Oh, to be the carefree three-toed sloth.

In my last post I mentioned a bit about my Seasonal Affective Disorder issues. That’s kind of the tip of the proverbial iceberg. As I get older, I am learning more about my own behaviour patterns- paying attention to them, understanding them, anticipating them. I sought therapy (for the first time in my life) about five years ago regarding a serious bout of depression. It was within the first hour with the counsellor that I was asked about ADD/ADHD. So many bells rang as he laid my life out in clinical symptoms, charts, and questionnaires. My family and friends were interviewed. Holy Cow! There was a reason for the way I felt and I finally understood the relationship between my depression and this thing called ADD/ADHD! It was a revelation, certainly. I come from a family line of bi-polar/manic depressives and (especially as I get older) exhibit the recognisable behaviour myself. Of course I never considered mental illness when I was younger- I was just a weirdo. A bit moody and excitable. Just fine. One mustn’t complain, right?

Everyone is different, but for me, my ADD/ADHD tends to flare up and triggers mania, and that mania then triggers clinical depression. There is almost always some sort of choppy sea in my head. Most days I can cope pretty well through an optimistic outlook and learned behaviour to not be so hard on myself. Although I’m generally a happy person, I’m also the master at make-believe happiness.
This winter, however, is kicking my ass.
Hard. In cleats.
My usual tricks and tactics for coping are less effective. I’ve had it bad before, and not that I keep a record, but this is a really long stretch of it. This week has been particularly difficult and I’ve had several days of tears. It’s been messy and not entirely predictable. I haven’t been medicated for ADD/ADHD for three years. They have been, at times and from a mental health point of view, a very trying three years.

I’m doing my best to keep up and blog, write, work, and do all the other life-bits that need attention every day or week, but it’s not been an easy couple of months, and definitely not an easy last couple of weeks. Smiles are less frequent. Writing is at a near standstill. I am as energetic as a three-toed sloth… in a coma. I sleep as much as I can. I would like to be sleeping now (it’s not even 9pm). I’m watching life go by and feel mostly disconnected from it. The oppressively dreary weather outside only adds to the feeling of a floating, grey and blurry, separation from the rest of the world around me. Dammit! What I wouldn’t do for a week of sunshine!

I suppose this hasn’t been a fun post to read, but it’s been an important one for me to write. I got a bit out. I needed that.
Thank you.

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15 thoughts on “Oh, to be the carefree three-toed sloth.”

  1. Jen,

    Look at ryanair, cheap cheap flights to places that offer a glimpse of sun, for pennies. If you fancy La Rochelle (sunny today), I know a place you guys can stay a day or two FOC, not always sun guaranteed, but it helps break the gloom. It will get better soon..spring coming..


  2. “Iβ€šΓ„Γ΄m also the master at make-believe happiness” I hear you Jen, I’ve been living with depression for the past 7 years. There is no hiding place because it is always ready to sneak up behind you. The support of those around you, no matter how much you reject it, is the difference between locking away how you feel and having the courage to write as you just have. There is no magic wand that can be waved but always remember you are not alone, reach out whenever you need to.

  3. The one good thing that has come out of your on and off stays in Hell is that now you can understand my life. I know when you were much younger you couldn’t. It truly isn’t a thing that can be understood without experiencing it. But I would much rather neither of us had the experience to understand!

    I love you my baby nutcase, and I’m so sorry I passed this on to you…just as I know my Dad was sorry he passed it to me.

  4. Feel useless of course, there’s nothing to say but thought I’d just let you know I read it.

    BTW, if you can face it, my blog today pretends I’m depressed, as it’s officially Blue Monday. Probably won’t help, but it won’t kill you either.


  5. Thank you everyone. I slept in (again) today and feel oddly alive now. I’m gonna ride it and see where it goes.

    @Kevin – thank you for the suggestion and lead on a place to stay. There’s no reason I couldn’t slip away for a few days… hmmm.

    @Martin – thank you for the support. I’ve always blogged for myself first (otherwise I’d be crazier still!) and to know that it connects with others when I tackle the serious stuff feels really good.

    @Natalie – * hugs * back to you girlie!

    @Mom – I know that if Papaw could’ve passed on a donut restaurant instead, life would be far different, but that’s not what we were dealt and that’s the way it goes. Truly, my understanding is a lot better than it used to be. And for the record, I love being your “baby nutcase.” πŸ™‚

    @DaddyP – like you could keep me away…

  6. @Daddy P.
    You’re allowed to feel useless if it makes you feel useful, but never feel guilty:)
    A cheery wave to you, too.

  7. hey Jen,

    Can you blunt Seasonal Affective Disorder (best acronym ever) by changing the type of lighting you use indoors to something closer to sunlight?

    Take care, and don’t be hard on yourself πŸ™‚


  8. This is a yet another ‘me too’ post. I’ve been diagnosed with depression for around 4 years now.

    Although there are various pieces of advice I could give, but the most universal thing I’ve found is not to let yourself get trapped by it.

    When you are depressed it can be very easy to disconnect from the world and retreat into your room, but this isn’t the only way you can be trapped. Constantly repeating the same routine, because you trust it and know its safe can be just as trapping – get up, go to work, come home, sleep. Wash rinse repeat.

    If you feel like this then do somethign different. If you feel upto it go and do something exciting, if you don’t feel you can cope try driving home by a different route, going to Sainsbury’s instead of Tesco.

    Anything to make yourself feel that you’ve done more than just survive the day.

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