Year in review, life in review

I often like to play the game "where was I a year ago today". It's just a fun little reflection on a year - and not necessarily at New Years, it could be the middle of the year and I will reflect to the last 365 days.

Usually a year is made up of minor occurrence and a lot of daily life - occasionally life changing events will happen unexpectedly like babies, new jobs etc. But those are all events - and events are an easy way to mark time and life changes. At times reflections come through changes within ourselves - those aren't always given the recognition they deserve. You know, someone asks you what's going on, how are you - and you start rattling off events - and if there are no events you say "nothing much". But how often do we acknowledge with other people what is different within us - a change within ourselves?

So my year in review - it ended up being a life changing year - not so much because of any events but because of changes in me.

This time last year I was sitting on my couch sick as a dog - going through tissue like water. No biggie, winter flu was everywhere last year, most of you probably had it as well. Unfortunately, mine wouldn't go away, for months I flip flopped between sick and well. I started to wonder if there was something more going on with me than just the flu. A friend mentioned that often times mental health has a huge play in our physical health. I didn't scoff the idea - in fact a guilty "you got me" look must have crept up on my face because she paused and then sincerely said to me "that's it isn't it, something's wrong". I had to admit something was wrong, every year when my birthday rolls around I kind of loose it. That's how I mark my year to year - my birthday (September). And each year a fog of depression rolled in and settled in for a spell. Gradually it lifted, but not without leaving some damage behind. This time it wasn't lifting and I had no idea what to do about it.

I have been seeing a counselor for a while - it has been through her that I have identified several unhealthy patterns in my life - including my little birthday depression. She asked me why and naturally I looked for events to blame - lack of significant life events that should have happened by now was always my initial scapegoat. What it boiled down to was I didn't know why I was living under this gray cloud, I had no idea. And for me - having no idea and no answers is a tragedy in and of itself.

So I looked for answers. But none were to be found. I had all the symptoms of depression. Anti social behaivor, tired all the time, not able to shake a cold or flu, apathy over everything in my life, I wasn't working out, I had the most erratic sleeping and eating patterns and over all I just didn't care. I've been through this before, in fact this funk has come and gone the majority of my life - probably since I was a teenager. But what do you do - you just pray and hope it gets better. And you fake it - really well.

Some of you reading this were with me when I finally admitted to having a depression - years ago - but in my mind it came and went. That was a lie. It came and stayed, I just learned to live with it. Like an unwanted house guest that won't leave. It's like having a bum knee - you just learn to adjust, sometimes you compensate. And at times it feels better or worse, depends on the day.

March of this past year I had had enough - the breakdown came one night and I decided I couldn't go on like this. So step one admiting I had a problem - check. Step two, ask for help. (I think that's how it goes, if not humor me here) So I contacted my counselor then my doctor. Bloodwork showed no thyroid issue (runs on my mother's side) - which left me with one big decision - treat this issue for what it is, mental depression (clinical depression) whatever you want to call it, which means medication...or continue to ignore it and just hope it gets better one day.

This was a huge admission for me - taking medicine for this was admitting I couldn't fix it on my own. I literally broke down in my doctors office when she suggested we try out some medicine for three months. Her words really helped though - explaing to me it's an illness just like any other condition, arthritis etc. If I was sick or hurt I'd naturally take medicine - why would I deny taking medicine for this?

At first I didn't notice much of a change - but flash forward three months and it was like a fog had lifted over my head. It was literally as if I had woken up - I don't ever want to live in that fog again. The thought of it actually makes me cringe, it's like being locked up in a cage the majority of your life - and after being set free someone shows you that cage again as a reminder - the sight of the cage makes you sick, makes you cringe. Thus a little white pill everyday - small price to pay in my opinion.

The other side of this coin is it opened up a lot of my family history and conversation with my normally tight lipped mother. Come to find out, depression ran on both sides of my family. After all this happened my mother admitted she had suspected this since I was in high school but didn't really know how to approach me about it. That's understandable, I tend to think I can handle everything myself and don't need her advice.

So this New Years was much improved, sushi with friends followed by champagne and creme brulee with my dear sweet boyfriend, Garland.

I do not use him or any other event in my life as a measurement of happiness, I've always felt happiness comes within, everything else is just icing on the cake. So on to 2009 - happy new year!

PS be looking for the new website - pretty excited to have that in effect.


    thanks for sharing all that. happy new year friend and here's to a great 2009!


    wow, that was an awesome post. super new year to you and garland!