Several times this past extended weekend, I had to go to battle with my depression demon. I don’t know what my problem is lately, but pretty much after Christmas, I was in a big funk. Friday I didn’t want to do anything with anyone all day. I exercised for an hour on my trainer, which should have got my endorphins flowing and thus defeating Depression heartily. However, it didn’t work as planned. I wanted to just sit on the couch and watch all the episodes of Battlestar Galactica season 1 that I’d gotten for Christmas. Fortunately, I forced myself to go out with Michael to Steak on a Stone, a new restaurant in Montrose where they bring out your steak on a lava stone and you cook it to your desired level, which for me was basically flipping each of a piece on the stone for a second or two because I love my steak very rare (the longer you cook it, the more flavor you lose!).
Of course, eating gratuitously and indulging on a few glasses of wine did not make me feel better in the long run; all night I obsessed about being fat and gaining so much weight. However, before I got to that point, Michael and I had made a trip to Borders after our dinner where I used $35 of gift cards I had to buy the re-release on DVD of U2’s Under a Blood Red Sky: Live from Red Rocks release–the legendary concert that launched U2 to super-stardom back in 1983. I’ve been salivating over the remastered DVD and CD set since it came out earlier this year. I was too young to attend the U2 concert in 1983 (and was really only a light fan by fan standards, being that I was only 8), but I’ve been to shows at Red Rocks when I lived in Colorado and there’s just a spirit there no matter what band you go there to watch. Being a huge U2 fan these days, I get all emotional watching that concert–even on the VHS I rented earlier this year. I guess you can say that when I watch it, I’m there, at that legendary moment, in spirit.
Of course, you can’t be in Borders without indulging on a few extra impulse buys, especially when you know the first item you’re purchasing is covered by a gift card. I always spend more money than my gift card covers when I go there. I think that’s how they get you. Anyway, I found a book I’ve been wanting to read, Axis–the sequel to Robert Charles Wilson’s Spin–in the $5.99 bargain bin. And then, just as I was getting into line to pay for my U2 kitsch and my $6 book, a rack of Beatles CDs for $9.99 called to me and I ended up buying Revolver, one of my favorites. Needless to say, I left there actually paying $20. I guess I should be happy that I got my U2 DVD and CD for free.
Saturday, Diane, her husband Jeff, and I had our Christmas gift exchange. Diane gave me the Judybats‘ release, Pain Makes You Beautiful. I know, I’m over 15 years behind on the music scene, having only recently discovered and fallen in love with the Judybats. I think I liked them all these years–heard a lot of their songs on the old WENZ, when The End was a cool station with real alternative rock–and I just didn’t know who they were. I remember their songs “Ugly on the Outside” and “Being Simple” from those days. In fact, “Ugly on the Outside” is one of my favorite songs.
Diane and Jeff also bought me some animal crackers from the Cleveland Zoo and $20 in zoo gift certificates so that I can visit there for free this coming summer. I love the zoo. A lot of people don’t know this about me, but I’m really an animal lover. In fact, most days, I like animals better than people. I love to go to the zoo and spend an hour by the seals and sea lions’ area–these little buggers are like dogs with fins. They crack me up and make me feel five again.
After exchanging gifts (which, I must say, was quite successful… I’m so proud of the KISS cycling jersey I bought Jeff, the KISS fanatic), the four of us, Michael included, went down to Lock 3 to enjoy the Chriskindl market and attempt to ice skate. Since it was 60 degrees on Saturday, the ice was really melty and I didn’t feel too aggressive with my ice skating because I didn’t want to fall and get wet. I’m a sucky ice skater anyway–it’s pretty hard! Ironically, we ran into my friend Ruth, her two kids, and her boyfriend while I was hugging the wall on the 3 or 4 loops I made around the ring.
Of course, we indulged on the obligatory sauerkraut and bratwurst. Yum. I must really be German because I loooooooove sauerkraut! We washed down our meal with gluhwein–a spiced mulled wine that I look forward to having each year at Chriskindl. For dessert, I had sugar roasted almonds, warm right at the moment of purchase. Naturally, this indulgence did not help me feel any less fat, so I spent the rest of the evening obsessing again, even as we later sat at Riverside wine bar.
Sunday I was in another one of my foul moods, even after the really uplifting service at church. It was our annual service that tributes those who have passed away in the last year–famous and personal–and I’d submitted my grandma H’s name with a few sentences about what she’d meant to me to be read aloud before the congregation. I felt a bit numb to the emotions thoughts of my grandma usually stir. Depression seems to do that. I felt a little disappointed with my reaction to the service, especially since I’d been so moved at our candlelight Christmas Eve service. Maybe I’m just churched out right now.
So I just wanted to sleep when I got home, even though I’d gone to the second service which starts at 11:15. It seems to be my weekly Sunday ritual to take a nap when I come home from church, but I didn’t do that this time, I just watched two more episodes of Battlestar Galactica season 1 while moping about being fat and depressed and unmotivated to do anything other than lie on the couch.
Eventually, around 3pm, Michael called and convinced me to go for a hike with him at the Sand Run metropark. We took the Dogwood trail loop, which starts “Colorado style”–immediately up a pretty stiff hill–and is 1.8 miles. My blood got going and I felt better just hanging around someone. Unfortunately, of course, we went to dinner after the hike. I ate a salad but drank two Dortmunder Golds, so, you know this refrain: I felt fat all evening at home.
