Sunday, December 13, 2015

On Depression & Disorientation

Dear John,
I'm depressed and disoriented. It's been a nasty day.
First, as to the disorientation. It's been in the 60s outside, so of course the windows are open. I believe this is the first time I've ever had the Christmas tree up and the windows open at the same time. This morning I woke up to the sound of birds singing. It smells like spring. This doesn't make it any easier to get in the mood for Christmas. I have no idea how people in the southern hemisphere do it.
And then there's the depressed part. It's Christmas. Again. Without you. I do not like this at all. I've tried to get into the Christmas spirit, whatever that means. We have Christmas music playing at work all day; after over nine hours of it, I want to shoot out the speakers. Today I watched the Patrick Stewart Christmas Carol, thinking that would get me in the mood if anything would. It didn't. Nothing. The house is decorated, the cards are ready, and almost all of the gifts are made. And I can't wait for all of it to be over.
I'm trying to separate secular Christmas from the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, and I'm finding that listening to the secular music all day at work is making that more difficult that usual. And I still struggle with the happy-family ideal that secular Christmas holds up. it makes it harder for those of us who are alone. I wish I could stay home and keep away from secular Christmas completely. But I do have to work. Somebody has to pay for the dog and cat food.
I am the anomaly here; I don't expect the world the cater to me. I will survive. And on Christmas Eve night I'll go to church and leave everything else behind. I'll forget Frosty and Rudolp and Grandma getting run over by the reindeer, and come in awe before what is real. Until then, I could use your prayers. Deliver me from empty sentimentality, consumerism, and noise! Help me to find silence, awe, wonder, and gratitude. Regardless of the weather.
And all of this struggle is because you forgot to take me with you.
Adore you,

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Of Meds & Moods

Dear John,
Thanksgiving and my birthday are done. Jim and Irene came for the long weekend. My birthday was on Black Friday this year - appropriate to celebrate my turning sixty with black! And Jim and I got the new water heater installed. Jen had a birthday party for me on Saturday; it was lots of fun and the cake was wonderful. There appear to be a few folks who are happy that I was born.
You know I went on Celexa to help with the Cymbalta withdrawal - once again, pharmaceuticals beget pharmaceuticals. It was very necessary for a while, but I decided in late October to try going off of it. In my usual fashion, I seem to have picked the worst time possible. The days are getting shorter, the dreaded Christmas season is upon us, and I've had one friend die and another be widowed. But off Celexa I am, and I'm glad. I decided to come off of it when I realized that it was damping my happy emotions as well as my sad ones. I've cried some these last couple of weeks - for Alan, and Shelly, and the Christmas music in stores, and sometimes just for me - but overall I feel much more like myself. I came off early; most people that stop Cymbalta need something for at least five years, and it's been less that two for me. But I'd always rather be early than late.
I got a new Christmas tree yesterday, 1/3 off at Meijer. The big thing is that the lights are built in. Last year the cats liked to pull the strings of lights off of the tree and play with them, and now they can't do that. And it has pine cones, which are nice, and make it look fuller even though I only put the unbreakable ornaments on it now. I found an ornamental bird cage that I put my favorite breakable ones in - the silver bird, and the 1930s ornaments that were Mama's. That way I can see them but the animals can't get to them. It's a good solution.
I discovered something helpful by accident. I was in a line in Kohl's last week when they played "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." I can handle most of the Christmas music pretty well now, but not that one. Never that one. I couldn't get out of line and was trying not to cry, when I found myself doing Lamaze breathing. My brain had nothing to do with it; it seemed that my body just knew what it needed. And it helped. It kept me together until the song ended. The same song came on Friday at work and I did the same thing. Who knew that the Lamaze I learned in my OB rotation in college would come in handy like this?
I believe that's all the news. The Christmas season is here and, so far, it isn't as hard as last year. Every Christmas without you is a little easier. It will always be bittersweet - there is no one left who remembers my first 56 Christmases. But I will survive another one, like it or not.
Still standing,