I try to keep my sadness hid

Thanksgiving is tomorrow.

When I think about Thanksgiving, I think of food — of course! — and I think of the obligatory mental essay that’s left over from elementary school assignment hell. “What are you thankful for this year? (this week-this millenium-this month-this insertyourfavoritemeasureoftime)”

We used to do that at the dining room table while we noshed on our feast day feast. We will probably do that again this year, primarily because David, sweet David, is a creature of habit and routine. If David thinks that’s what we do on Thanksgiving, then he is going to do it every Thanksgiving.

A week ago, if you had asked me what I was thankful for, I wouldn’t have been able to answer you. Or I would but my answer would have been: “Nothing.”

Even now, it’s a little difficult for me to do the Gratitude thing. It’s one of those I-know-I-should-but-I-don’t-feel-like-it things. Like a lot of things these days.

See, thanks to my loving daughters, I have finally faced up to the fact that I have depression. That doesn’t mean I’m feeling kind of bummed out. That means that I am and have been having trouble getting myself out of bed in the mornings, and I’ve been taking little to no pleasure in things that I know I love to do, and I’ve been feeling like there’s no point to anything at all, and I’ve been battling some pretty severe insomnia, and I have been feeling inclined to burst into tears for no apparent reason in all sorts of inappropriate settings. It started out as being kind of bummed out but it started out back during the waning years of my marriage. Yes, that’s right … years.

And, as the girls pointed out to me, that kind of long-term down-ness can change your brain chemistry.

I was inclined to resist the idea …

primarily because that sort of thing is part and parcel of the fact that I’m just a terrible patient. Back in the mid-1980s, when I had an (temporarily undiagnosed) ectopic pregnancy and was slowly bleeding to death, I remember lying semi-conscious on the floor of the apartment saying things like, “No, don’t call an ambulance, I don’t want to go to the hospital, I’ll be alright in a minute.”

… but I came around to it at least enough to discuss it with my doctor. After we had talked for a bit, she officially diagnosed my long-term, chronic but mild depression and told me to go away and consider whether I am open to medication.

You have no idea how much I appreciate the fact that she wasn’t leaping on the opportunity to shove drugs down my throat!

That said, I’ll be seeing her again next week, at which point I will take her up on her offer. Any time I have a great workout but have no sense of that fantastic and amazing endorphin rush that I remember fondly and nostalgically, I know that action needs to be taken. Then, too, she asked me to start keeping a little journal thing to keep track of what I’m thinking and feeling. I’ve been doing that for a couple of weeks and the exercise has given me a real clue into the fact that I’m just miserable. Not so miserable that I’m wandering around like some kind of Sad Sack or terminal killjoy. It’s been pretty easy for me to ignore it for years but that doesn’t make it any better.

I’m going to take care of this. I don’t especially like being gently miserable and, if I look dispassionately at my life, it’s fairly obvious to me that I have no real reason to be. In proof of which, here’s a short list of things for me to be thankful for during this Thanksgiving season:

– I’m thankful for my kids, who have stuck with me through thick and thin, and who love me anyway;

– I’m thankful for Derek;

– I’m thankful that I was able to be there for Gina when she needed me, even though she was outside the country;

– I’m thankful that Gina is helping me to stick with my quest for fitness and drug-free Type II;

– I’m thankful that none of my workouts involve being outdoors in sub-20 degree weather;

– I’m thankful that Kimmie came back home and stopped letting people be mean to her;

– I’m thankful that I’m not married anymore;

– I’m thankful that Ricky and Glenn are happy together;

– I’m thankful that I have a job and a decent place to live;

– I’m thankful for all the love in my life; and

– I’m thankful that, in spite of my depression, I still believe in my tomorrows.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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