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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Summer Sadness

“Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any misery, any depression, since after all you don't know what work these conditions are doing inside you? Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where all this is coming from and where it is going? Since you know, after all, that you are in the midst of transitions and you wished for nothing so much as to change.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

As summer creeps around the corner, my depression and anxiety rise alongside the temperature. The brighter the sun, it seems the darker thoughts.

I am tired.
I hate this heat. 
I have nothing left to give
and giving to these needy people is my fortune.
Where is the exit for this fucking roller coaster?
I'm done. 

Negative thoughts go on and on and on, including a few thoughts that feel true, but are probably grossly exaggerated. Depression makes everything feel bigger.

I look in my closet and suddenly I hate everything. I want to just throw it all away and start over.

Let's not even discuss bathing suits.

What's really sad is, you know that little "On This Day" history application on Facebook? I read mine every morning. I have been making the same complaints around this time year, for years! What is more pathetic than repeatedly having the same problem and not changing the situation?

Well, some things can't be changed. I can't just snap my fingers and sell these kids to the circus.

There are some things I just haven't figured out yet. How can I fix my own life, when I'm so busy holding everyone else's together with glue and paper clips?

Maybe this depression is a sign that I am so fed up, so sick and tired of my life that my body is literally screaming ...if you don't change this, you are going to die! 




So it turns out Summer Depression is really a thing.  I looked it up. If' you can Google it, it's real, right? 

According to Mayo Clinic.org Spring and summer SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) sometimes called summer depression. Symptoms may include:
  • Depression (well yeah. Check) 
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)  (who can sleep when your brain is busy problem-solving in the middle of the night? Check)  
  • Weight loss (I wish! This is a NO for me.) 
  • Poor appetite (Who feels like cooking in this heat? Food feels like  a necessary evil. I'd rather drink my dinner. Check) 
  • Agitation or anxiety (Ding, ding, ding! If somebody asks me one more stupid question ...I'm gonna scream or punch them in the face. Except that's illegal and I like my freedom. Check! ) 
That's a four out of five for me. Check, please.

I have been experiencing this summer sadness for years.
Summer means a disruption in our schedule.
There is a little more time to think and being inside my head too much is dangerous. 
I am spending more time with the boys than usual.
And of course, there is this ungodly Texas heat

My sadness is a real chemical change in my body. I can't just shake it off or talk myself out of it. I wish I could. I want to knock myself upside the head tell myself to snap out of it! I am blessed.
*Insert huge eye roll here.
My heart still feels heavy.

When you make yourself get up, take a shower to go out to dinner with your husband to a restaurant that is usually to die for, but you feel yourself holding back tears. Something is definitely wrong.

When the tears finally come flooding down just before the Banana's Foster, rich, buttery, most delicious cake I've ever tasted is served, a la mode, and I can't start eating until the ice cream nearly melts. I compose myself and begin to think, yeah, something is definitely wrong with you.

One would think that things would be a little different now with the boys being adults. It isn't. It's re-calibrated stress on a whole different level. It's a different set of complicated problems that have real-life, sometimes life-changing consequences.

I am driving them through their transitions. I'm still teaching them life management.

They need the help but, they are now young adults, who are really still oppositional children, so they fight me all the way and that's totally normal. The average young-adult doesn't want to be told anything by their parents.

The past two summers of transition have exacerbated their anxiety, depression, and anger. I'm talking traumatic behaviors that led to traumatic consequences.

I wrote about Red's most difficult summer two years ago (2015).

Last year, (2016) Blue had his own epic summer of madness

Henceforth, I may have a little PTSD from events in summers past.

This summer Blue's anxiety is still high --kind of close to what we experienced last year. Between leaving high school, registering for college and social situations with friends, explosions have become a norm, not an exception. Self-loathing, low-self-esteem, cognitive distortions and catastrophic thinking play a major role in his thought process.

Somehow I end up getting sucked into everything that goes wrong. Because everything that has ever gone wrong in the history of his time on this earth has somehow always been --my fault.

This leaves me with the question, how am I supposed to support him when my own depression and anxiety is not in control?

Every time he comes to me with an issue and he starts spinning up, it spins me up, but I'm the mom. Years of training and practice in dealing with autism has taught me to remain calm when he is not. But the truth is I'm not feeling calm. I'm only acting calm. I'm stuffing down my emotions, which leaves me feeling like I'm going to implode. I know that if I keep doing this, I'm going to end up with a freakin heart attack. So sooner than later, something's gotta give. I've only been saying that for years.

I crave the sun when I'm feeling down, but the sun in Texas is so intense the heat during the summer is literally unbearable

Summers leave me longing for home (Los Angeles) and the beach. I spent most of my life within a twenty-minute drive to the Pacific Ocean. I don't think I ever realized just how much it meant to me until I moved away from it. Here we are twenty-years later wondering what in the hell I was thinking moving to Central Texas.

Last summer I was lucky enough to get to step my body into the most wonderful ocean I've ever experienced --the Mediterranean on the French Riviera. France was the trip of a lifetime. However, shortly after I returned home, Blue completely unraveled.

So this year, seeing him start off the summer in the same pattern has made me too anxious about making any extensive travel plans. So far ...there are none, which is adding anxiety on top of anxiety and depression because it feels like there is no escape.

Thankfully, I do have the benefit of therapy to help get me through this. I will survive this summer as I have all of the ones before.

I'm sure that will learn plenty about myself in the process. After all, it is in the darkness that we must go looking for the light.

Experiencing these feelings is making me dig deep into my psyche to figure out where all of these emotions are coming from. What do I love about my life and what do I need to change?

Everything happens for a reason. I am a writer and this pain definitely gives me stories to tell.