Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thursdays Used To Be My Favorite Day Of The Week

Symptoms of winter SAD usually begin in October or November and subside in March or April. Some patients begin to slump as early as August, while others remain well until January. Regardless of the time of onset, most patients don’t feel fully back to normal until early May. Depressions are usually mild to moderate, but they can be severe. Very few patients with SAD have required hospitalization, and even fewer have been treated with electroconvulsive therapy.

The usual characteristics of recurrent winter depression include oversleeping, daytime fatigue, carbohydrate craving and weight gain, although a patient does not necessarily show these symptoms. Additionally, there are the usual features of depression, especially decreased sexual interest, lethargy, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, lack of interest in normal activities, and social withdrawal.*

I have a good 45 minutes to write before 30 Rock comes on.  I haven't really written anything of substance the last two nights because I've been so freaking tired, but after about 12 hours of sleep plus a 2 hour nap today, I'm good to go!

Let's start with Tuesday night.  It was great!  There are a couple of girls on the coed soccer team Jen and Rob and I play for that work as promo girls for MKTG, and the company did an event for Jose Cuervo (El Dia de los Muertos [Day of the Dead for those of you who don't speak a lick of Espanol]).  I felt like I was at a sort of underground party, there were scantily clad girls with skull-painted faces dancing on blocks near the stage, on which a few full-body (head and face included) clad beings (I was ultimately unable to determine their sex) laid around on furniture, posing and weirdly caressing one another.  At one point, the body-suited beings got up and danced, and it was at this point we were able to see that they were painted as skeletons with paint that glowed under black light only.  The drinks were free - all tequila-based, there was free food, and Jen and Jamie and Jonas and I all got our faces painted.  We danced and talked for awhile, and then our soccer buddies showed up (they all had an indoor game that night), and we danced and danced and danced with them.  It was great to see everyone out of soccer gear and letting loose and having a great time.  I had such a blast!  I think it's sort of too bad that I'd never had so much fun dancing and drinking until I was 26 years old.

We left after 1, and I was driving and had offered to drive Rob home so he didn't have to take the bus.  In the car, Jen and Rob talked to me about my depression, how I live at home, we talked about my "love life" (or lack thereof) and about Former Bestie.  I guess Rob had mentioned to Jen that he wondered if I'd still be struggling with my depression so much if I didn't live at home, and while I'm still not sure what those two discussed, when Rob said something to me about it, I told him that I have lived on my own before and still struggled with my depression just as much as I am now.  

I moved into Boulder after Brian and I broke up back in 2006, and very shortly thereafter I met Aaron, and his presence in my life made my life infinitely more complicated and upsetting.  I moved around Boulder, lived with multiple different roommates, and all the while, still suffered from depression.   My first attempted suicide was when I was living with three great girls in a house, and they were so frightened by my behavior that they asked me to move out.  I went back home for a few months, then moved back to Boulder, where I had my second suicide attempt and was asked to leave by that roommate.  I moved to the next place, and didn't really make friends with my roommates, in fact, I rarely saw them, but I drank quite a bit by myself most nights, and while still going to school, I was fired from my job at a financial planning firm because I pretty much stopped showing up.  I blame a lot of my depression between 2006 and early 2010 on Aaron and how he made me feel about myself, but I can't really blame him now.  So, as sort of an answer to Jen and Rob, I don't really think that my life would be a whole lot different if I moved out of my parents house now.  Where I am, a lot of my stress is based on the situation with my family and my older sister.  If I moved out, I wouldn't be nearly as involved in that aspect of my life, but I'd find something else to stress about that would take that place - probably money.  That's the thing with this illness.  If it's not one thing, it's another.  Even if I were to finish school, get engaged and be working in a job I really enjoyed, I could probably still find something to be depressed about.  And it's not that I'm not trying to be positive and upbeat about life in general, it's just the nature of the illness.

I heard from a friend today whom I hadn't heard from in awhile.  I think I scared him by talking about how I wondered if depression would eventually be the thing that killed me - which I do really wonder about.  He asked me how I was doing, and I told him truthfully that I am doing a lot better than I was the last time we spoke.  And I really feel like I am.  However, I know that somewhere down the road I will experience another episode where I become deeply depressed, and I wonder when and am terrified of it happening.  I've learned to deal with these episodes, but that's the best I can do, is deal with them.  I can't beat them, and I don't even think I can really try.  But when I start to feel better, it's like emerging from a deep hibernation and all I want to do is go out and experience the world in all it's glory, and so that's what I have to look forward to.  I'm going to have to use that image to motivate myself to keep on trudging through the crap that seems to pile up when I'm in the middle of an episode.  It's so much easier to think that way right now when I'm finally feeling better.

