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Monday, November 10, 2014

Talking to the Minions

Ever heard of situational depression?  Well, I'm pretty sure that I have it.  My typically "upbeat" and "bubbly" self has been battling!  While I'm not trying to speak Whinese, writing about this may help me and what a treat it would be if it helped someone else.

Situational depression is an adjustment disorder.  It typically happens after a major life event.  Hello! Moving is a major life event that I've done enough times that there is a special playbook for it.  Why then, after this particular move, do I feel so fuc very different?  My tear ducts may be broken from overuse.

This type of depression differs from clinical depression in that it sets in right after the event and should not last for more than 6 months (fingers crossed here people).  Plus, there's no chemical misfire happening in my brain causing me to climb under some covers and stay there FOREVER, or make me see things that aren't there.  My hat goes off to people who are clinically depressed.  Feeling like this actually hurts.

There was adjustment in our last move.  Navigating the social aspects of school aged children was a challenge.  Handling the constant traffic in the DC area was rough.  We had been warned about a "keep up with the Joneses" mentality, which was in some respects accurate.  The thing is, when we met the actual Joneses and many other fantastic people, all of that disappeared.  

There were so many bonuses in Virginia.  Our neighbors were great!  The kids' schools were great!  My family was so close!  I had my cousin and his wife to play with!  They were only 2 hours away!  The trip to Upstate NY took a mere 6 hours.  The kids handled road trips to Upstate like it was their job.  We loved our little "getaways".    Hiking was easy and constant.  Soccer.....oh how I miss my team.  My husband was around a lot.  We were very, very spoiled.

This new place is proving to be hard on my mood.  While we've met some very nice people, they all have their families here.  We are Yankee outsiders.  Road trips are to places where nobody knows our names.  Isolation is making me feel like a caged bird whose feathers are not as bright as they used to be.

This is not a post to collect a bucket of sympathy.  That only makes me feel more weak and darkens the cloud looming over my head.  This post is to relate to those who have ever felt even a tiny bit of what depression is.  It feels like your feet are stuck in sadness concrete and you have no will to pull them loose.  Nothing seems interesting or fun.  The routine of life has you looking like that wife from "American Beauty."  She's staring, but at nothing.  Sparkling thoughts of anything just don't exist.  Appreciating what you have just isn't possible.  Your body feels blah, grey, and heavy.

When you tell someone how you're feeling they say things like, "cheer up."  Which, makes you want to punch them in the face.  You read about exercise, endorphins, and healthy diet like they have never existed in your world.  You don't want the hugs from your kids to EVER end and the smiles on their faces bring the only comfort that makes a difference.  Tears are a new way of life.  Your stomach hurts.  You are constantly tired.  You can't go near alcohol or you will just climb into the bottle and never leave.

Situational depression should end after 6 months.  This is the light that I cling to.  Each day, little changes in my dull routine will chip away at the sadness cement holding my feet down.  Joy will begin to brighten my wings and once again allow me to fly.  Perhaps sadness is a dark gift that people like me need to feel in order to heighten what happy feels like on the other end.  Perhaps it will help me be a better person.  Perhaps it will allow me to help others in the future.

Until then, the people around me will just have to be a little more understanding.  Until then, I'll be a little nicer to myself.  Until then, I'll stay strong and chase away the monsters that are nipping at my smile.  To anyone reading who suffers from clinical depression, I hope that you get the help that you need to overcome the beast.  I won't tell you to cheer up.  I will listen if you need to let it all out.

We have a minion collection hanging out on my window sill.  They are my reminder that there is still happiness awaiting my return.  You won't find me talking to my minions, because being depressed doesn't mean that you're crazy.  My minions and music will pull me out of this, I hope.  My will is strong, so my heart will be light again.

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