This time of the year is pretty rough for me. Everytime I think, “hey this isn’t so bad,” I’m reminded by my brain that, yeah, in fact it is. Stupid brain, I swear if I could go back in time and step on the fish that thought it was a good idea to start walking on land I would. And before anyone says anything, yes I’m aware that’s an oversimplification, it’s not like a time machine is elementary. Anyway I feel like I’ve already taken a left in my topic and I haven’t even gotten the first paragraph out, that’s how you know it’s THAT time of the year.
Traditionally this time of the year is awful. I mean maybe it’s bad luck or maybe just me, I don’t know. It’s just a tough time of the year. It’s hard to put into words, but apparently this is obvious enough that I have had someone reach out to me to make sure everything was okay, or at least to offer support (which I’m grateful for). Today wasn’t exactly a bad day, in fact it started off pretty good. I got some of the data working correctly for my dissertation (yesterday I wrote about how it was 50/50 at that point, as of now, it’s like 70/30 in my favor). But as the day wore on, that uneasy feeling just built up.
Ugh I feel like I’m all over the place, so let’s just start with the easy stuff. Nights are normally bad for me. I’m not a fan, I could probably count on one hand the nights in my life that I’ve gotten an honest good sleep where I woke up refreshed. The count is like two, seriously. It’s not ideal, but you get used to it (haha… right). So half of my days are, not great, but survivable and that’s my normal. I never said it was a good normal. This time of the year, it’s more like 1/8 of the day is the “okay” portion of the day. Despite my best efforts my brain did not want to play nice and things went from bad to worse.
Depression sucks, there’s no way around it. While mine is, I would argue well controlled despite the level of depression being like an 8/10 on any given day, at the very least it’s steady and it’s gotten easier as the years went on. It used to be all over the place, so if I had to choose, the way life is now is fine. The recent addition of my favorite medication (here) has really improved my quality of life, it’s the thing holding the past month or so together frankly. I can’t emphasize that enough, medication really helps (hint for anyone out there).
This time of the year just makes everything worse. I’m not 100% sure what the feelings are, but I get the sense that aside from all the trauma round this time of the year, my suicide anniversary is this time of year for example, there’s just a sense of loss. It’s hard to describe and if you’ve noticed, I tend to talk around it because putting it into words is hard. I just haven’t been able to put my finger on a good way to talk about it. It just feels like something’s being ripped out of me very slowly and by the end of January(ish) whatever it is that gets pulled out is gone and I’m fine again until the next time. The cycle is very regular so I always try to plan my life around it. This year was the exception, but I really do want to graduate on time, depression (or whatever my crazy is) be damned.
Why I go through this yearly cycle I don’t know exactly. It’s probably a lot of things, and I think that despite the suicide attempt, whatever this is was occurring prior to that so it doesn’t fully explain the feeling. Thinking on it while I write this, there’s also a bunch of military stuff that occured around this time of the year and that would be a good candidate to explain the feelings. I’m not sure what else could explain it, but between the military and suicide, I think that’s enough reason to hate this time of the year.
It’s frustrating too because I absolutely love Halloween, but it’s tough to really get into it when I am trying to hard just to survive this meatgrinder feeling. Today I managed to power through most of the feeling (thanks modafinil!), but after awhile the feeling got incredibly overwhelming so it was no longer ignorable. So I had to call it a day for work so I could spend some time just recovering from the feeling (hopefully that, or anything I’m writing, makes sense).
Currently I’m okay. I mean it sucks, but the only way is through. Until the feeling passes, or the end of the year whichever comes first, I just need to try to keep remaining grounded instead of letting myself sink into that feeling. Because sinking into it would just be a whole downhill spiral. That’s another thing I’ve learned about this time of the year from experience. It’s like living in quicksand, if I remain calm it will suck, be uncomfortable, and if I’m overly honest (which, when am I not around here?) I “only” mildly feel like I would be better off dead than go through this, again. Quick aside: I’m fine, nothing’s going to happen, it’s just a feeling and it sucks for me and anyone who has to hear about me going through that, trust me I know.
So the bad news is it’s once again time to start this horrid cycle. The good news is that I’m a seasoned pro by now and can navigate it better than I used to be able to. It has been a journey in that regard, but if I can’t get off the ride, at least I’m used to it. Also a not-so-friendly reminder that the name of the blog isn’t just for the fun alliteration. Somedays I wish I could be the fun and eccentric kind of crazy instead of whatever this is, but I didn’t get to choose unfortunately. So it goes.