I think have reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder.  First of all, I have to acknowledge that I love everything about summer - the long days, the sometimes stifling heat, the crickets that sing at night, being able to leave your window open while you sleep, walking into an air-conditioned store after being outside in a hot car - you name anything about summer and I'll tell you what I like about it.  When I have time off when it's hot outside, all I want to do is go lay in the sun, preferably next to or in close proximity of a pool, and read books and listen to music.  I spend a shit ton of time outside when it's hot.  I like that I can go running outside, although I like to try to wait until evening so it's a bit cooler.  Aside from not being next to an ocean, Colorado is one of the most perfect places to be in the summertime.  So I cannot, for the LIFE OF ME, figure out why I start to feel so shitty right about mid-March.  I go from mid-March to right about now every year feeling yucky.  Then the end of October comes and it's like my body suddenly wakes up.  I function pretty well between March and October, but I do even better from November to March.  And I am NOT a winter person.  I'd rather be hot than cold any given day.  I feel like it takes a lot more work to warm up from being cold than it does to cool down from being hot.  I've never been a skier or snowboarder (although I am attempting to become one now) because the idea of being covered in snow from head to toe while it's 30 degrees or less outside is less than appealing to me.  And even though we don't live in the mountains, it snows a lot here!  Last year was my first winter with Phoenix and I can't tell you how much time I spent shoveling snow off the deck so that it wouldn't melt down and turn to ice and cause him to go flying off the stairs and breaking his neck, and I hated every moment of it!  Snow is HORRIBLE.  Sure, it's beautiful if you're safe and warm inside and don't have to venture out in it!  But that's about the only redeeming quality it has!  Anyway, that's why I'm so confused about why my mood seems to improve so much in the winter months.  So I'm trying to accept and nurture it by making a valid attempt at loving the holiday season, which I mostly dread.  This year, I'm embracing Halloween-time, Thanksgiving is my all-time favorite holiday because you don't have to buy anything for anyone or do anything stupid like dress like a slut and go out in public, all you have to do is eat, and I've already started a list of presents that I'm getting people so that I don't have to be all rushed about it come December 20th.  Hopefully I'll make enough money to buy a pair of used skis and go up more than once to use them!

I've fully lost any train of thought I had about where today's post was going.  I guess it boils down to me feeling better for the most part, despite my family situation.  "Kale" came by today with a tiny present for me!  He bought me a purple knife to replace the one that was stolen when my purse was taken last week!  I'm thrilled and excited that he thought of me, but at the same time, I'm mad because his generosity and thoughtfulness do not make me like him any less.  Even worse, Jen likes him (not in a romantic way) and she thinks he's a good guy!  I told her to cease this immediately but I don't think she's going to listen to me.  She's only ever thought the guys I dated were dirt bags and idiots (which they were), so the fact that she likes him is amazing, but it's horrible because I'M NOT EVEN DATING HIM and he doesn't like me that way!!!  My mom told me that this is good, this attempting to be friends with him even though I still like him, because it will build character.  I think I will tell her she's full of crap and that I think I have enough character already from the disaster that is my life.  I mean, come on - 30 Rock isn't actually even on tonight!!  Could it get much worse??

See, I have perspective.  I know my life isn't actually a disaster.  It just hasn't turned out the way I thought it would, and it will be a challenge for me to turn it around, but I love a good challenge.  If I can stay positive, keep doing my best at living in the moment and not worrying about the future, I will be okay.  That's where so much of my unhappiness comes from - projecting my past failures into the future. 

P.S.  My baked potato soup and apple pie were absolutely to die for delicious.  I had many a mouthgasm ingesting them both yesterday and today.

Also, here are pictures from Tuesday night, and a short video of the skeleton-dancer people:

                                         This is Jamie!  It was her idea to get our faces painted!
                                                                  Jen with her face paint.
                                                            Jonas with his manly face paint.
                       My face paint, I'm also also wearing false eyelashes and black lipstick.
                                                           The Church before it got too packed.
                                                            The weirdo body-suits on stage.
                                                                   See?  It really is a church!
                                                  El Dias de los Muertos skull ice-sculpture.
                                                                   Me in the light of the club.

And the video!  It's not great because it was so dark, buy you can see a little.  The theme of the party really makes me want to research Day of the Dead in Mexico and Spain to find out more.  I love Anthropology!

*"NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness | Mental Illnesses." NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness - Mental Health Support, Education and Advocacy. Web. 28 Oct. 2010. <>.

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