BLISS

As if a light switch turned me on from depression to joy, my mornings (and outlook) suddenly contain bliss. Part of it due to spring, the other part, blessed sleep, though negative thoughts like monsters still need taming in the night as they grow exponentially after dark.

This upheaval for the better is partly due to the coming of more light filled days, but also my own ability to persevere and be more disciplined.

No more sleep medication or going out to the other room. Stay in bed till the cows come home, or the rooster crows. There will still hard nights, count on it, but this past week has been the best of all winter.

The grass is greening. Even though the trees look bland, closer inspection reveals buds making a reddish hue on some, and a slight orange to others. My boots are sucked into the mud, the spatters wetting my pants cuffs as birds sing all around carrying their melodies right to my core.

After walking rounds in the meadow, resting by the creek brings such fulfillment as the sun finally rose to warm my cheeks with a kiss.

Oh spring!

FRIENDS

One night of almost agony, forcing myself to stay in bed, rolling from one side to the other. Hours go by, and some sleep came though it didn’t feel like much and yesterday was low key due to tiredness.

But not that awful grogginess that happens when the sleep aid is used. Calling a friend, asking for sleep pointers after a terrible winter of sleep issues, she has great ideas that I’d heard before but didn’t think would work for me.

One, she never gets out of bed. That sounds like good behavior because a pattern was set up that made things harder. Another tip, when not getting back to sleep she turns on the radio to the news station and puts it on a timer. (so one was ordered coming soon)

She thoroughly knew what I talking about when waking to use the bathroom then thoughts invading about every little thing that has gone wrong, and whatever else a woken up busy mind might do.

A news channel might help to get my mind off things that can’t be changed onto things other than me! It is so good to hear her voice, as calling any friend has been abandoned for much of these past few years when needed the most.

And now that masks are off, plans are made to have lunch with another friend. Oh, how these things have been missed!

HOPE

 Waiting for spring when this funk dissipates, and the wonders of the season renew, refresh, and rejuvenate. February- looking for robins begins as they return much earlier than most notice. Even with bitter cold, fresh air and movement invigorate. Though taking a herculean effort to go out there, it is well worth it for healthy body, mind, and spirit.

Making an effort to connect with friends whose busy lives takes them out daily in the social arena assures me they are there and care much more than those who say they are ‘family.’ There in ways brothers never will be, trusted, safe, and REAL.

Now that winter has turned a corner, days become longer, sun shining down her happy glow upon my face. Hope springs up like sprays of beams from my core.

SAD- Seasonal Affective Disorder

Whether PTSD issues stemming from childhood, or just old age, my sleep abilities continue to depress me. If sleep is blessed upon me, all is well. When not, my thinking goes sour and being connected within dissipates.

“Samuel, if you’d been given a choice before birth whether to be born or not, would you?” I asked sitting by him on the couch during the evening news, the sleep medication needed the night before finally wearing off.

He considers it briefly and as his yes leaves his mouth my retort already burst out, “I wouldn’t. If it had to be just how it has been, NO WAY!”

Instead of taking the opposing side as usual, or talking me out of it, he said, “I understand for you that you would choose that. There are others that feel that way too if they think about their lives.”

“I don’t think about it, or dwell on it, I live it!” I exclaimed feeling a bit of a burn, that I am a negative Nancy which he did call me a few days ago.

That’s the rub, a medication that helps sleep but then leaves me in a funk the entire next day, not feeling like myself or in my core or body. Not wanting to. Not being able to take each moment, be in the moment or in my body- wanting instead to run, run, run… or just not be here.

Looking at others on the TV, all smiles and vibrant. How do they do it? What is their secret? That same old feeling haunting me throughout much of my life slamming back down, even after so much work to move past it… wishing to be someone else, any one of the friends who go about their lives with zest. (and good sleep) Or Samuel, who has love for himself without having to work on it every moment of every day… or at all. And such sleep! Never, or rarely a problem.

SAD has been hitting hard this winter.

MOMENTS

Winter’s oppression bears her weight down drooling with icy fangs into the flesh of my spirit. It seems impossible to pick myself up, yet each morning- a fresh start, a new day- what are you going to make of it?

Not much. With a retired life, the buzz of work, kids, and getting anywhere at a required time do not demand my energies. So? Breathe, sit and breathe, and remember the mantra of ‘you’re OK’ from one moment to the next.

Because a fear filled life due to PTSD unresolved since such a young age causes a fright reaction to every little noise startling my being into an adrenaline overload. Decades of that tires and burns out all bodily systems.

So…? Who is criticizing you if you ease your spirit (and anxiety) by completing a puzzle in day? Only me. Resting, and/or sending compassionate messages to self while moving slowly to stay present and in the moment are worthy of doing.

