Lately, I’ve bailed on several social gatherings and community events. I have every intention of attending right up until it is time to get ready and go. Then, I look in my closet full of too-small clothes and out the window at the falling darkness and steep steps. I envision the hour-long drive on winding roads. And, suddenly, become so exhausted that the only place I want to go is to the couch to watch Food Network or some show about surviving in the tundra. Instead of delicious hors-d'oeuvres or farm-to-table fare, I settle for leftover chili, straight from the fridge. Who has the energy to heat it up? Besides, what’s the point? It’ll just get cold again, anyway. A couple of hours later, guilt creeps in and gnaws at me like a hyperactive squirrel with titanium teeth. Then, fear declares, “By the time you get back to your life in Lexington, you won’t have a life there anymore.”
When I described this to a friend, she said, “You obviously are suffering from situational depression.”
“No, I’m not. I’m just feeling perpetually tired, overwhelmed by the tiniest task, afraid of the future, and have a general lack of enthusiasm for…well…everything.”
“Textbook. Look it up,” she replied.
So, I did. EverydayHealth.com explains that, “When a stressful situation is particularly hard to cope with, we react with symptoms of sadness, fear, or even hopelessness — a type of reaction that’s often referred to as situational depression.”
So what are these “stressful situations” to which they are referring? I turned to Google and found several articles on the topic. The general consensus is that the following are the major culprits: death of a loved one; divorce/marriage, moving (selling/buying property); major injury/illness; and job loss/demotion/promotion. Overall, change, whether bad or good, is the gremlin that gets inside your soul and sucks out all the joy.
Son-of-a-Bitch! No wonder I’m having a harder time than usual. In the five years since Frank and I have been together, we’ve done each of these multiple times. We have gone to the funerals of three human beings we adored, one of which died while we were performing CPR. I got divorced. We got married. Together, we have moved a total of four times, which involved selling two houses, buying two houseboats, buying lake property, selling two houseboats, and buying a floating house. Two weeks into our marriage, Frank basically broke all the bones in his right ankle and was out of commission for six months. Then, I had to have a LEEP procedure on my lady parts. On the job front, I was the Career Center Director for a college, then the editor of a magazine, and then we started an HVAC company, and I went back to freelancing and the daunting task of writing a decent third novel.
We went from living in downtown Lexington where we were surrounded on all sides by hot spots and cool people to an isolated cove in the middle of nowhere where we are surrounded by a fickle, fucking lake that refuses to stay at one water level. Don’t get me wrong, there are some fabulous folks down here, but they’re just not that accessible.
So, this Christmas, my gift to myself is a fricking break. I’ll do what I can. I’ll let the rest go. I may show up with some scrumptious appetizer and homemade hostess gift. I may show up with a bag of pork rinds in my pajamas. I may not show up at all. But, I’ll be sending my warmest wishes to you and yours throughout this holiday season…even if it’s from my couch between cups of spiked hot chocolate and episodes of “Alaskan Bush People.”
the bourbonistA, Promoting Debauchery and stamping out political-correctness one blog at a time.