I don't know exactly when it started, probably when I started to go a bit MIA again online in the communities that I like to post in, but I've come to realize that I've been in a bit of a funk. I don't know if it's cabin fever and being stuck indoors because of the extremely cold weather, or frustration with the kids, or frustration with not getting to see my husband very often, or not getting to go out by myself socially, or… hell it's a combination of all of those things.
As a friend of mine described it, I've been in a depression hole. That's exactly what it feels like. A black hole in space is much like how I feel. And I honestly try NOT to. I try to get out and be upbeat and participate in normal life activities. But that quiet animal that I've described depression as in the past is quietly stalking me. I try not to feed it, but in ignoring it, I can't help but feed it, so I've decided to face it head on yet again. Don't get me wrong… I still take my anti-depression and anti-anxiety meds, and they work, but there are specific and minute things that the meds don't touch. They can't control my thoughts. They can't control my emotions. They simply make it so that I don't sink so deeply that I take everyone else with me and turn into someone else that I don't like or recognize.
I also realize that this means that it's been too long since having a therapy session. It's been so easy to forget to call and make the appointment. Holidays, kid issues, kid vacation, dealing with Grace's school PPT stuff so that she can start special services, helping other people and their kids, the Brownie Troop, making sure that I'm being a good enough wife and housekeeper, and even taking care of my beloved Luna Tinkerbell, my black panther-esque kitty, all make it easy to put the brief phone call so far at the edge of my list of Things To Do that it falls off and feeds the hungry animal, who is just sitting there, breathing softly and lazily, waiting patiently for the tiniest morsel. Every pet knows that no matter how hard you try to neat and clean when you eat, you will eventually drop a piece of food to the floor.
What are the signs, you might wonder. For me, specifically, I pull away socially. This means with my real life friends and family, as well as with my online friends. I might be hard to get a hold of. It's not usually intentional, but the feeling of "I just don't want to talk to anyone right now" is very predominant. I may visit my regular haunts, but not participate in the discussions to let people know I'm around. I just hope that they assume I'm there. It ends up hurting my relationships. I do this with my husband and children, to some point, too.
Another sign is that my skin feels more sensitive more often. When I get this way, I don't like to be touched. I get very anxious, which increases my stress, which increases the size of the Dark Hole and the feeding dish of the Quiet Animal. My patience drops, my temper rises, and I begin to get more headaches. I would rather be in bed, just doing nothing. I will take care of my children, but the joy isn't joy… things become mechanical. I still feel love for them, and for my husband, and for my friends and family, but there's a feeling that no matter I do, it's all going through the motions. While I may look forward to something coming up, it's hard to get excited about it or motivated to make something happen. Life begins to feel like a sink full of dirty silverware that must be cleaned by hand.
I begin questioning my importance to people. I question my importance to society, and my family, and friends. I start thinking more about the negative aspects of my life, and have to make effort to think of the positives. That's part of the reason I lapse with my gratefulness journals sometimes… not only is the motivation to write them not there, but I feel grateful for less than usual, or rather, not less grateful, but less able to acknowledge what I'm grateful for. I'm always grateful for something… but there are times that the pull of the Dark Hole is too much for my fingers. The pull is too much to let people know what's going on with me.
I also notice that my creative juices, so to speak, run a bit dry. I blog less, and this being my journal, that means I'm also pulling away from myself and my mind and my creativity in addition to friends and communities. I dry up. So I suppose this blog is the first step for me to take control again, and tighten the leash on the Quiet Animal, and lead it away from the Dark Hole.
Wish me luck.