I’ve gone through a pretty amazing change lately. I was so deeply depressed for so long, but now the clouds have lifted and I’m doing really well. I’m able to focus on work and not panic about the change in income. I am comfortable spending time by myself. I am getting out in the world again and reconnecting with old friends. I’ve even gotten back into the dating game. Not only have I been able to meet several really nice women, they seem to really enjoy my company and I’ve not had a single one turn down a second date.
To go from such hopelessness and despair to a feeling of ‘normalcy’ and optimism so quickly is almost surreal. It practically happened overnight. Once I cut my dose of risperdal in half I immediately had more energy and focus, and the worst of the depression begin to lift. Then after a week or so the Zoloft I had started taking begin to kick in, and I was back to feeling normal.
The holidays have always been a bad time for me and based on the lack of plans, this year isn’t looking any better. Even as a kid Thanksgivings were not a happy time. We always went to my grandparent’s house for a big Thanksgiving dinner with the whole family, but what I recall most is wandering around by myself in the woods on their farm, and how uncomfortable I was at dinner. Maybe it was because I was so much younger than everyone else, but I always felt isolated from everybody and almost felt like I wasn’t even a part of the family at all. But even at that early age I’ve always been depressed before the season started. But maybe this year will be different. I’m in a really good place now, and I’m actually looking forward to having a few days off. I will spend a little time with my Sister Thanksgiving day but the rest of the weekend looks like I’ll have some time alone for rest and relaxation. I hope to do some long overdue work on my car too. I don’t want to look too far ahead to Christmas, but at least Thanksgiving doesn’t seem to be so bleak and dismal.
So I’m really trying to be upbeat and positive in spite of my long history of depression around the holidays. I guess my real fear is that no matter how good I feel at the moment, I won’t be able to maintain. I’ve felt good like this before, but it’s always just been a part of my cycle and has only lasted a short time until I moved into the next phase. Almost always as I have risen upwards out of a depression, my mood just continues moving up and I end up in a manic episode. I haven’t noticed any signs yet, but it is often subtle and I don’t recognize it until it’s too late. But it’s not always a manic episode that follows a depression. There have been times where the recovery is only temporary and I slide back down just as soon as I feel like I’m over the worst. Since this has always been such a bad time of year, I’m especially concerned about how I’ll handle the upcoming holidays.
But I don’t want to create a self fulfilling prophesy. I am determined to take each day as it comes, and enjoy it moment by moment. Even if I do have a bad day or two it doesn’t have to mean that it’s the start of a new episode. Not every day can be a good one, even under normal circumstances. It’s a matter of embracing the mood for what it is; good or bad. If you don’t have a bad day once in a while, how can you appreciate a good one? I’ve got too many good things going on in my life now to let one bad day bring me down. I have a job in spite of the horrible economy. My divorce is final and I’ve gotten to the point where I can really put it all behind me and start this new phase of my life. I’m surrounded by friends, family and loved ones and have one of the best support circles as I’ve ever had. I’ve come a very long way towards understanding my disease and learning new skills to deal with it in a positive and healthy way. I’m feeling confident and secure.
So maybe this year won’t be so bad after all. It truly is something to be thankful for.