October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. You’d imagine it would be a big month here on TMM, but I haven’t really talked about It much. In fact, I’ve been a bad blogger all month. I haven’t been taking pictures, writing, sharing. I’ve been working and trying to get through, get to bed time, get everything done, the same thing that we all do. Trying to survive and thrive.
This time of year is always a tough time to get motivated. This is my 6th October in Chicago, and it’s kind of a depressing month for me, each day that ticks by might be the last day we see the sun until spring. One day soon the clouds and the grey will roll in and it will be one long slog through Winter.
This year it’s particularly hard to keep in good spirits, as Copley has, inexplicably but not unexpectedly weaned himself at 16 months. Without my daily dose of oxytocin I’m having more trouble than usual perking up and engaging. I was having trouble sleeping, and started self medicating with a couple of Benadryl and a glass of wine or three to get some sleep. I was eating poorly, getting no exercise, and in the course of a couple of months I generally ran myself into the ground.
I was having what I thought was a lot of anxiety, and finally went to see a doctor, a really hard thing for me to do. I’d like to tell you that it helped, but it was a really bad appointment with a really bad doctor. It was all of my worst fears about going to the doctor realized in one excruciatingly long appointment, I won’t rehash it because I just don’t have the energy, but I cried the whole way home and certainly won’t be going back. Two good things came of the appointment though; I got my flu shot, and started thinking that what I might be feeling wasn’t in fact anxiety, but mild depression. I’ve never suffered from depression before, with exception of a few weeks of baby blues after Cop was born, and I didn’t recognize it.
Keeping in mind that I would reach out for professional help if I felt like I needed it, I started doing some research about what I could do to help myself. I’m not an expert, but I can Google like a sun of a gun, and here are the small things I started doing.
- I talked to some friends about how I was feeling. It helped. One of them even made the connection between weaning and the onset of how I’ve been feeling, a correlation I would not have hesitated to point out to anyone else, but couldn’t see for myself.
- I made inventory of my responsibilities and tasks and one by one started doing things, even if I didn’t feel like it. I found that by completing these tasks I began to feel a bit lighter.
- I quit drinking myself to sleep. I like drinking, I enjoy wine and cocktails, but this wasn’t drinking for enjoyment, it was self medication, and probably not very healthy.
I’m not sure if it’s really helping yet, but I have been able to fall asleep, and that’s a good start. Now I’m focusing on making some more small life changes. I am trying to do things that I know I enjoy, even if I don’t feel like enjoy them very much right now (like wearing my boy). I’ve been knitting and weaving, and I am going to make an effort to pick up my camera and get outside and shoot. I need to find a way to incorporate some exercise into my day. Truly, with my schedule and work hours I don’t know how I’ll do it, but I would like to find a way.
I’m starting to feel like I can turn it around. Joy, hope, and optimism are all defining pillars of my life, and without them I’ve felt lost. I want to feel like myself again. I think I can get back there.