I worked in a restaurant for many years. Our management team always used to tell us to, “fear the fine,” which meant to dig deeper to make a customer happy if they replied that the meal was “fine.”
As I lay in bed tonight, I repeat to myself over and over, “I’m fine! Everything is great!” That is, until I remember to fear the fine. Isn’t it odd how things that seemed so insignificant in our lives creep up at the most unexpected, yet perfect times?
Today was an ordinary day. Nothing in particular occurred to upset me. I woke up, drank enough water, spent time with my daughter, and taught yoga and pilates. I did this all with energy and a merry smile on my face.
What you would never know if I didn’t tell you, was that since the minute I woke up, until the moment I went to sleep, I felt heaviness, complete exhaustion, and all the aches and pains of my years of dance and over doing everything in life. I felt all of this exacerbated times 10.
Here’s the thing about me. I’m very good at faking it till I make it. I’m seasoned at expending all my positive energy when I know it will benefit me. I go and go, and make sure everything I need to get done gets completed, and then I crash. I crash hard.
The last two weekends I’ve spent wrapped up under a blanket on my couch, besides the few hours I worked. It’s not the, “sometimes you just need to rest” wrapped under a blanket. It’s more of the, “I physically and mentally don’t have the energy to get up” wrapped under a blanket.
This is embarrassing for me to admit. Especially when I see Suzy from high school’s Instagram stories. She is crushing it at mom life. Their family weekends look like pure magic. Then there’s me, depressed and anxious for no apparent reason. Slowly watching my kid’s childhood float by as each day passes.
I have one child. After a very rough dance with my mental health in the months and years following her arrival earth side, I decided she would remain my one child. Then the day came when I started feeling like this one kid thing wasn’t what I wanted. I told myself I needed to get it together. I’m generally healthy, young, and I should have another kid. I can’t keep using my issues as an excuse. I’ll just regret it down the road.
Enter the cooler months and the shorter days. Since age 15, I’ve had the “winter blues” starting in November and going until about March. Usually, I can chalk it up to a particular event or annoyance that someone else is bringing into my life. This year, there’s nothing. Nothing and no one for me to blame or hide my reality behind, and yet my winter blues are the worst they’ve ever been. In all honesty, this is a gift as it’s pushing me to be proactive and get help instead of spending another year blaming it on something superficial.
So off to the psychiatrist I go. Yes, I know essential oils can help. Yes, I know the importance of diet. Yes, I know about vitamins. Exercise, meditation, you name it. I have done and continue to do it all. I owe the fact that I’ve gotten this far and have avoided completely de-railing my life, to all of the above mentioned natural supports. But I come from a long line of depression and anxiety, and if taking a pill can help me not feel like this every day for the rest of my life, then please give me this pharmaceutical fix.
So if you see me, or a friend, or a colleague who is withdrawn, irritable, avoidant, please do not write us off as being rude, and please don’t take it personally. I find myself being super irritable and withdrawn this time of year, and it has nothing to do with anyone but myself. Please be kind. Please don’t assume. Please pick up the phone and send a quick text or call to that friend you think has been ignoring you. Please remember we are all just doing our best, and everyone’s best looks a bit different.