CHICKENS AND EGGS

© Vicky TH, 2012.

November was a month of magic. A month when I decided I was going to do a handful of things and actually did all of them. It left me feeling invincible and with the certainty that in December I could continue with this same insane progress. And I believe that to be true. But I started noticing symptoms of things I’ve been fighting hard to avoid slowly slipping into my life.

By the time we were heading to my folks’ house for Thanksgiving our fridge was empty. A combination of already-eaten leftovers and neglecting to go grocery shopping. My writing was still happening, but I noticed I was feeling uninspired by it. Everything felt repetitive and anything but prolific. I figured I could chalk it up to holiday jitters and I just went on living.

Then Monday happened. That tiredness and lack of motivation that I always try to blame on my thyroid, but know that if I took my medication then the accusation just doesn’t really stick. I managed to shake it off and get most of the things I needed to do that day done anyway. I finally went running, I showered, I made dinner, I did the laundry. I just never really got dressed or engaged in anything particularly meaningful.

That’s about the time it struck me. All these seemingly inconsequential and unrelated things are exactly the things that happen to me when I’m falling into a depression. I gritted my teeth and braced myself. Shaking me head and breathing heavy I tried to see if I could outrun it, but I couldn’t help but wonder if it already had me. Do the symptoms show themselves after the depression has set in or do they serve as warning signs that I have to up my efforts to avoid its grip?

This is a new approach for me. The idea that these episodes are something I can support myself through rather than immediately giving in to. That my biology, my chemistry are not things that I simply fall victim to. I’ve recently been grabbing hold of this belief that if I pay attention I can minimize the damage of these things. I can sleep more. I can eat better. I can connect with friends and write furiously. I can run harder and lift heavier. I can take more vitamin D and keep lists of things to discuss in therapy. I can make sure I’m taking my thyroid medicine and doing all the things my doctors tell me I should be. I can’t cure this, but I can support myself in a way that makes every day more tolerable than it used to be. And these symptoms, these clues don’t have to mean anything. They can simply serve as a reminder of how easy it is to lose track of these believes. A reminder that if I lose focus I can easily be right back where I was last winter. Right back to where I don’t want to be.

Ginger Tea

© geniusofnati, 2013.

I’ve been fighting off some sort of sickness for the last couple of weeks. That half-almost getting sick feeling that clings onto your throat, your head. It settles into your eyelids, making them hang low on your face and sucking all the energy you wish you had for the things you need to get done. I generally take getting sick as an insult. A chink in my armor showing my weakness.The perfectionist in me will not stand for it and I become angry in addition to ill. But I’m trying to approach it differently this time.

For weeks now I’ve been craving a break. Wanting nothing more than to stay in bed and read, but committing myself to a list of things that need to be accomplished so long I never got my desired naps in. Now I don’t have a choice. My energy drags during my morning workout and by early afternoon I’ve done all I physically can do and I’m back in bed. A two hour nap on top of the nine hours of sleep I already got last night. Generally this would make me feel lazy, like I wasn’t pulling my weight. But now I’m sick, so, you know, what can you do? I’m left with no choice but to curl up in a pile of blankets with a dozen books I’ve been wanting to read and piping hot cups of ginger tea. Thank you.