Winter is coming. The cold is inconvenient, but the loss of light does things to my mood that are unpredictable and barely under my control – it exacerbates monthly hormonal fluctuations in sanity in ways that I cannot tolerate. I am holding onto threads with the tips of my fingers, trying to keep myself from unraveling.
I won’t call it depression, because I’ve read and seen what full blown major depression is and can do and I don’t want to diminish that suffering by comparing it to mine. I will say that I get minor depression if there is such a thing and this year I caught it while it was still only the fatigue that precedes a low grade depression which can last all season for me if I’m not careful.
Every year it happens and every year I’m surprised. Once I recognize what it is and that it’s not completely random, I take a day or two to regroup, take it easy, lie around – this can be tricky because I could easily fall into just letting the lethargy win, but I find that just giving myself permission to feel crappy for a couple of days helps a great deal, takes off the guilt for all the things I’m not accomplishing and makes me easier to be around.
Then I rally my diminishing energy and I start making lists. Lists of things that help. Obvious things, things that come easily the rest of the year. I don’t think I’ve shared this here before, but please excuse my mental fog if I have.
- get dressed every day
- shower regularly
- brush teeth
- go outside
- exercise outside
- turn off t.v. and computer – this is seriously the hardest thing
- accomplish something – even a small thing
- clean or organize something, anything, even a small thing
- maintain current caffeine consumption – do not increase or decrease until this thing is under control
- no matter how tired you are, unless there’s a good physical reason (pregnancy?), do not nap during the day
- lights out by eleven
- eat something healthy – protein and fresh vegetables
Sometimes I can’t do all of these things at once, but I keep it as a checklist to make sure I’m moving in the right direction. Going outside and exercising are biggies for me. Fortunately, my kids make me get up every day. And my chickens are getting me out of the house. Once I’m out, it’s easy to stay out a while because it is so refreshing.
I also try to remember to take melatonin before bed because it seems to keep me from waking repeatedly from every little bump and creak in the house.
And I have a placebo light. I don’t know if a placebo still works if the user acknowledges it may be a placebo, so maybe there’s really something to this, because it does seem to help. I get up in the black morning, turn on the coffee maker that I have moved to my bedroom and set up the night before, prop this thing up on the end of my bed and try not to look directly at it.
So that’s pretty much it. I just shut off my light a minute ago and now a little boy is demanding breakfast so see ya!
What do you call a rock studier? Is that a geologist? OK, if any geologist happens to happen upon this blog will you please tell me: what is this weird thing my son found in the creek?
I think we had about a week of grammar study when I was in school and I was probably absent for two days of it. I’m pretty sure, though, that I was taught that it is incorrect to change the grammatical person mid-thought – that pronouns must agree with antecedents. (Though I just had to google the exact phrasing there. It’s hard to talk about things whose names one doesn’t know!)
I read “he” to be either gender specific or gender neutral depending on context. I read “she” as gender specific. And I read “they” as wrong unless plural is actually meant and agrees with the antecedent. I accept that there is no gender neutral pronoun indicating a human (“it” doesn’t count), the same way I accept that there is no second person plural, as a limitation of the English language. A limitation isn’t always a bad thing, but it does mean that certain ideas are better expressed in some languages than in others. Am I right, ya’ll?
My younger sister who is currently a senior in college told me a few weeks ago that the rules regarding the agreement between pronoun and antecedent have changed, and that “they” is now acceptable as a gender-neutral singular, but I figured this is some kind of young people’s fad.*
So when I read this
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.
Matthew 16:24-25, NIV
in our church bulletin yesterday, I thought someone was paraphrasing at will and presenting it as actual translation. I even checked it against the NIV bible in the pew to see if it really had such glaring grammatical errors. The pew bible did not have that wording, but according to biblegateway, those are the words of the current incarnation of the NIV. Still not my favorite translation, but at least it wasn’t one of my fellow congregants making stuff up.
