A Glass Half-Empty: Dealing with Depression during THE HOLIDAYS

It’s not exactly a secret that THE HOLIDAYS are hard for me. They’re difficult for a lot of people. There’s something deeply unsettling about the inability to be happy, which compounds itself when JOY and HAPPINESS and CHEER are basically shoved down your throat. I survived Thanksgiving, and I thought it was okay until a few weeks ago. The depression and anxiety reared up and hit me HARD.

What was supposed to be a nice afternoon of Me Time ended up being a two-hour breakdown in my car in front of a Barnes and Noble.

I reached out to two of my dearest friends, who both helped me calm down enough to at least be able to drive home. I felt wretched. I felt useless. Even knowing it was just in my head, just the season, just a reaction, didn’t make me feel better. I felt weak. And I hate feeling weak.

I was urged to simplify. To say no. I cut out Facebook and Twitter. I deleted the apps from my phone and limited my internet time to an hour in the morning and an hour at night. I do still have jobs, and email communication is essential. I have submit invoices and articles. I have a forum on Facebook where I figure out if I have class or not. It’s been tough being without dance class. After the show in September, the studio flooded. The floors were destroyed. Then one thing after another happened, and well… now it’s December.

I was never much for Facebook in general, but I do feel relieved to not have it in my life. There’s so much… STUFF there, and it’s not a place I want to give my time.

Katie Locke, another of my dear friends, wrote a great post about making Twitter her space again. Immediately, I weeded through the number of people I follow on Twitter and Facebook and unfollowed or unfriended anyone I didn’t speak to, or haven’t spoken to in years, or people whose presence I no longer wanted in my life. It’s okay to not want people in your life. You control your online experience. It’s not personal, unless you want it take it that way.

I came back to Twitter, but I post far less.

I tried to take care of myself by saying no. No to going out, no to taking on more than I already claimed. If I didn’t want to do it, I didn’t. I took on nothing I didn’t have to, which included driving other people around and bothering to put on pants. In fact, I did the scariest thing I could think of: I quit. It’s certainly nothing new. I’ve quit before. I’ve quit writing. This time, I quit querying. I didn’t send out more in reaction to rejection.

I just stopped.

And weirdly, some of the pressure I felt just evaporated. I hadn’t realized how much stress I was putting on myself. I was digging myself into the ground.

Edit: I’d like to note that just because I’m not currently sending new queries right now doesn’t mean I’m done forever. I want to send them feeling like myself, doing a thing I love.

I shifted my focus to art. I’ve been drawing a lot more since #Drawlloween, which, sadly, I never finished. I missed it. Inking helped me slow down because it’s something that demands my concentration. It’s precise and delicate and I have to breathe in order to steady my hand and control the lines.

I wanted to make Victorian Christmas cards for a few of my friends, and one Victorian Hanukkah card because one of my dear friends is Jewish.

Very slowly, I’m picking up the pieces. I’m trying to take care of my mental health. I love art. I have the best friends a girl could ask for. I’m going for walks when I feel unsettled. I talk to my close friends, who know what’s going on, who don’t mind listening to me cry and helping me pick myself back up.

Monday, I checked things off my list: two freelance articles (written and submitted), laundry done, cleaned my desktop, updated my bio, went to the store for envelopes and stationary. I’m 1/8th of the way into a super secret commission project. I’m still podcasting and I have more ideas for future radio-things.

Delilah Dawson held a twitter chat the other day about dealing with depression as a writer. She’s far more articulate than I am.

Writing is still hard. It’s hard to channel someone charismatic and charming when you just want to get through the day. I might be one of those people who just needs December off. That’s okay. I have to take care of myself. With that knowledge comes the realization that saying no is sort of what happened to this blog.

I don’t have a week’s worth of material to post about. That’s okay. It’s fine that I don’t generate weekly content. I post episodes of Courting Casualties, I update my appearances (I’ll be at AnachroCon 2016!), and if I have nothing to say, well, that’s fine. If you like my writing, I’m over CriminalElement.com and GirlsInCapes.com. I have a tongue-in-cheek Christmas gift-giving guide coming on and CE just posted my latest American Horror Story reaction.

I’ll try to cross-post or link articles here as well, sort of like one-stop shopping.

I can weather this storm. I deserve to take care of myself. I deserve not to feel crappy. If you’re depressed, you’re not alone. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help.

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