Anxiety ruling much of my life caused me to buzz past the present moment, rushing to be done. But now, with reminders to self, peeling apples for the overnight crockpot of steel cut oats becomes restful not rushed. The sound of the knife splicing through, the cool fresh apple in my hand with its light aroma from the juice…

Each task slows so that my being stays in my body. All that occurs in that moment is better absorbed when attention is paid to it. And when that occurs, one can’t mourn the past or worry about the future, and that is living fully with grace and gratitude.

NEW YEAR

A tiny change of habit upsets my status quo. Staying up cutting apples for overnight steel cut oatmeal in the crock-pot was not the best choice. Even twenty minutes less of quiet time in the bedroom before turning off the lights interferes with the delicate balance of an overwrought system. Using the newly formed night guard that was overly chunky and didn’t fit well added to the sleep challenges.

Up till the Times Square ball dropped with a heavy heart full of depressing thoughts about that and everything else. Why must thoughts that are handled alright in the daytime turn into dooming disasters at night?

The ball drops, the crowd having to have proved vaccinations, and having to wear a mask through the check point… but many aren’t wearing them. Social distancing? None.

This gloomy reminder of stupid people didn’t help my outlook. We are asked to double up mask wearing and move towards N95 masks covered by cloth. Is that for the stupid selfish people wanting their rights to not get vaccinated or wear masks? Then killing others with their contaminated breath before dying themselves wishing they’d been vaccinated?

But my will to live is as ferocious as anyone’s despite my despair of all this combined with what kind of earth we are leaving our grandchildren and their children. That our poor depleted earth will no longer be habitable because no way do I believe the people in it will make the drastic changes needed right now to save it.

EUPHORIA MEETS DEPRESSION

Euphoria meets depression, the crash causing several weeks of endured sleeplessness. This happened in fall too when the equilibrium sustained throughout summer tumbled into winter’s lower mood. Now spring’s bursting forth, or the beginnings of it, causing my body’s chemicals to do the same.

It does dampen the joy of it, yet isn’t that life? Taking all of life’s ambiguity in stride? All her ups, downs, and in-betweens? What else can one do but do it, keep trucking, keep trying. And remember, while you’re tossing one way then the other, stop chastising yourself for insomnia because it’s not your fault.

Gentleness, remember? Oh so hard- to experience joyful abandonment and soul ripping sadness all in the space of one breath. Because sadness also threatens with life’s regrets visiting at night, every sound magnified, every wrong turn, or even little mistakes looming like a dark cloud over my bed ready to devour me.

Oh the self-talk kicking in, looking for my center unable to find it, feel it, or go there. Stay. No getting up to watch to TV in the middle of the night. Stay. Suddenly it’s 8AM. Samuel’s gets up, me too popping open the shades. It is his usual wake-up time, but mine was hours before. So some REM’s have been made up from the nighttime musings.

And it’s sunny. Cold, windy and sunny, kind of like my insides.

TIGGER

The moon this morning by Patricia

Spring fever hit like Tigger on a pogo stick. Chemicals in my body usually bringing calm are mixed up like a tornado shooting to the moon. Walking before the sun rose over the hill was exhilarating, hearing the bird songs that had been absent all winter.

The creek burgeoning carrying tiny icebergs downstream, the snow beginning to glitter like diamonds after lap three when the golden orb appeared. Round and round, looking down at various prints in the snow.

Some like a coyote, then delicate like a bird. Squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, possibly a fox! Though a lover of the outdoors, my skills at identifying each one are lacking. But they still tell a fascinating story.

A treat once again was to light another fire, but the March sun warms even more than the fire. The excitement of spring is hard to contain as more daylight wakes up something in me dormant all winter.

Make Your Own Fun!

Bitter cold bites down hard as the wind howls. Not going out in it, the day yawned ahead boringly increasing cabin fever tenfold. The next morning sunshine splashed across the horizon, the day opening with excitement, inviting me out into it even as wind blew.

“I’m going out before breakfast,” I excitedly tell Samuel.

Donning the long winter coat over my bathrobe and new warm boots I dashed out into the air warmed by March sun hugging my chest as bitter wind slapped my back. But the low temps crept up my legs between coats. The snowy path had frozen making it rugged and slippery.

Back inside to change into clothes and to ask Samuel if he’d put on my ice trekkers. He had figured out how to use them the other day when confronting the same icy conditions, having to Google how. Using his manly muscles to stretch them onto my boots, with the addition of thick warm snow pants, the rest of the laps were safe, sturdy, and purely enjoyable.

At the walk’s end, the repose by the creek was short as the wind blew drying the sweat under my coat quickly turning it cold. Back on the patio, out of the wind, a fire was lit easily using a wax cake atop the kindling, warming me thoroughly through and through along with the sunshine. The hanging star under the wisteria captured my attention sparkling in the sun, a perfect photography subject while resting. A morning of entertainment and exhilaration was relished by inventing my own pleasures…