I did wake up this morning to exercise, but only on the Total Gym. I figured I should give my cycling legs a rest as I did an hour on my trainer both Friday and Saturday. I plan to make myself go for a walk tonight for cardio–must have cardio–and again try to use the trainer tomorrow. At least I know the end of the week will be filled with four and a half days of (hopefully) arduous skiing so I shouldn’t worry too much about being fat even though I know I’ll probably wash my dinner down each night with wine (hey, it’s vacation). Okay, I love wine. That’s probably where all the fat is coming from, I know.
On Friday, amidst my depression meanderings, I realized that one of the things that depresses me the most is the feeling that I’m just going through the motion of life. It’s not that I’m trying to, it’s just that sometimes I feel like I’m just doing things because you’re supposed to do them, and then I have trouble feeling excited about them because it’s just so overdone. For example, somewhere amidst all the baby showers I attended this year, each shower started to feel less special to me. It’s like, I don’t know, here we women are, sitting around eating unhealthy food, clucking around the main cluck–the pregnant woman–and all pretending to be happy as pie about the whole event, even though single gals like me have no clue at all what it feels like to be pregnant or to desire to be so. And, actually, the thought of being pregnant kind of grosses me out. Having kids seems like an entertaining venture, if you’re into that kind of thing, but I’m back to feeling like I’d just rather be a cool influence on some kid’s life instead of an actual mother.
I started to feel this about weddings, too. Right smack in the middle of a cousin’s wedding in October, I started to feel bland again. “Oh here we go again, the chicken dance,” I thought. “Oh and now is the moment when we toast/cut the cake/make speeches/clink our silverware to make the couple kiss.” I don’t know. I just feel bored with the whole mundane experience of “normal” life right now. I am not trying to offend anyone–you’ve all had lovely baby showers and weddings. I just suddenly have a desire to do everything different–to break the mold, to be different, to just break the cycle of repetitiveness. I feel like going down the same celebration paths that everyone else takes is inflicting something annoying and boring on everyone.
I force myself, sometimes, to be excited about things. I even felt a little forced at Christmas. Sometimes I feel like I’m trying to chase down a spiritual experience, force myself to feel a tingling of real joy in a way that I’ve never felt before (or felt for brief period of times when I was younger). I feel like I’m just biding my time waiting for the Big Something to happen and make me feel whole again. I’m sure this is all a sub-function of depression–first, the feeling that things you’re experiencing are not real, and then, second that feeling that you’re waiting around for something to happen that probably never will because you have to make your own happiness. The problem with this flavor of depression is an inability to really feel emotion for the people and things in your life that you do have. People don’t measure up to your strict standards and you expect so much more out of them that probably humanly possible. The past always looks better than the road you’re on and the road ahead–the one you can never find the on ramp to–is paved with gold. I keep telling myself I just have to lower my expectations with life and then I’ll be happy.
I couldn’t even find a sufficient book to read. I started one that I got from the library and, after about forty pages, I got too bored with it to complete it. I now have three books from Christmas to explore so I’m giving the other library book I got, The Conquistador by S.M. Stirling, a chance before turning to these others. (L. gave me The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas, which has real potential for interesting me.) I love it when I really get into a book and that hasn’t happened for me lately. It’s rare to find that all encompassing book–the one that is impossible to put down. Maybe I expect too much out of what I read as well, which causes all my disappointment in reading lately. I want to lose myself in the escapism of fiction right now. And try not to be jealous that I haven’t written–nor have ideas for–any good fiction story.
On the other hand, there are certain things that do get me excited without trying, like the anticipation I’m feeling to register for TOSRV and XOBA. Or the thought of going skiing in Colorado, if I feel like spending the money right now. Future trips to Europe or Australia, snorkeling in the Carribean, taking another cruise somewhere. I don’t know. I guess these are just distractions, though, to keep me from concentrating on making other aspects of my life better. I should be trying to write novels or short stories or finish my memoir, to find some other career path that interests me. Or maybe I don’t want to do any of those things. I don’t know. I feel like I’m not making good use of my time (such as watching the episodes of Battlestar Galactica season 1 and Roswell season 3 on DVD that I got for Christmas).
I know I’m just stuck in a winter funk due to lack of sunlight and its nourishing vitamin D. Not that I don’t grapple with Depression on a daily basis all year, but it’s sure a lot easier to avoid submitting to it during the summer when the sun is out and the atmosphere warm and I can roam freely about the world enjoying the day to its fullest. Or I’d even take the cold weather if the sun came along with it, as it was in my beloved Colorado. I just need to move about. This coming trip to NY for skiing is much welcomed by my soul. I need to burn muscle by sliding happily down some wondrous ski slopes. The only thing ruining my anticipation is the weather. We’ve had a warm flash which undoubtedly made the slope conditions less desirable. We have no snow here in NE Ohio, but the forecast for Ellicottville, NY this week is promising snow on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. I hope it happens–I want optimal east US skiing conditions this week. Talk about escapism–I’m longing for this little winter break to forget myself and my world for a little while. I hope it works.
At least it’s sunny today… for the time being…