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Sunday, January 25

There's Toad Hiding in My Living Room

Two days ago, as I languished on the end of the couch, I heard the citronella plant in the corner of the living room crinkling.  I thought it was my imagination and tried to ignore it, but it got louder and louder.  My plants live outside from April to October, so there is always the possibility that insects or small critters may set up house in them before they come indoors for winter.  Wondering if there might be something like a venomous snake curled up in the plant beside my head, I got up.

Papa J obliged me by poking at it with a stick.

After removing the layer of autumn leaves scattered in the pot, he checked over the surface of the soil.  There were no small, scheming holes wherein a snake could be coiled.  Papa J told me that it was probably just the leaves settling after the plant had been watered a few hours earlier.   

Today, sans water, there was more rustling.  I watched a section of the leaves lift, something turned around, and burrowed back into the warm, moist soil housing the roots of my citronella plant.   

Of course, this isn't my actual toad.  I am respecting his burrow.

Rest easy, dude.  I will not disturb you.  I understand your need to hibernate.

Seasonal depression is kicking my tush this year.  Someone had to remind me to get a shower yesterday.  I have put off taking the garbage out all day, hoping some magical refuse pixie will do it for me.

In the midst of my depression, I have started a diet, gotten frustrated with that diet, and read articles to satisfactorily debunk said diet so that I don't have to feel guilty about cheating on my diet.  I have bought an aerobics DVD, killed my knee, and thrown away an aerobics DVD.  I have over-analyzed my vitamins and my caffeine intake.  I have also researched a hundred ways to make money from home.  Depression makes me think that I am safe and self-sufficient in the cocoon of my apartment.  I am convinced that I can fix all of my problems without leaving my couch.

It's not true.  Sometime in February I will understand that, but for now I am certain I'm on to something.

Pacing the same 800 square feet of apartment everyday makes you a little quirkier, a tad looney-er, than usual.  Probably lazier, too.  I have started and deleted a dozen blog posts, convinced that they don't fit the grand re-launch I have in mind (or a nap comes over me and I lose interest).  I have dried the same load of laundry four times in two days, because I truly think I will fold it after the buzzer goes off THIS time.  I have scraped together meals from food at the very back of the cupboard, because I'll be damned if lunch is going to make me leave my apartment.  I have yelled at my children for perfectly normal kid-stuff during the day, and then handed over control of the remote for the night to make amends.  

I don't sleep until about 2am, but dutifully rise at 6am to get Doodle Bug ready for school.  I hope I can keep that going until the sunshine brings my soul back to my body. 

How I envy the toad in my living room.  He can exist happily in his toadiness.   I, a biped, must struggle against my inner toad.  I must deny him when he gains too much ground.  I must crawl out of my warm burrow and pretend that I am functional.

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Friday, January 9

I'll Have a Blue January

Mama Stacey, like 10% of American adults, suffers from clinical depression.  Mine is triggered every January.  I will not say that I have been diagnosed with SAD (seasonal affective disorder), however I feel it when the cold and darkness creep in.  I don't want to clean my home, which I am usually obsessive over (my hair ties are organized by size).  I don't want to cook meals for my family, a normal sense of pride for me.   I nap at the drop of a hat.  Blogging has been something that I start and never finish. 

In NW Pennsylvania, there are bursts of cold/dark/snow/sleet from mid October until mid March (sometimes longer).  Paganism and my family help me during the beginning of this darkness.  Samhain and Halloween start a flurry of activity that keeps my "blueness" at bay.  November houses Thanksgiving, holiday gift shopping (shopping therapy is real thing for me), wine tastings, and Doodle Bug's birthday.  December goes by in a blink of holidays and family and food and baking and bright lights and laughter.  I LOVE the season... until New Year's Day. 

The morning of January first always starts a downward slope, one where the only things I have to look forward to are the taking down of decorations and clearing out the evidence of the holiday's chaos.  I love it at first, the quiet and stillness.  The bluish-white light of winter filters through the windows.  My houseplants show new growth, bouncing back after being pulled inside for the season.  We fill our home with fresh produce and herbal teas, after months of heavy starchy foods and alcohol.  It is a cleansing time of epsom salt baths and solitude.  Even as I type it, this change sounds appealing, but it quickly fades. 

I look out over the coming year and feel fear.  I feel how tired I am and how overwhelmed I am at the tasks to be taken on over the next 52 weeks.  I should be excited at moving to a house.  I should be excited about regaining access to yoga and water therapy.  I should be happy at the freedoms that await me, at the wonders to share with Baby E, about the adventures to have with Doodle Bug. 

Yet... I am not. 

This is what it is to be depressed.  It is looking out on pure bliss and wanting to turn away from it. 

My logical mind knows that this is all chemical.  I know that if I keep taking my D vitamins and getting adequate rest that I will ride this out.  I will try to keep up the house as best I can.  I will spend many a day watching Netflix.  I will build with blocks while Baby E knocks them down.  I will help Doodle Bug sound out Dr. Seuss books.  I will tune out Papa J while he babbles about video games. 

I will.