't be recognized and cried. It's easier to cry alone than with the man who loves me but wants to fix everything. There's nothing to fix. I feel this way right now. Not everything needs fixing. Cue heavy sigh.

Depression is a tricky thing. I have friends who battle clinical depression. They live in a world where their brains constantly lie to them and life feels dark and empty a lot of the time. I have friends who have a bipolar diagnosis and battle the swing from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. And everything in between. I haven't been in their shoes. And I feel awful complaining about my pain induced "mild" depressive episodes. I don't have to work my life around my brain chemistry. 

That's a lie. We all have to work our lives around our brain chemistry. Mine might be squirrely and lean towards the darker shades of grey, but I don't need to change my plans or coping mechanisms because of it. I don't feel worthy of calling what I feel depression. It seems a bit like trying to be something I'm not because my depression is on the mild end of the spectrum and doesn't meet diagnostic criteria. I cope by saying I feel melancholy today, rather than I feel like rolling into a tight little ball and crying until I have dehydrated myself, and then I want to sit in a dark corner and eat chocolate and tell myself this too shall pass. Kind of like what Velcro Dog does when he has had enough of everything. He goes to his pillow and shuts out the world for a little while. It's his way of resetting. We all need some way to reset. Even dogs need to reset. 


Yesterday I stayed up way too late reading Jenny Lawson's new books (see gratitude #1). I love her. I want to thank her in person for making me feel like I'm not pretending. That it's okay to be me, situational depression, fibromyalgia, and all. That being quirky and having interests in things that make my family roll their eyes is perfectly normal. She explains that furious happiness is her way of giving the finger to her depression, and that if we can feel these deep lows, then we can also feel bright and whimsical highs. Not in a bipolar kind of way, unless that's how your brain is wired. It's more...we can choose to be bright and bold and happy and find joy despite the crazy making of life and the lies our brains try to get us to believe. 

Life is exquisite. Let's live the shit out of it. 

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