Lucky for me, my four-year-old had a tantrum at the end of service and we had to split in a jiffy before I could make a fool of myself by confronting the pastor about how wrong it is.
*What. You don’t have random conversations about language and grammar?
May your tumblers be full of wildflowers
wildflowers/pretty weeds plucked and arranged by three handsome fellas
and your arms full of chicken.
boy and bird
Family came to visit this past week and we were BUSY. We stuffed this week so full of fun, we’ll have lots to think about till we meet again. We took hikes in the woods that required sliding down ravines on our backsides. We toasted marshmallows over a bonfire. Grandpa did woodworking with the boys and helped them begin their playhouse. We ate out with a friend and toured her lovely garden. We went to the Strong Museum of Play and took a boat ride on Lake Ontario and up the Genesee River. We bought bread from the Trappist Monks and we had long, late night meals together.
ETA: OH! and we took my mom to one of our favorite places – to see the Upper Falls at Letchworth State Park. We even got her to walk down a gajillion “rustic” stone stairs. Awesome.
I’ve been ignoring Mt. St. Laundry and I have a bit of school planning to do, so I may be gone a little while.
little green frog on the corn – cute, but is he harmful?
fruit on potato plant – weird
a walk on Lake Ontario – enormous and sea-like
kittens on my mind – three weeks old tomorrow.
“Tell us about when you were a little girl,” my children want to know. And I’m afraid I’ve exhausted my supply of childhood stories appropriate for children. Is that irony? I’m never sure.
I’ve told them about lemon ices and pets and fireflies and fire hydrant sprinklers. I’ve told them about camping and Cooperstown and the smell of my father’s bread truck.
But how do I tell them that these few bright stories are memories I had to dig for? That most of my childhood was pretty dark. Not completely somebody-needs-to-go-to-jail dark, but some of it was close and it was certainly not happy. What do I tell them about divorce, extreme bullying, loneliness? What can I say about parents who “date”?
I told them about the time when five-year-old me threw my spinach off the balcony, but I didn’t tell them I was able to do that because I was alone in the apartment – my mother gone to school or work for the night and the babysitter downstairs in her own apartment. and me alone. at five. Sobbing at the sliding glass doors of that balcony, looking in the direction she’d gone – until I noticed two big boys on the street mocking me. Watching Welcome Back Kotter on a tiny t.v. on the floor outside my bedroom until I fell asleep waiting for Mommy to get home. I do sometimes cry for that child. I’m sorry for the self-pity, but it’s true.
I’ve told them that their great-grandfather was a mean man, but I certainly can’t explain how even thirty years after his death, the family still feels the effects of his sickness and cruelty, and that even though I was not a direct victim, I still suffered the trickle-down.
So, looking at the bright side is necessary for me. I seek it out. I focus on it. I hold on to it. I don’t deny the bad stuff, but I cannot dwell on it or it will suck me down.
I have read a lot of criticism of those genuinely pretty blogs for not being “real” enough. Why is it that when a woman creates something lovely, be it a blog or a photo vignette, or even her entire home, other women aren’t happy until she’s exposed as a fraud? As if by creating something beautiful, she has somehow lied about the entirety of her life. It’s the kind of debunking usually only reserved for Christopher Columbus and the Founding Fathers. Is this sexism? If a man published a picture of his tomato garden, I wonder if folks would say, “Yeah, but you should see his bathroom.”
Blogs are not real life. They are a tiny facet. If I post a picture of a flower, I am not denying the trash can. I am choosing to focus on the flower because trash cans are ugly.
There are plenty of reasons to blog and plenty of different kinds of blog. Personally, I like to read pretty, cheerful, homey blogs – not saccharine, mind you, and not propaganda or hate wrapped in cinnamon buns.
Everyone poops, but unless there is a medical emergency, I don’t need to read a blog about it. I have enough of my own poop to deal with, I don’t need to see yours. And unless you can be really funny about it – and some people can be – I don’t want to read about it.