Down in the Dumps

Where I come from, when one is feeling low they might say they’re down in the dumps. Now the dumps can be a mighty sad place to be. We throw our trash into the DUMPster. It’s hauled away to the DUMPground, where it’s unceremoniously DUMPed into massive holes and covered up along with the trash of others.

I’ve been to the dumps. I’ve hauled detritus from a derelict house, parts from an old truck, the carcasses of unfixable motorcycles. And I have to say I’ve never found the dumps terribly depressing. Instead, I think they might be a place where the slate gets wiped clean.

Today I found myself feeling a little unloved, unnoticed, unappreciated. I’d almost say I was down in the dumps. Except that would be a happier place than what I was experiencing.

This too shall pass.

Holiday Blahs

Ho Ho Ho, and all that jazz. It’s not quite bah, humbug, but it’s not that far off either.

My seasonal depression keeps me from fully embracing the spirit of the upcoming season, and this year feels a bit worse than any I can recall from recent memory. There’s no mystery as to why I’m feeling low–it’s knowing I won’t see my kids and grandkids at Thanksgiving or Christmas that’s weighing me down. It’ll just be Studly and me for both holidays.

The Christmas just after my mom died in late October, 1997, was worse than this, though. I still feel the weight of her loss during the holiday season more than any time of the year.

Some days it feels like a block of anguish around my neck, dragging me down, forming an insurmountable barrier to getting out of bed. Other days her absence is just a touch on my forehead, a reminder of what I miss most–my mother’s ability to make the pain go away.

The Christmas season comes with so many expectations. We should be happy and joyful, surrounded by the ones we love. But many will be alone and some will be depressed even in the midst of a happy crowd. If anyone needs a hug, I’ll send a virtual one.

Based on my previous experiences, I’ll manage to pull myself together before December 25, but until then don’t expect my happiest self. I’m just bah humbugging along for now.

Peace, and hang in there, people.

Things I Didn’t Do This Weekend

Things I Didn’t Do This Weekend

By Leslie Noyes

This weekend I didn’t decorate my house for the holidays, but neither did I run naked through the neighborhood.

On Saturday I didn’t bake cookies, but neither did I shave my head and paint it berserker blue.

I don’t think I cried, but then I really don’t think I laughed, either.

I purposely did not attempt to slide down any banisters; although, I was tempted to throw myself down a staircase.

I’m trying hard to balance the good with the bad, you see. I’m still here. Wondering if that’s good. Or bad.

Under a Cloud

Lately I feel like I’m living under a cloud. Not a happy, fluffy cloud, but not a threatening one, either. Just a cloud.

Well, that one is a little too cute, and vaguely resembles a politician, but you get my drift.

Am I depressed? Maybe. Fall is always a tough time for me. My mom passed away on a beautiful fall day 22 years ago, and since her death I view the season with mixed emotions. Fall has always been my favorite time of year, but some days, like this one, it’s difficult to muster the energy to get out of bed.

Thank goodness I have some upcoming events to prepare for, forcing me to get a move on, otherwise I’d burrow beneath my covers and perhaps never emerge again. That’s pretty pitiful, am I right?

I know this all will pass. Today just seems very hard–and it’s only 7:30 a.m. Thanks for reading. Some days writing this blog is my motivation to participate in life. Now go away little cloud.

Peace people.

Packed Away

Once I was the new dress, swirls of dark blue on pure white cotton, crisp and suited for summer soirées.

The favorite, I found delight in being washed by hand and then pinned to the clothesline to dry under the warm sun.

I drew compliments from strangers and friends, alike, and I relaxed in the pleasure of being worn, washed, and dried,

Until the day my colors faded and the white no longer looked sharp. I was assessed and found wanting before being

Packed away and relegated to a cardboard box marked for donation. My hopes now lie in resurrection from a thrift bin.

‘Round the Bend

Crazy is as crazy does, the will to live is stronger

Pour out the tea, pour up the rum, the nights are getting longer

Early darkness crowds around, the hour’s barely five

And we throw stones to prove for once that we’re all still alive.

I was made of sterner stuff when once I lived a southern life

But these winter days, cold north wind haze, cut me like a jagged knife.

Build up the fire for pity’s sake, and turn on all the lights

My sanity is near an end and I’m all out of fight.

Looking Ahead

Post-election depression has put a real damper on my Christmas spirit. I’ve shopped and wrapped gifts, partaken of eggnog, and watched hours of Hallmark Channel movies, but I’m really just going through the motions. A future with Trump in the White House seems too horrible for contemplation. Alas, barring a last minute miracle, that stark reality seems to be in store. 

But I’m not a gloom and doom person at heart, so I’ve made a list of things that will definitely lift my spirits:

  1. Hugs from the grandchildren
  2. Large quantities of wine
  3. Hanging out with my kids
  4. More wine
  5. Having my mother-in-law, Saint Helen, with us for Christmas
  6. Did I mention wine?
  7. Studly Doright’s love and support
  8. And wine
  9. Cat kisses
  10. Cheers!

I feel better already.

Sanity Box

She’d chosen her own box,
Crystal clear lucite walls;
Sturdy and impermeable.

Easy, she found, to watch
A world come undone from
The confines of the enclosure.

Breathing became difficult,
But over time she found that
Didn’t matter much anymore.

The world irrevocably changed
Safe places now menacing
The monsters made normal.

Thank heaven for the box
Her only wish was that
She’d made it smaller.

A Death in the Family

She lived a good life
Protected and nurtured us
Now lost forever

Yet birds keep flying
The sun continues to shine
Heedless of her death

Our grief is immense
Life, though, continues apace
While this old world turns

I’ve been asked repeatedly today how I feel about Trump winning the election. Truthfully I feel like there has been a death in my immediate family. Ultimately I know we will be alright, but right now I’m experiencing a deep grief.

I spent a sleepless night in which my thoughts circled relentlessly like a dog chasing its tail, and I recalled reading Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s book, On Death and Dying, in which she introduced the five stages of grief:

  1. denial, 
  2. anger, 
  3. bargaining, 
  4. depression, and 
  5. acceptance

From my psychiatry courses in college (where a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing) I remember that one can cycle through these stages in a variety of ways unique to each individual. 

I ran through denial pretty quickly. The numbers were there. And while it was heartening to note that Hillary won the popular vote, Trump undeniably took the electoral college votes. 

Anger is my current companion. I’m not angry at Trump or his supporters so much as I’m angry at their willful ignorance. They don’t care that he has no real plans to implement his policies. They like him because he’s not a career politician, and he isn’t politically correct. 

I’m angry at the registered voters who just didn’t show up. I’m angry at those who used their votes to protest by voting for non-viable candidates. I’m angry at the subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle voter suppression tactics that were employed in several states.

I can’t imagine there’ll be much bargaining involved, but depression is anger’s little sister and I’m going to do everything in my power to avoid going down that rabbit hole. Today I smiled at everyone I saw and hugged a woman at work who supported Trump. Little steps.

Acceptance? That’s going to take awhile. But I won’t be like those conservatives who disrespected President Obama and actively rooted for his failure these past eight years. I’m going to support Trump as our president while continuing to fight for the rights of all those living in our country: health care, reproductive rights, racial and gender equality, etc. 

I know other bloggers have addressed this much more eloquently than I, but I think the healing starts when we lay it all on the line. This piece was part of my healing process. Maybe it will help someone else along the way.

Peace, people.

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