A preface to my writing. I am cleaning out my “drafts.” I often start writing things, but then stop writing and never finish because I censor myself. Because sometimes it is difficult to share certain ideas, beliefs, creations. Writing and art put the creator in an extremely vulnerable space. Some people are better at taking criticism than others, some are better at brushing off ridiculously mean criticisms than others, and some people prefer anonymity. So, that being said, I believe what I wrote below I wrote in a darker moment. I struggle with winter (which I’m fairly certain means that I have SAD), and given that last year was one of the most depressing and extended winters I have had in memory, I started writing this last April/May.
Clinical depression. I don’t think that we as a society talk enough about it. I’m not a doctor, a psychiatrist, a therapist, nor do I see one. Which doesn’t mean I don’t think I should. I’m just habitually untrusting of most doctors because I’ve had so many who don’t care, or who care more about pushing their ideals and beliefs that I never want to see them again, or who don’t care to get to know me and treat me as an individual instead of another patient x with symptoms xyz for another procedure zed. Or maybe they don’t have the time or the energy. I just feel overlooked and viewed as a dollar sign every time I’m told to take this or that drug or have this procedure for that test, and I feel alienated. It has been two years since I’ve seen a doctor for any reason, except that time I tried out a chiropractor, which left me feeling better for a day, but ultimately feeling used for my checkbook when the bill was double what I was told it would be in the beginning. I hoard my inhalers so I won’t have to worry about getting a new prescription. I buy over-the-counter allergy meds, which do a decent job. And as far as I know, I have no life threatening illnesses (
as far as I know). I’d much rather go to the dentist (which I also hate, but try to go at least annually if not the recommended every 6 months), but at least I know he has my best interests in mind, and he is kind and understanding (yes, this is my dentist I am talking about, and I would be happy to get you his contact information if you need a new one [except edit- I just found out he’s retiring]).
But. Back to depression. I don’t know much about clinical depression because I’ve never been “clinically” depressed, because I’d never go to a doctor who could tell me if I was depressed. I’m fairly certain I have seasonal affective disorder; in the least the Minnesota winters make me emotionally unstable (if you know me well enough, you probably know this). We all have different demons to face, and I am blatantly ignoring and refusing to face mine.
And that was all I wrote at the time. I’ve had a lot of events happen in my life in the past six months. I don’t even know how to quantify the last six months of my life (because”six months” doesn’t do it). Each day is a new day and a different day (and not in a cliche way, it just is). Some days are better and I am at the top of the world. Some days are bad and I must fight myself against lashing out or crawling into the deep recesses of self-loathing. It feels oddly personal and impersonal to lay it all out on a blog. This bizarre space in which I write something that I want outsiders, strangers, to read, but I feel uncomfortable knowing that people I know will read it. But growth comes from forcing yourself outside that comfort zone, so I am trying to practice being uncomfortable.
I am in a better state of mind as I stand on the edge of another winter, braced for impact. But I feel stronger because last winter hit so hard. My ill preparedness has helped me build a stronger base and stronger walls (I hope). The unusual thing about the time that has passed between May and now is that I usually look to the summer as a restorative time. A time where I must absorb as much sun, life, and energy as possible, to last me through the hibernation of cold, cloudy, and lifelessness. But this summer, poised to spend a month hiking through the restorative nature of the Superior Forest, I was violently ripped from my journey. Reading this old post now, the irony is not lost on me that I was then forced into a world controlled and dominated by doctors and nurses. The ER. The hospital. I was forced to seek follow up blood work by my weak condition. And in this I found my ability to trust healthcare workers again. Not all, but some. My gratitude to my paramedics is probably more than they will know. Or to the nurse who made sure I had something I wanted to eat and drink (Fig Newtons and a mix of cranberry and apple juice). Or to the new doctor I discovered who I have only met once and talked with a few times, but her kindness and honesty with me makes her the best doctor I have ever seen. My time following my hospitalization was a struggle (an understatement). I still yearn for some rejuvenation through wilderness. I still feel a bit lost. But being in the midst of fourth quarter, I guess I don’t really have time for all of that (my brain doesn’t have time or room for it). And today is a good day. Not a mountain top kind of a day, just a calm and controlled kind of day.
So, I will take each day as its own. And maybe that will help.