For the past couple of weeks, I have been appallingly unproductive in the writing and content creating department. Sure, I have posted about my new weekly baking challenge (two whole weeks in!) but that’s about it. In fact, I guess I have been on this productivity downward spiral since right before Christmas. I’m not proud of it, but the people whom I have complained to about this block I am going through have reminded me that it is best to be kind to yourself, and to give yourself the leniency and respect that you would show someone else in a similar situation.
Kindness; leniency; respect. Such seemingly small words; so easy to type, to know what they mean, and to put the actions they stand for into practice with your family, friends, and even co-workers and colleagues. I try to be kind to everyone in my life and to show them the respect that they deserve as fellow human beings. I think it’s easy to be good to other people. My problem comes in when someone reminds me that maybe I am not being so kind to myself. And I haven’t been; not lately.
I have struggled with severe depression for more than half of my life now. I remember feeling the onset of depression symptoms as an early adolescent, and I went full-swing crazy by the time I was 17. I had decided that I wasn’t going to go to school anymore and was ultimately kicked out once I turned 18 and had missed more than 20 days in one quarter. I got my GED less than a year after leaving high school. At 18 I was fueled by nothing more than a hard rebellious streak, having no idea who I was, and not necessarily knowing how to make an informed, logical judgment call. I moved out of my family’s house and in with my best friend at the time and her mom. I was there all the time anyway, so moving my stuff in didn’t feel like such a big change–at the time. Within six months I had a steady job and my first apartment. It seemed like every time I made an illogical, drastic change, I spent the next six months to a year cleaning it up. It was a pattern that I can clearly see now, but that doesn’t stop my brain from going into the same “let’s change everything!” mentality even today. You know, now when I was supposed to have learned that changing something, or everything, doesn’t make me happier (it actually scares me more than most things; change makes me vulnerable and I really try to not do vulnerable as a general rule in life) and it doesn’t make life or anything in it better. But still, my brain persists. Every winter.
This hindsight has taught me one thing about my past and the not-so-great decisions I have made in my life; the decisions that I still emotionally beat myself up for and am still sometimes made to feel guilty about by my family. I have learned that while yes, I was young and young people don’t always make the best decisions (or even good decisions), I was actually experiencing the grim reality of what happens when seasonal affective disorder and severe depression collide. And I still experience it, every year, from the time the temperature drops outside into freezing, getting worse as soon as there is a blanket of snow on the ground, and it persists until spring rolls back around, awakening everything that is beautiful in life.
A couple of days ago I received a domain renewal notice for Woman Tribune. Nearly five years ago, the answer to my need for a change in my life was this website. Last year, on February 8th, my fiance and I moved into our own home. I suppose not all drastic changes that I have decided to make in my life during the winter have been bad, but it is a pattern that I am finally seeing and learning to be cautious of with my logical brain, instead of blinding acting on every whim that seems like a great idea with my mental illness brain.
So I haven’t been productive around here over the last few weeks, and all of this is why. It’s winter, we have had below freezing weather and two snow storms in the past month, and I can’t bring myself to focus on anything other than obsessing over housework, baking up a storm, and I did some coding the first week of January which turned into the new layout you see here.
So why did I feel compelled to let you all in on the inner workings of a part of my brain that I am not exactly comfortable sharing? Well, if I didn’t write about it then I wouldn’t be able to fully explain why I haven’t been here as much as I was before winter kicked it into high gear. And since I’m not writing about anything else, why not write about this?
I have a few new posts lined up that I am pretty excited about, and let’s hope the “winter doldrums” (I find that term much more upbeat than seasonal affective disorder) ease up on me just a little bit. I would like to be able to breathe a sigh of semi-relief soon.