October 2, 2012

Depression gets in the way of change!

Over my lifetime, I've been a very happy person. I was always able to see the positive or feel a sense of hope when needed. I've only been depressed once in my life (hence the divorce).

Over the past few months, I have fallen (albeit very slowly) into a depression that has taken the fun out of the stuff I enjoy (like posting on this blog). I didn't notice it at first but over the past few weeks, I have sensed a peculiar feeling come over me (to the point of crying like a baby in my HR manager's office last week). What the hell is it? I have everything I have ever wanted? I have a great job, wonderful car, beautiful home, good friends, supportive manfriend, safety, health....what the hell? I even landed my dream college course this September (I now teach a course in exercise psychology)...but it hasn't helped. I tried taking days off work, going to the spa, and even booking two nights at a luxury resort hotel on the water...nothing (still dead inside).

All I know is my interest in art, writing, and exercise has started to decrease. I'm not sleeping well; I get up at 3 or 4 and can't get back to sleep. I am angry a lot (and have done everything in my power to manage this). Unfortunately, teaching stress and anger management courses, I am aware that this may be the result of chronic stress...but cannot figure out what it is. Don't you hate that? It's like smelling gas but you can't find the source.

The one change that has taken over my life, lately, has been the change from living the single life, to living with my manfriend, his three children, and a husky (with lotsa hair and a penchant for wiping her snotty - albeit cute - nose on my beautiful black work pants). In the big picture, this move is good...but it has taken away all the control I had over my life, my peace, my living habits, my grocery shopping, my meal planning, and much more (some of which I am sure I haven't even thought of yet). I owe my mother an apology. I now realize that teenagers are thankless, thoughtless, and messy.

I've been eating junk food (i.e. processed crap like fake cheese, white bread, cereal, and the like) because the house is now full of it (yes, I blame the house). My morning rituals have changed because now I wake someone up if I blow dry in the bathroom (I dress in the closet). Doors slam, teenage boys act like they own everything but do nothing to help, video games are played, and the clothes, bags, shoes, and crap that is just left on the floor....I have no words. No words.

I wasn't ready for this. I know this now. I never had children. I always had control over my environment. I could decorate as I wanted...now I have a guitar in my living room and a Wii (that never gets used mind you) in my entertainment cabinet (not that there's anything wrong with that...it's just not my style). There are unpacked boxes in the garage and promises of unpacking, cleaning, mowing the lawn, doing the garden, cleaning the koi pond (yes...I inherited a koi pond) and much more. No one has lifted a vacuum but me since moving in, no one has dusted but me since moving in, and no one has cleaned the bathrooms, but me...since moving in.

The definition of Real Life Health has changed for me. My definition is now all about keeping my head on straight, eating healthy while everyone else has Kraft dinner (again...no judgement), and not succumbing to the stress of this new way of living. It's about learning how to assertively say, "Honey, could you please take the toy boat you put into the koi pond out...it's starting to smell". It's being able to let go of what I can't control (to accept) and to learn how to share my space (and TV). It's learning that I can't wonder around the house with a mud mask on without scaring someone or pee with the door open.

I am sorry to all those clients of mine who came to me challenged with eating well (while living with a house full of people). Although I thought I was accommodating, I clearly had no clue.

As far as my depression goes, I see it as a product of this change; this chronic stress. Clearly, I see two endings to my story. The first includes learning to communicate in a way that is understood by my manfriend so he takes on more responsibility (but it looks like it was all his idea) and we live happily ever after. The second includes a melt down, a realitor, and a condo for one.

I'm hoping for the first.



  1. Oh Kathi, so well written!!! I love it. Just remember, my dear friend, that... This too shall pass! or, maybe just the acceptance of change. I never did like change and now maybe it is a little more clear to me. Thanks for opening my eyes to something that should have been obvious to me years ago. Your whole article today is like a reality check and I truly hope that every subscriber to your site reads it word for word. I have always admired your spirit, and this just confirms you are such a wise lady.

  2. OMG Joyce, I just got welled up reading your comment. Thank you so much for taking the time to write those words. You have made my day (let alone my month).

    It sounds like you can relate? If so, I'm sorry. I have a feeling more people fight changing while in an "unchangable state of well being" than we realize.

    As far as the wisdom goes...it is fleeting. More or less, I'm just bumbling through trying to figure out what works and what doesn't.

    Thanks again! You are a wonderful, thoughtful person.