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Holidays and Depression

I am truly blessed with wonderful people in my life.

Since my parents passed away in 2000, each year the holidays have had a different affect on me. 

I still continued the tradition of the tree and cooking, but I slowly stopped enjoying the holidays. It became noticeable when my grandchildren moved out of our home.

The last two years I even stopped cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Instead my son and I started a new tradition: Famous Dave's Calhoun location Thanksgiving brunch.  Mr. Man would go home to Chicago and I stayed back since I work the day after and do the online Black Friday shopping  :).  The idea of cooking a large dinner started to become overwhelming for me.

Last Thanksgiving I had a nervous breakdown. I couldn't control my feelings. One minute I was angry and the next a big ball of tears on the floor. Mr. Man broke every speed limit to come home. He was very worried for me and wasn't sure what I would be capable of doing. To be honest, I am not even sure. This was foreign territory for me. I know when he came home it was a huge relief.

After that episode, I decided it was time to get some professional help. I was blessed with an awesome primary family physician, Dr. Tara Kelly who told me about the D.I.A.M.O.N.D. program. Stands for Depression Improvement Across Minnesota, Offering a New Direction. 

I was assigned a wonderful care manager, Rosemary Wallace who pointed me to the right direction, Colleen Halley who is a wonderful psychotherapist. I was diagnosed with Sever Stress/Anxiety Disorder. Between the wonderful support staff and the medication, I have found a way to find enjoyment in life. I have taken their advice and started to open my eyes to the things that make me happy so I may recreate that feeling.

  • My first step was purchasing my furbaby, Samia. Since I had to put my last furbaby to sleep 9 years ago due to liver failure, I refused to have another pet to avoid the painful experience of losing something I loved. 
  • In the Spring, we purchased a new home versus living in a rental townhome.  I missed having a house, privacy, and freedom of owning.  Thus, the gardening and other things I am planning.  Mr. Man tried to veto the garden, but he knew that was a losing battle, just like the purchase of Samia.
  • Now I have my blog www.reflectionswithrhonda.com because I enjoy writing and research.  This is where I started researching and writing about my discoveries of food, the juicing, and cooking gluten-free.  One of my Facebook friends said they liked the information I was sharing and another helped me pick a name for my webpage.

I still have my moments that I battle and have had to widen my resources to see a psychiatrist this month.  Apparently it isn't normal to hear voices, feel someone touching you, or the weight of a stare at the back of your head.  :)  My oldest said maybe I should open my mind a little more; it could be someone trying to communicate with me....  Who knows, I will leave it to the professionals because it really interrupts my sleep.

I have found myself looking forward to Christmas this year. I credit alot of this happiness to Colleen Halley.  I now look at even the simplest things and find the joy.  Examples:

Mr. Man and I got on the same schedule, things have been so much more pleasant. We wake up and go to sleep at the same time now. In the morning we are actually playful and teasing.  I simply LOVE our morning routine.

My grandchildren may be TNT when they are together, but watching them sing, play, grow, and our conversations brings a warmth to my heart that I cannot explain.

My oldest son has opened his eyes and realized his mother is truly the only person who is there for him when times gets tough.  He has started to appreciate me and realized that I am 80% correct and should have listened to me.  We now have fantastic conversations.

My youngest has also realized that he really only has me.  He has started to show that he appreciates me and now asks me if there is anything he can help with around the house.  Normally he does what I ask....  We are planning quality time together.  He enjoys working with his hands, so we are looking into a ceramics class and the DIY projects: soap, lotion, sugar scrub, deodarant, and lip balm.

I enjoy watching the silly stuff my furbaby does.  She brings me joy.  She has grown just as big as our Pomeranian, Taz.  She tends to tackle him and it is hysterical to watch those two chase each other around the house.

The view from my bedroom, living room and family room is a pond.  I find my peaceful moments meditating in my room, petting my furbaby, and watching the geese on the pong.  Very relaxing.

Christmas was always my favorite time of year: decorating, baking and shopping are all the things that I love. Something is finally brining me back to my old self. I am not sure if it the juicing, the medication, or just the peaceful harmony we are achieving in our home. Whatever it is, I am thankful for it.

This holiday I have under control.  I am not feeling overwhelmed; did my Christmas shopping online with the Black Friday flash sales.  no lines, no crowds, and not the feeling of being overwhelmed.  I even know what I am cooking for dinner and have it planned out in my mind.  Already decorated the Christmas tree, have the banister decorated, a wreath on the door, and a beautiful centerpiece.

I know the juicing has given me a lot more energey. I feel like superwoman. For example, last night I dropped my phone off at Sprint to get repaired, checked Mr. Man's business mailbox, picked up Yang's, fed the family (including the pets), washed 3 loads of laundry, organized my jewelry, wrapped Christmas presents, hand-washed dishes, put them away, cleaned kitchen, and made my juice for today.  Normally I would have come straight home - might have dropped the phone off - and went straight to bed.

This morning I woke up and made the bed with Mr. Man, took care of the cat and dog, woke up 2 kids, sent money to my oldest son, dropped kids off at school and came to work - still smiling. Normally I would have still took care of the pets, woke up kids, and take them to school; however, I would not have done anything spectacular or had a smile on the face.  So, yes the juicing has given me a boost and may be a reason for the changes in attitude as well. 

Now to start squeezing the gym into the schedule. After bending over and wrapping presents, I have discovered I desperately need to work on my core because my back was killing me!

Many suffer from depression and do not even realize it.  I know I didn't.  I have survived the death of my parents 4 months apart, a miscarriage, and divorce all within one year. I didn't breakdown as I did in November 2011.  So you can imagine my surprise when the simplest thing like getting out of bed was a challenge or sitting in a ball crying on the kitchen floor with your dog licking your face.  I may have survived, but slowly lost my enjoyment in life.

Look at your life and write a journal or a blog of the things you do daily that you find enjoyment in; could be something as simple as making a fantastic french toast in the morning.  This is the only way you can find your way back to happiness.

My loved ones in my home, furbaby's, my friends, and fantastic support team are the reason why I am happy today.  I am truly blessed.

Photo by Primitive family.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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