Ah, Alex. I’m sorry. I thought it might go better than this.
I think you know by now that I’ll stay with you (whatever metaphorical sense of “stay” applies in internet space). If it ever gets too hard not to sink, you can lean on me if it helps. We’ll get through it.
I understand about stopping work to recover. It’s harder to deal with any kind of negative emotion if I’m trying to think hard at the same time, or even if I have to be up in the computer chair instead of curled in a blanket. I’ve been worrying about how your heavy workload was going to interact with the time-of-year stuff. Sounds like you’re being careful.
Look after yourself, and I hope you feel at least a little better tomorrow.
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October 6, 2022 at 1:05 am
I had hoped as well. But it’s okay I’m used to it sadly.
Thank you for your support and encouragement. Yesterday was not nearly as bad as it was in the past, the most surprising thing was that it wasn’t bad from the start of the day it just sort of sunk in as the day progressed. I assume it’s medication related so I’m trying something today and splitting my dose up to see if that helps, even if it doesn’t having a semi-peaceful morning/afternoon is a huge win in my book.
I’m trying to be careful, since I’ve been dealing with this so long now it’s sort of become second nature. I’ve gotten pretty good at finding ways to mitigate it. This time of year the previous few years were surgery recovery times, so it’s already a bonus that I’m not recovering this time (zero surgeries this year, woo! Although that’s going to be short lived next year, but I’ll take what I can get). Mainly I’m hoping to avoid some of the more unhealthy coping mechanisms that come up. I have a huge sweet tooth and little self control this time of year, plus it’s that time of the year where everyone is making food, sooooo… but I’ve got that one covered too, mostly.
So while it still sucks, this might be the best “this time of the year” for me yet, in no small part thanks to people like you who remind me that, for whatever weird reason (that’s my stupid brain saying that), people do care.
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October 6, 2022 at 12:47 pm
I’m really glad that this round counts as an improvement. And maybe you can still get the doctors to increase your medicine dose eventually?
I’d noticed the lack of surgeries. Last year it was just one for the year, right, then this year zero. So if you’re not quite over them, they seem to be on a downward trend at least. Happy about that too!
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October 6, 2022 at 8:53 pm
I’m hoping to get another increase the next time around. It’s just a few months away, so not long.
Yep one last year, zero this year, and I’m hoping after the one (hopefully just one) next year will be the last of them for awhile. It had to come to an end eventually! This was good timing though, I really didn’t want to be doing dissertation, work, and surgical recovery all at once!
October 7, 2022 at 4:38 pm
I am so sorry, felt it coming. Yesterday I had a long response written here and just didn’t fill in all the blanks and follow through. Sometimes I miss Twitter so much. My problem is I seem to have some subconscious way of picking up on this sort of thing and also an attraction to kintsugi. You my friend are a broken teapot. You have put yourself back together with gold. The vulnerable spots are there for your markers, they are hot to the touch when you add warmth and maybe you missed a spot or two in the repair and you might be a tiny bit leaky… You have to keep working on all those spots and you are going to be better than before, more beautiful and admired. You are almost museum quality! Your vulnerable spots don’t make you less beautiful, but those repairs have different properties than the rest of you. They heat up first and give you warning to slow down because the rest of you can’t keep up. I may have made this analogy before but that’s the way I think of it.
My favorite way of clearing my head is to put on a snorkel mask and swim until I am worn out and then just lay there face down looking at the patterns made by the waves. There’s something about laying down flat like that with the water supporting you, gets rid of all kinds of tension and physical pain.Watching the waves is the perfect way to let go of the logjam in your brain. I have been wondering if it drains the lymphatic system. There’s got to be a physiological reason it feels so good. Anyway get some exercise somehow, it sounds too simple but I find it works better than any drug. It is also the easiest thing to let go when you are overwhelmed. It seems like a platitude but it is easy to overlook.
Also wear a sweater and don’t run with scissors. Can you see my mothering instincts kicking in? It’s because my baby got mad at us for telling him to come to our house instead of riding out the hurricane at his college apartment. He wanted the thrill of his roomates stacking all of the furniture in front of the sliding glass door because they thought it was going to break. Now he’s mad for the smothering because it wasn’t fun being out of the path. If you need fretted over let me know. I make him and his friends cookies of support during midterms and finals. Let me know if you need some mailed. For real, I am not just saying it. I usually make junk food cookies and healthy ones that work as meal replacements. You have my email if you ever need to talk. If you don’t feel like talking, know I am still here listening. Just want you to know I am still out here rooting for you. Take care my friend.
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October 6, 2022 at 9:08 am
Thank you for the support and the kind words! I love the analogy, I think it was perfect. I’m glad you’re still around even after leaving twitter. Funny enough I love swimming in general and we have a pool on campus, so maybe I’ll go for a swim to clear my head when I’m having hard times. Even just a walk helps, which is what I ended up doing yesterday since I couldn’t just sit with the feelings.
Mothering instincts aren’t a bad thing! I’m sorry your son wasn’t happy about trying to survive the hurricane. That’s a weird sentence to have to write out, but here we are. I’ll keep the cookie offer in mind! That’s very sweet of you, you’re not (in terms of US size) too far from me, so I’m sure they would survive the trip and I am a sucker for a good cookie. How is your son these days? Last we spoke he was having trouble with COVID and I don’t think I ever really followed up on it. It sounds like he’s not in pain anymore, I hope…?
Anyway, I hope you’re doing well and thank you for the support!
October 6, 2022 at 12:40 pm
I am sure the cookies would make it, let me know of any allergies you have. It may be next week before I can get to it, I will have to “empty” some pringles cans so they can survive the trip 🙂 . I am currently canning starfruit jam. I shall have to put some in the cookie box, it is one of the best jams I have had. My starfruit tree was ambitious this year. As a fruit it is pretty middle of the road, as a jam- top tier. My son is doing good now, it took a couple of weeks to recover, but no lasting effects. I must say covid has not been great for his overall GPA, but he is making, slow, forward progress. After the hurricane he went back to school as soon as the winds died back a bit, helped his friends clean up, and went 3 days without electricity. Could be worse.
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October 6, 2022 at 5:07 pm
Wow! You’re too kind!! No allergies thankfully! I’ve never had starfruit before, I didn’t even realize it grew here in the US. I’m glad to hear your son is doing better. A GPA hit isn’t fun, but it’s not the end at least and it won’t hurt him too much (speaking from experience!) which is the most you could hope for I think. I’m happy to hear he’s doing better though! I don’t recall if you’ve told me or not, but what’s he majoring in (assuming he’s decided).
October 7, 2022 at 4:42 pm
Sorry I have not gotten back to you, I am not sure where the time went. I hope that you can appreciate that you being able to keep all these balls in the air is a near miracle. My life is the opposite of busy right now and I can’t seem to get all of the tasks done that I set out to do any given day. All I have added to my normal task list is jelly and cleaning up everything that we do to prepare for a hurricane, and things are just not fully back to normal yet. Even when they do not cause much damage hurricanes cause disruption. I usually have my husband drag my plants, tools, patio furniture, and things to a safe location. It takes me weeks to get everything back in order. Someday a hurricane will do more damage than I do to my house, but they have not yet. Anyway I am busy making cookies that I hope to mail tomorrow (and a bunch of support cookies for my son (CS major)and his roomates- they also seem to be getting crushed by deadlines because the hurricane compressed their schedules). I just do not know where to send them, can you e-mail me an address so I do not have to cyberstalk you;) ?
I have been making and packing boxes of jelly to mail to my friends and family. I think it is awesome and am so excited to share it with you. I really hope you enjoy it. My husband has been living on toast and jelly (by choice 😉 ) Starfruit grows here, but if we ever get a really harsh winter it could kill it, it is in a pretty sheltered place in my yard, and I know of trees around here that are over 20 years old, so hopefully it will last. The fruit is pretty fragile, and does not ship very well because the spines of the fruit bruise easily. I have lots of other weird fruit, that I only have mixed results with. My sapodillia that has not made any fruit yet, Barbados cherries ( I have to fight the birds to get even 1 at a time-but they are so good), dragon fruit (my variety is not very good), jackfruit (rats eat before me), jelly melons, rambutan (on plant #3), and coffee beans (has never bloomed). Pineapples grow like weeds you literally chop the top off and set them on top the ground- but I am getting too allergic to handle them. My pride and joy is my avocado tree. The weather here is usually amazing, hurricanes are the price you pay for paradise.
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October 11, 2022 at 1:10 pm
No, no worries! It’s totally okay. I understand how life can be overwhelming at times, even if it doesn’t exactly feel busy. And thank you, no need to cyberstalk me, I just sent you an email 🙂
That’s amazing! You must have been very busy and I’m thankful you’ve offered to share. It means the a lot to me, truely. It sounds like you have quite the garden! I have a horrible track record of growing stuff, but I’m glad others can, even if it’s mostly feeding the wildlife! haha
October 11, 2022 at 4:02 pm